Friends of the Wellington Botanic Garden, Wellington, New Zealand

The Friends of the Wellington Botanic Garden welcome you to this web site and this fascinating public garden

Who are we?

The Friends of the Wellington Botanic Garden was formed as an Incorporated Society in 1990 to promote and support the development of the Botanic Garden, to raise funds and support Garden projects, and to foster public interest in its educational, historical, cultural, recreational and scientific functions.

What we do

The Friends work as volunteers to guide walks and host events in the Garden, organise bulb sales, arrange lectures, social functions and displays of historic and heritage interest, maintain a register of the Memorials in the Garden, raise funds and assist Garden Management with a variety of Garden projects.

Main current projects are the installation of permanent downhill path markers made of New Zealand-designed glass ceramic mosaic pavers in a rata design, and provision of support for fund raising for the Children’s Garden, a major development currently under planning.

You’ll see footprints of the Friends around the Garden. Recent projects we have implemented include the placing of directional and interpretative signage in the native bush remnants, the renovation of the Joy Fountain, the provision of entrances to the Pinetum, the renewal of many of the path markers and the maintenance of the “butterfly garden” on Druid Hill.

The Friends welcome new members and ideas –    click for contact details to join
                                                                                   and for list of new site pages
                                                                                   and to search the site for specific information
                                                                                   and  150 years of historic images of the garden
                                                                                   and General Garden photos  showing significant features
                                                                                    and Lady Norwood Begonia Plants and house details

Our Garden

New Zealand's most historic public botanic garden is located in the heart of Wellington, the Capital City of New Zealand. It is classified as a Garden of National Significance by the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture and is an Historic Places Trust Heritage Area.

This garden was established in 1868, 5 years later than the Dunedin and Christchurch Botanic Gardens, but is historically important from its key role in the introduction of Pinus radiata, a tree of major economic importance to this country.

Located within walking distance of the commercial and shopping heart of the City, it is only a short distance from the National Museum - Te Papa.

  The most spectacular entry is by Cable Car. Leaving from Lambton Quay, the main shopping street, it terminates at the lookout entry to the Garden, which provides spectacular views over the city and the harbour. (See photo at end of this page) Return to the city by walking the downhill walkway back to the city heart, through th
e children's play area, Main Garden with its old trees, Duck Pond, and seasonal plantings, to the Rose Garden and Begonia House, then through the historic Bolton Street Memorial Park.

Most Popular Kids Activities in 2015
#9 Most Popular Kids Activity in Wellington Central (6011)

Come, enjoy, rest a while, have a coffee at the cafe and browse the Begonia House shop but, most important, bring your camera for those memories of this fascinating garden.

This site aims to provide items of interest and assistance to all visitors and members of the Friends of the Wellington Botanic Garden.

Covid 19 update

Following government directives,
the Treehouse Visitor Centre, Begonia House, and Otari-Wilton’s Bush Information Centre
 will be closed until further notice.

Exterior garden areas remain open to the public, as do public restrooms.

For more information, please visit the Wellington City Council’s
COVID-19 site.


 Another project that the committee will be progressing this year, is the rebuilding of the Friends' website. Due to the tireless work of Phil Tomlinson over many years, we have a website that in detail and size well exceeds what our fellow botanic garden friends have. But the quantity of information that we offer unfortunately presents us with the challenge of finding a volunteer to manage the site in the long term. Fortunately, Wellington City Archives has recognised the historical value of what Phil has created and is prepared to take over much of the existing website's content with the view to making it publicly available as part of their new online service.
There is much to be done yet, but the current site will likely be replaced with a new and smaller one, a site that will still serve as an essential resource for members while at the same time providing links to the material that the current site is renowned for. There will be more advice and consultation in due course!   

