The Wellington Botanic Garden is 25 hectares of protected native forest, exotic trees, themed collections of plants and outdoor sculptures, located only minutes from downtown Wellington.
The Botanic Garden has a rich history. Back in 1844, The New Zealand Company set aside just over 5 hectares of land for the purpose of a botanic garden. The Garden was established in 1868 and was managed by the New Zealand Institute. During 1870s another 20 hectares of land was added to the Garden. Since 1891, the Wellington City Council has managed the Garden.
I visited the Garden via the Cable Car, from Lambton Quay. The No 3 Karori bus from Lambton Quay stops outside the Founders’ Entrance. The public carpark is adjacent to the Lady Norwood Rose Garden with vehicle access through the Centennial Entrance. Parking limit is two hours.
After visiting Carter Observatory I walked down through the Australian Garden towards the Treehouse Visitor Centre. The Visitor Centre is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm. During the months of November to April it is also open on weekends from 10am to 3pm. There is a lift from the Treehouse which takes visitors to the Gardens below. This is operational when the Visitor Centre is open.
From the Treehouse Visitor Centre I walked down through the scented garden to the duck pond, where mums and toddlers were feeding the ducks, before exiting through Founders’ Gates and reentering through the Centennial entrance and walking past Lady Norwood Rose Garden to the Begonia House.
Being that it was winter when I visited garden staff were busy in the rose garden preparing for the flowering season that begins around November. There are 110 rose beds set out geometric design with columns on three sides.
The Begonia House, a Victorian style glasshouse, contains tropical temperature displays all year round, allowing visitors to enjoy colour during the winter months. Also at the tropical end there is a large lily pond.
Also located in Begonia House is the Garden Shop and Picnic cafe. The Garden Shop is open daily from 9am to 5pm, October to March and from April to September the House is opened 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday (closed Tuesday), and 10am to 3pm weekends. The cafe is open every day, except Christmas Day, from 8:30am to 4pm.
After exploring the Garden, I walked through Bolton Street Memorial Park back to the city.
Bolton Street Memorial Park is home to Wellington’s eldest cemetery dating back to 1840. The cemetery closed to burials in 1892, except for burials in family plots, and the cemetery was transferred to Wellington City Council. The cemetery closed between 1968 and 1971, when part of Wellington’s motorway was built through a section of the cemetery. During this period, 3,700 burials were exhumed and relocated.
New Zealand’s longest serving Prime Minster Richard John Seddon is buried in Bolton Street Memorial Park. His grave is marked by a large monument. A statue of Seddon stands outside Parliament Buildings.