Zealandia is a wildlife sanctuary just out of Wellington. It is beautiful, picturesque and full of wildlife.
As you walk around the tracks, you’ll see birds, lizards, Takahe and all sorts of views from the dam and swing bridge. The birds are reasonably used to people, so you can get reasonably close to them to take photos or see them without spooking them. They basically just let you walk past within a reasonable distance. There are also many tracks to walk, so if you were to go there a few times, you could walk different ways to see different spots.
Due to the landscape, there are certain areas where certain types of animals tend to hang out, and the main track takes you to many of those areas. The main track is also wheelchair friendly, there are certain ways you csan go that are steeper, but you could take someone in a wheelchair around. They also have a couple of electric scooters that can be used as well if the person with them isn’t able to push them uphill. The Takahe is closed into a certain area, possibly so that the lizards are kept separate, but also possibly so that it can stay near the water, and you can’t let them through the gate when you walk through.
Although all of the birds and other wildlife are free to roam, many of the animals are tagged in some way to track or identify them. This is apparently to check that the work they were doing was indeed working. Many of the newer animals aren’t tagged. While I find this is better than a zoo, I would imagine that being tagged would be stressful for the animals, and they have a contraption attached to them for the rest of their life. I hope that going forward, they will not need to tag any animals. The animals are kept safe from land predators by a large fence surrounding the sanctuary. It is very high, barbed, and run underground for a few metres so that animals who burrow would give up before getting down far enough to get through.
To get out to Zealandia, there is a free shuttle from the top of the cable car, and from the iSite or Te Papa, so check out the website for the shuttle information if you are in Wellington and don’t have a car. It’s about a 10-15 minute drive from the iSite if you do have a car there though.
There is a fee to get in, since they are still paying off the fencing and other costs to set up the sanctuary, but it’s totally worth it. If you live in Wellington or are visiting, I’d recommend you for a day or half day and enjoy the wildlife and scenery.