The morning of day 2 we overslept - and didn’t get into town until noon. We had wanted to visit both Zealandia and the Otari-Wiltons Bush but had to skip one due to our bad timing.
After going to the local i-Site or Visitor Center, waiting for a while in a queue to ask about ferry options to the South Island we just took matters into our own hands and booked the Bluebridge Ferry online on our own.
We then decided to go see Zealandia - and it was awesome. The mini museum in the foyer gave an idea of how New Zealand had been before humans arrived there and how they wanted it to become again inside the Ecosanctuary. Then after a short biosecurity check we were inside the fence and ready to wander through the beautiful wild forest. We did not bring enough time to see all we wanted to see, but still - there were so many beautiful birds and interesting plants. And an old mining shaft which we were allowed to visit with a helmet and flashlight - inside were cave wetas (which we somehow didn’t see - maybe our inner selves really just didn’t want to see them…) and a handful of glow worms. Those were interesting to see - they look more like wet strings with tiny little glowing dots at the end, hanging from the ceiling. Not pretty, but cool. We also got to see a few of the endangered endemic birds like the Kakas and Kakarikis, but also more common ones like Tuis and Fantails. But pretty much all of them beautiful. Together with all the jungle-like vegetation it really was a very great place for taking a walk and taking pictures. Of course the time we had there in the end was way to short.
The ticket to Zealandia cost about 18$ per Person and in our opinion they are worth every cent - after all it’s not just an entrance fee but also helps maintain the sanctuary and finance the whole project.
With the ticket we could also have visited Zealandia again the next day, as the ticket is valid for two consecutive days.
Getting there from the city center is easy, there is a free shuttle from the iSite or top of the Cable car that brings you there and then back either to the top of the Cable Car or back to the iSite. The driver was also really fun and taught us a few things about Zealandia during the drive there.
We took the last shuttle out, which dropped us off at the top of cable car. By then it had started raining but that didn’t keep us from walking down to the city through the botanic gardens. The gardens were also really beautiful and somehow special due to the location spread out over one of Wellington's hills.