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Spring tulip display

The Main Garden is the heart of the Wellington Botanic Garden. It comprises the land first reserved in 1839 as a botanic reserve when Wellington City was laid out, and contains the earliest and most important plantings of the whole garden. Development commended in 1869 and areas such as the Nursery Glen, sunken garden, and areas close to the present children's playground were utilised as nurseries to propagate and grow conifers for testing in the developing colony. Plants such as Pinus radiata and Cupressus macrocarpa where widely distributed to many parts of New Zealand from the nursery stock The area contains some of the oldest pines and other conifers to be found in this country, plants grown from original wild collected stock which was obtained from areas where wild populations are now either rare or extinct.


Extensive seasonal bedding displays, including tulips in the spring
Some of the oldest pines, spruces, cedars and first to be found in this country in this area and on surrounding slopes
The Duck Pond, a delight for children of all ages
Plantings along the Pipitea and Pukatea Streams which feed the Duck Pond
The Sound Shell
The Joy Fountain
The Treehouse Visitors Information Centre.
Many flowering magnolias, including
Magnolia campbellii and a bank of Magnolia soulangeana
The original Holly Hedge planted around the sunken garden when it was a nursery in 1869/70.
A range of other mature interesting trees

At the heart of the garden, many paths lead to or from this area. Most people will enter the garden through the Founders Gate off Glenmore Street/Tinakori Road. The Downhill Walk is through the Treehouse Visitors Centre and the Fragrant Garden.

Three paths lead from the Founders Gate

1. To the left Buchanan Way, leading to Visitors Centre, skirting the Sound Shell, and to the old stables. It was originally called Dray Road and provided the main access to the nursery and stables.
2. The central path is William Bramley Drive, the main path, leading to the Duck Pond. This was formed in 1873/4.
3. The right path, Ludlam Way, follows the road, and circles behind the Duck Pond to join the William Bramley Drive.

Main Garden area, walk PURPLE paths

Features marked in blue circle and yellow letter

A. Sunken garden, historic holly hedge
B. Japanese cedar, Kauri
C. Yew and Sitka Spruce
D. Magnolia campbellii
E. Linden lime
F. Cedars - Himalayan and Lebanon; swamp cypress behind
G. Copper Beach
H. Golden Ash
I. Tulip Tree
J. Puriri
K. English Oak and Atlantic Cedar
J. Golden Elm
M. Norfolk Island Pine
N. Canary Island Palm
O. Tanakaha

For a description of featured trees click here

Towards Ludlam Way, Main Garden

This is an area to explore, but features to note include

William Bramley Drive

Duck Pond, Main Garden Summer light display

The Pohutukawa planted in 1906 at the entrance
The Phoenix Palms planted 1935
Picea sichensis - Sitka Spruce, a notable tree, planted 1871
The group of cedars - Himalayan, Lebanon and Atlantic
The Swamp Cypress
Bramley Lime, planted 1870
The magnolias,
campbellii, soulangiana and others
The gazebo, stone bridge
Duck Pond, originally called Frog Pond in 1870, then Swan Pond, now Duck Pond for obvious reasons
The Redwood -
Sequoiadendron gigantium - and Pinus torryana above the pond
On the slopes south of the Duck Pond a collection of old pines -
radiata, muricata, Scots, nigra, torryana.

Ludlam Way

Magnolia in winter - spring is coming

Magnolia grandifora
Pin Oak
Joy Fountain with variegated hollies
Canadian Sugar or Rock Maple
Oriental spruce with its attractive bark, planted 1870
Golden Ash
Tulip Tree
Bedding plants seasonally variable.

Buchanan Way

Norfolk Island Pine
Lilly Pilly
Camphor Tree in Sound Shell Lawn
Sundial in Sound Shell Lawn
Holly Hedge by Sunken Garden
Fragrant Garden with seasonal displays
Access to Treehouse Information Centre - by lift or path

Photographs of the Main Garden during the Light and Sound Festival show the summer bedding displays and other views. CLICK TO VIEW

Main Garden in autumn colour


The Downhill Walk is discussed in a number of sections.

Starting at the Cable Car :

Walk 1 Grass Way
Walk 2 Main Garden
Walk 3 Rose Garden and Begonia House
Walk 4 Bolton Street Memorial Park

Other walks

Walk 5 East Way and Norwood Path
Walk 6 Kowhai Walk

Walk 7 Sculptures