ZEALANDIA Sanctuary#5 in Best Things To Do in Wellington
ZEALANDIA Sanctuary, established in 1999, is the world's first fenced urban ecosanctuary. Spanning more than 500 acres, ZEALANDIA aims to preserve Wellington's valleys, forests and freshwater and restore them to their natural state. Since opening, the sanctuary has reintroduced 18 species of wildlife back into area. Visitors have the opportunity to walk through the preserved and protected ecosystem, catching glimpses of rare species, such as saddlebacks and stitchbirds, along the way.
Many described this sanctuary as a magical place found just a stone's throw from the city. Some highly recommend splurging for a guided tour, as the passionate guides bring the sanctuary to life.
You can reach ZEALANDIA Sanctuary via public bus and cable car. (A free shuttle travels between the attraction and the nearest cable car stop.) The property is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult admission costs 19.50 New Zealand dollars (or about $13.50), while child admission is NZ$10 (the equivalent of about $7). Kids 4 and younger get in for free. Travelers should keep in mind that the self-guided admission is valid for two consecutive days. Guided day and night tours range in cost from NZ$27.50 to NZ$40 (or $19 to $28) per child to NZ$55 to NZ$85 (or $38.50 to $59) for each adult. On-site facilities include a cafe and a gift shop. To find out more, visit ZEALANDIA Sanctuary's website.
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#1 Museum of New Zealand
The Museum of New Zealand – which also goes by its Maori name, Te Papa Tongarewa, translated as "Container of Treasures" – is just that: a beautiful modern building filled with artifacts and art by predominantly New Zealand artists that piece together both the natural and anthropological history of the country. Of special note are the museum's collections of 20th-century New Zealand paintings and its early New Zealand photography. But its historic collections, including textiles that date back to the 18th century, its Maori tribal carvings and its taxonomic preservation of New Zealand's flora and fauna, are also must-sees.
Many recent visitors said the museum offers something for everyone, whether young or old, local or tourist. The museum restaurants, restrooms and souvenir shops earn high praise as well.
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