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Located just minutes from downtown Wellington, the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary is home to hundreds of endangered birds and other wildlife. Strecthing over 250 hectares, the sanctuary is a unique project that attempts to protect not only wildlife but plant-life, forest, flora and fauna within a city environment.
 
The protective nature of the centre means security is tight and the only entrance is a single gate at the end of Waiapu Road, Karori. You access the sanctuary from the Visitor’s Centre. The entrance fee is NZ$12 for adults and NZ$5 for children. The guided tours are especially useful for first time visitors as important plants and birds can be pointed out to those with a less than doctoral knowledge of botany and bird-life! Despite the secretive feeling of the restricted entry, the sanctuary is easily found by car and offers free parking. It is also easy to reach by bus, with the bus stop just a five minute walk down Waiapu Road. We used Wellington Rover Tours to visit the sanctuary. This small company offers a 'hop-on hop-off' sightseeing service around Wellington City and the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary is on its list of possible visiting stops.

At the sanctuary there is plenty to see and do and I recommend bringing your walking boots! 15 minutes walk from the main entrance is the little goldmine, now home to glow worms and cave weta, where you can walk into the tunnel and take a look down the shaft. Dotted around the sanctuary are description posts with detailed notes on the inhabitants and surroundings. Close to the Visitor Centre is the Governor’s boatshed, which houses an informative display telling the story of the valley. The impressive and picturesque valve tower also features intricate machinery used in the reservoir era. When your feet are tired, the electric boat ride on offer is a lovely way to travel up the valley, providing beautiful views. There is also a large picnic area so bring your packed lunch and have a beautiful, peaceful day that brings you right up close to nature, really calming the soul and lifting the spirits.

 

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