There is much to be done yet, but the current site will likely be replaced with a new and smaller one, a sitethat will still serve as an essential resource for members while at the same time providing links to the material that the current site is renowned for. There will be more advice and consultation in due course!
Rob Hole                                              (

I have not been involved in the detail of the new site, and the details of its location, size and contents remains largely unknown.  The only fact known is that the historical material will no longer be available on the Friends site,  although links will be provided for the e-books.  It appears the replacement site will hold none of the material shown in the top menu line, or most of the lower menu, and will be restricted to some half dozen pages covering the Friends organisation  only. The Friends constitution sets an objective to "to foster public interest in the educational, historical, cultural, recreational and scientific functions of the Garden" ,  but this would not appear to be retained, a major departure from the existing site.
Until such detail is known comment is not appropriate.

If you wish to see the main areas of the garden and enter via the Cable Car,  purchase a one way ticket  and then walk back to the city on the Downhill walkway , visiting all main areas. 
 From the Rose Garden you can either:
1.Return to the Cable Car climbing up via Serpentine Way and Remembrance Ridge.  This is a relatively steep walk and can be tiring on hot days, but does include most of the Sculpture Walk.  The Norwood Path pasts the Henry Moore sculpture is very steep and is not recommended. 

2. The recommended option is to continue walking the Downhill Walkway to the city, passing through the Bolton Street Memorial Park which includes a collection of heritage roses,  and the historic cemetery and finishes close to the Parliament Buildings (the "Beehive").
3. The shuttle vehicle from the Cable Car entrance to the Rose Garden and 
reverse is no longer available this season.   Problems with the vehicle and a lack of reliability  have forced its withdrawal.
Details of the Downhill Walkway click this link
Photo of Tui, commonly seen and heard in Garden

VoiceMap application
Self guided
audio walk

Rose Garden, Begonia House and Peace Garden
Information  -  click

Download   this walk and complete at your own time and pace using your smart phone

 Download link    Come explore Wellington Botanic Garden with this VoiceMap audio walk


Visit the Wellington Botanic Garden on Facebook

Guided walks (click link for details)
Guided Garden walks
Glow worms
Self guided walks (click link for details)
Downhill walk Cable Car to City
Kowhai Walk
Sculpture walk
Norwood Path
Self guided brochure walks
(Brochures available Treehouse and Begonia House)
Solander walk
Braile (Sensation) walk
Self guided walks
Native plant walks  introduction
Pukatea walk
Waipiro walk

Faces from the Garden history
Click IMAGE for further information
John Buchanan
George V. Hudson
James Hector

Alfred Ludlam
Thomas Mason
Albert Kellogg

Thomas Kirk
Walter Mantell
W T L Travers

In some instances image dates are  not known , but relate
to the relevant era

150 years of historic garden images

October 2018 will see the 150th anniversary of the opening of this Garden. 
The information on this site gives some measure of the history that has made the garden what it is today
William Bramley updated biography about head gardener
Historic nurseries
Peace Garden and Japanese Garden
Directors/keepers of the garden series
Menu  historical/people in the garden/directors
The Keeper"s House (and Director"s House)
G V Hudson biographical notes from Karori Historical Society
What could have been
Rose Garden and Begonia House history - Walter Cook
Teaching Garden History
Herb Garden Herione
Post Office in the Garden
Henry Wright and the missing plants
Joy Fountain
Duck Frog Swan Pond

Places from the Garden history
Click IMAGE for further information
Duck Pond
Rose Garden

Herb Garden
Bolton St heritage roses

Summer House
Teaching Garden
Joy Fountain

Contact details

Friends of Wellington’s Botanic Gardens,
P O Box 28-065, Kelburn,
Wellington 6150

President: Rob Hole 475 7752  or   021 157 8500

The Friends can be contacted by e-mail
Please note changed e-mail address, allowing better use of this server resources.
  Please change your address book

Updated and redesigned site uploaded 5 June 2014
Initial site launched September 28 2009
Friends site 2004
Precursor site ("WBG A Personal View" - material used in later official Friends site) 2001