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  Otari-Wilton's Bush

AddressOtari-Wilton's Bush is about 5km from the city centre, at 160 Wilton Road (between Gloucester and Warwick streets). Take the No 14 Wilton bus from Lambton Quay to Otari-Wilton's Bush.
RegionWellington Region
Privately owned or publicPublic
Email
PhoneTreehouse Visitor Centre Phone: (04) 499 1400
Fax(04) 499 1903
Contact PersonRewi Elliot
Website//www.wellington.govt.nz/services/gardens/otariwiltonsbush/otariwiltonsbush.html
HoursThe Bush is open daily between sunrise and sunset. Te Marae o Tane Information Centre is open 9.00am - 4.00pm daily.
Garden SizeThis Garden of National Significance is a unique plant sanctuary and forest reserve consisting of 100 hectares of native forest, and five hectares of plant collections.
PriceEntry is free.
Brochure Available?Yes.
ParkingThe main public car park is at the Wilton Road entrance. Parking is also available off Churchill Drive.
ToiletsPublic toilet facilities are located at the Otari Information Centre.
Food AvailableWe have a snack vending machine.
Cafe/Restaurant available?No
SeatingThere is seating for visiting groups
PicnicsOtari-Wilton's Bush is one of Wellington's best picnic spots. There are two main picnic areas - the North picnic area off Wilton's Bush Road, and the idyllic Troup Picnic Area on the Circular Walk. The Troup Picnic Area is an open space ideal for large groups and school visits. It has toilet facilities, tap water, and two push-button gas barbecues (these run for 20 minutes - for longer cooking push the button again). Availability is on a first-in, first-served basis - please note the barbecues may still be hot from previous usage. Although bookings are not required, large groups should advise the Treehouse Visitor Centre of intended visits.
Wheelchair AccessWheelchair-friendly paths run from the main carpark to the Information Centre, over the Canopy Walkway, and to Cockayne Lookout. A step-free path runs from the Churchill Drive carpark along the Kaiwharawhara streamside to the Troup Picnic Lawn. The Wilton Walkway from the carpark through the Fernery and leading into mature podocarp forest, is also suitable.
Dogs AllowedDogs are welcome, provided they are on a lead and owners clean up after them. Dogs off a lead are a threat to native wildlife. Owners also need to be aware of the risk of secondary poisoning from possum bait.
Children AllowedSchool groups often visit to study New Zealand's plant life, and to experience the forest that once covered Wellington.
AccommodationWe are happy to recommend local accommodation.
WeddingsWeddings must be pre-booked, including time for setting up and clearing away. No confetti is allowed. No indoor, wet-weather alternative is available at Otari-Wilton's Bush for weddings .No electricity is available at the Cockayne Lawn. No vehicle access is available to the Cockayne Lawn. No chairs are allowed on the Cockayne Lawn as the legs damage the lawn. Chairs are permitted on the gravel pathways adjacent to the lawn providing access is clear for other garden visitors.
Plant/Other SalesNo.
Guided ToursGuided tours are available for groups of all sizes. Experienced guides lead tours that are tailored to each group. The Otari-Wilton’s Bush Trust runs monthly walks for members and visitors. Check the events calendar for upcoming events and detail on the web site.
Function center?No
Winery?No
Other FacilitiesOtari-Wilton's Bush features about 11km of walking tracks through native bush and garden collections.
Tracks are signposted. Forest trails are slippery when wet. Sturdy footwear is recommended.
The following walking times are approximate and depend on fitness.
Nature Trail: 20 - 40 minutes. Some steps, and steep in places. Brochures are available at the Information Centre end of the Canopy Walkway.
Kaiwharawhara Track: 30 minutes. A gentle walk along the stream.
Blue Trail: One hour. Mainly through dense kohekohe forest. Some steps. The track is steep in places. Features an 800-year-old rimu.
Yellow Trail: 40 minutes. Forest walk through Bledisloe Gorge. Challenging with some steps.
Red Trail: 40 minutes. Some steps, and steep in places.
Circular Walk: 30 minutes. Some steps, and steep in places.
Wilton Walkway: 5 minutes. A gentle walk to the viewing platform. Wheelchair friendly.
Canopy Walkway: A 75 metre canopy walkway - 18 metres above the forest floor - links the two main garden areas. Good footwear is required.
Otari-Wilton's Bush is a haven for native birds including tui, kereru, silver eye, kingfisher, grey warbler, bell birds and morepork.
Scientists and volunteers counted 1,367 different living species - animals, plants, fungi, protists, bacteria - in the bush and reserve areas during a 24-hour bioblitz in 2007. Their finds included a new species of cave weta and an Amanita fungus.
Bruce Manu, of Te Atiawa, carved the two waharoa gateways to Otari-Wilton's Bush from totara. The waharoa at the main entrance depicts unity and partnership and welcomes visitors to the reserve. The waharoa at the southern end of the Canopy Walkway depicts Tane Mahuta and the forest's guardians.

