Karori Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected natural area where the bio-diversity of a square mile of forest is being restored.
A predator-proof fence, specifically designed to exclude 14 species of non-native mammals, ranging from possums to mice, encircles the 8.6km perimeter.
The Sanctuary is at present in a degraded state. Flora now missing from the site or rare - including large podocarp species such as rimu and totara - will be re-established.
Many species of threatened native wildlife will be re-introduced. The little spotted kiwi - one of our rarer kiwi - has already been released.
The Sanctuary will be developed as a major education, research and recreational site for the benefit of all New Zealanders.
• Open every day of the year, except Christmas Day.
• 10am - 5pm.
• Last entry at 4pm.
• Adults $10.00
• Children $4.00
• Family $24.00 (2x adults and 3x children)
• Free admission for members and pre-school children
• Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult
Our family of five enjoy visiting the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary on a fine day. The carpark has plenty of parks just outside the sanctuary. To access the sanctuary you have to go through gates with volunteers all around to help you find your way and to give out information. There is a boat which can take you from one end to the other which we haven't been on as they weren't running at the right time we were there and decided not to wait as the walk would be quicker.
The children (and adults) loved the Gold Mine with a volunteer taking you through and explaining to all about the cave wetas which could fall on your head (no matter as you have hard hats) and they are very shy. Around the sanctuary there are weta hotels which you open and see many of them in the tree branches cut in half with a plastic perspex panel so you can watch them and then shut them up for the next person to open.
There are spots where you can watch the birds feed at certain times and we thoroughly enjoyed watching the cheeky Kaka. A walk past the dam can take you through forest and around the lake, but most of the bird life is below the dam. Inside the Exhibition you can spend many hours wandering around upstairs and down. If the movie is busy downstairs it is best to head up to the next floor to watch it as the screen goes over the two floors.
Excellent place to visit and you need at least half a day, but best to go on a lovely fine windless Wellington day.
There are animals, native to our land, who can only be found on the mainland in cages or glass boxes. Their only real freedom is to be found out on Department of Conservation isolated island sanctuaries, which are just a tad difficult (and expensive) to visit as a day-trip. For those with the money, and inclination, to go to such lengths, the visits are often worthwhile as they get to see native birds flitting through the trees as they once did over much of our land over a century ago.
Well, now anyone can do it, and you don't have to take a boat to do it. You can take a train, or a bus, or a car. In Karori you will find the most spectacular place I have visited in the last decade. I took my family for a wander around, and was priviliged to be escorted some of the way by one of the most knowledgable staff, who started our tour by taking us up the lower lake on a nifty little electric boat. Both eco-friendly and quiet, the boat allowed us to still hear the chorus of beautiful birdsong echoing off the valley walls.
After our delightful 10 minute boat trip we started a hike that could easily have taken us all day, but was restricted by our travel plans to a mere few hours... which was simply NOT enough time to really take it all in. With literally kilometres of walking and hiking tracks to wander around, and the whole lot full of native birds, kiwis and the occasional tuatara, there is plenty of incentive to spend the whole day out in the bush.
Overall, though I would love to go on and on about the wonders to be found, it would take way too long, so I would highly recommend you check out their website and see what there is to be found at this wonderful nature preserve. It suffices to say that if the weather holds good, you should devote a day to visit this place... if you have any interest in unspoilt nature, eco-preservation, or just enjoying a tramp in the outdoors, this will enthrall you. And the best bit... it's right here in our own back yard!
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