Explore the fascinating history of New Zealand at an urban eco-sanctuary and in a museum that highlights the rich textures of the native culture.
Departing from the pier, you will drive due west to the Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary, the world’s first fully fenced urban eco-sanctuary. It lies in a beautiful valley, covering one square mile of reclaimed native forest, where you will see rare animals indigenous to New Zealand and exhibits presenting 80 million years of the country’s natural history.
Depending on where you wander on the guided tour, you may see forest parrots, endangered stitchbirds and tuataras, “living fossil” reptiles that until recently hadn’t been spotted on the mainland for 200 years. The indoor exhibits at Zealandia are just as captivating. They showcase a range of topics, including New Zealand’s extensive conservation movement, and present life-size replicas of extinct animals such as the moa and Haast’s eagle.
Following this enlightening visit, you will drive to Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum. Its collections span art, history, Pacific cultures, natural environment, and the Maori, giving you an in-depth, multi-tiered view of the country. During the tour and subsequent free time, you may see historical weapons, feathered cloaks, photographs of settlers, and rare ancestral pendants. After this definitive look into the history of New Zealand, you will drive back to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2-hours of easy to moderate walking/standing over mostly flat surfaces, plus any additional walking at the guests’ discretion during free time. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate, casual clothing; sun cap, sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.