Map

The Garden

Otari Native Botanic Garden and Wilton's Bush Reserve is the only public botanic garden in New Zealand dedicated solely to native plants. It is classified as a Garden of National Significance by the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture. Some of Wellington's oldest trees are here, including an 800-year-old rimu.
The Otari-Wilton's Bush plant collections contain about 1,200 species, hybrids and cultivars. The collections include plants from New Zealand's mainland and off-shore islands.

Almost all the plants have been grown from cuttings or seeds collected from their original habitats. The collection has the following roles.
Conservation: Seedlings of threatened species are raised and either kept in the gardens as a conservation measure, or returned to the wild in plant conservation recovery programmes.
Research: Scientists use the plant collections for studying plant ecology, economic potential, and classification.
Education: Plants are labelled to help visitors learn about their names and characteristics.
Recreation: Otari-Wilton's Bush is a great place for locals and tourists to escape urban life and appreciate New Zealand's unique flora.

The plant collections were started in 1926 by eminent New Zealand botanist Dr Leonard Cockayne. He aimed to establish a collection of solely New Zealand native plants, displayed in family groups or as re-created ecosystems representing different areas of New Zealand.

The Gardener

Volunteers provide valuable help with working bees at Otari-Wilton's Bush. Volunteering is a great way to learn about plants and gardening, and is an important contribution to our community. Volunteers help in many different ways. Their time and effort ranges from a few hours a month, to daily activity.
Click on any image below to enlarge
 
Bruce Manu, of Te Atiawa, carved the two waharoa gateways to Otari-Wilton's Bush from totara. The waharoa at the main entrance depicts unity and partnership and welcomes visitors to the reserve. The waharoa at the southern end of the Canopy Walkway depicts Tane Mahuta and the forest's guardians.
Kowhai Border This border has a collection of mature kowhai trees in it, and includes some kakabeak and varied other underplantings. It is very attractive to birds, particularly tui and kereru when it is in flower.
Canopy Walkway: A 75 metre canopy walkway - 18 metres above the forest floor - links the two main garden areas. Good footwear is required.
Otari-Wilton's Bush Clematis paniculata. This garden shows a range of horticultural cultivars and hybrids of native plants. They have been selected for their colours, foliage, or other unusual features.
Kaiwharawhara Track: 30 minutes. A gentle walk along the stream.
Kereru, NZ's native wood pigeon. Otari-Wilton's Bush is a haven for native birds including tui, kereru, silver eye, kingfisher, grey warbler, bell birds and morepork.
Rata tree in flower. The forest area at Otari includes a stand of original bush, 17 acres set aside by Job Wilton in 1860, and a much larger area of regenerating bush. The original bush has some very large trees such as rimu and rata, which are estimated to be between 400 - 800 years old.
Otari-Wilton's Bush Cockayne lookout.
There are two hebe borders - a hebe cultivar border with a collection of horticultural selections, and a hebe species border with naturally occurring species from around New Zealand.
Celmisia. Celmisia is a genus of perennial herbs or subshrubs, in the family Asteraceae. There are around 70 species; most are endemic to New Zealand.
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