Field trips

We are offering five full-day field trips on Wednesday, 27 November. Field trips depart at different times from outside the main entrance to Te Papa between 8:00 and 9:15 and return to Te Papa between 16:00 and 17:30. Please make note of the departure time for your field trip and make sure you arrive at least 15 minutes prior to collect your lunch and meet your field trip leaders.

In the unfortunate event of extreme or unsafe weather, some field trips may need to be cancelled or an alternative itinerary offered. In the worst case scenario of field trip cancellation, we will endeavour to refund the field trip cost to participants. Any decisions about field trips will be announced on the morning of Monday 25 November at the conference opening.

What to bring on all field trips:
  • Sturdy, covered footwear (no uncovered feet, jandals or sandals please)
  • Suitable clothing in case of rain, cool temperatures, and wind (Wellington’s weather is incredibly unpredictable)
  • Sunscreen and a sun hat
  • A hand lens, if you have one
  • Camera, binoculars
  • Refillable water bottle

Five full-day field trips on Wednesday, 27 November:

Field trip 1: Wild Wainuiomata and Rugged Remutaka Forests

Leaders: Owen Spearpoint (Greater Wellington Regional Council) and Melody McLaughlan (Department of Conservation)

Location: Wainuiomata Water Collection Area – Remutaka Forest Park (Middle Ridge track and Five Mile Loop)

Download detailed itinerary, additional information and plant list

This trip offers a rare chance to see the most intact lowland podocarp forest in the lower North Island and visit Remutaka Forest Park where the local community have reintroduced kiwi. Wainuiomata Water Collection Area was initially protected as a water collection area and now is intensively managed for its natural values. Neighbouring Remutaka Forest Park has been restored through revegetation and community trapping which controls predators of native wildlife. Expect to see ancient towering conifers, stunning beech forest and hopefully some flowering orchids!

Cost: $55, includes lunch.

Note: A good level of fitness is required. This trip will be made by chartered bus and can take a maximum of 55 people.

Field trip 2: Spectacular Coastal Parangarahu Lakes and Lowland Forest of Eastbourne

Leaders: Carlos Lehnebach (Te Papa Botany) and Barrett Pistol (Greater Wellington Regional Council)

Location: Pencarrow light house – Parangarahu Lakes area – coastal area –  Eastbourne

Download detailed itinerary, additional information and plant list

The first stop on the trip is Pencarrow light house, which provides stunning views over the Wellington Harbour entrance. After walking up a reasonably steep rugged track, following the farm path back down, participants come to Parangarahu Lakes area, a fresh water lake system surrounded by rushes and sedges. Back out to the coast there’s plenty of plants adapted to the rare shingle beaches in the area. Following this walk will be a site visit to Eastbourne to George Gibb’s (renowned entomologist) private property with lowland beech forest, home to native mistletoes.

Cost: $55, includes lunch.

Note: A good level of fitness is required. This trip will be made by chartered bus and can take a maximum of 37 people.

Field trip 3: Wellington’s Rugged South Coast – Restoration of Nature in Te Kopahou and Oku Reserve

Leaders: Brian Thomas (Wellington City Council Coastal Ranger) and Anita Benbrook (Wellington City Council Restoration Advisor)

Location: Oku St Reserve (Island Bay) – Te Kopahau Reserve and Red Rocks Scenic Reserve – fur seal colony – Brooklyn Hill

Download detailed itinerary, additional information and plant list

Wellington’s coast is unusual in that it has many plants living at or near sea level that are typically alpine. This is thought to be due to sometimes harsh exposure of the sites. This presents challenges for ecological restoration, and we will explore how work to restore both rural and urban areas has been undertaken at Oku Street Reserve and Te Kopahou Reserve, in partnership with our local communities. This trip, which will be undertaken in 4WD vehicles along the rugged coast, also includes visits to the local fur seal colony and the Brooklyn wind turbine, offering stunning views over the Cook Strait, Wellington Harbour entrance, and Wellington city.

Cost: $55, includes lunch.

Note: This trip can accommodate up to 20 participants with low to moderate fitness, but note it will be undertaken in 4WD vehicles on rough and steep terrain. Be prepared for a bumpy ride on occasion.

Field trip 4: Experience the Emerald in our Harbour — Matiu / Somes Island

Leaders: Gemma Wright (Department of Conservation Kaitiaki Ranger) and Jon Terry (Jon Terry Ecology and Wellington Botanical Society).

Location: Matiu / Somes Island

Download detailed itinerary, additional information and plant list

Matiu / Somes Island is a 24.9 ha Scientific and Historical Reserve in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington Harbour. The island has is very fascinating place: culturally, economically and ecologically. Many of its values have been restored by volunteers, local iwi and the Department of Conservation.  Its pest-free status has resulted in flourishing plants and wildlife. This trip will include an introduction to the island by the leaders, and will allow participants to explore the island and observe tuatara, Cook Strait wētā and numerous bird species. Restoration is ongoing on the island, and the vegetation is recovering well with many coastal Wellington species.

Cost: $55, including lunch.

Note: Moderate levels of fitness are required. Travel to/from Matiu / Somes Island is by East by West Ferry (included in the price). This trip is limited to a maximum of 30 people.

Field trip 5: Discover the Collections at Otari-Wilton’s Bush and Te Papa

Leaders: Finn Michalak (Otari-Wilton’s Bush), Patrick Brownsey (Te Papa Botany) and Rebecca Rice (Te Papa Art)

Location: Te Papa collection stores in Botany (WELT herbarium) and Art – Otari-Wilton’s Bush

Download detailed itinerary, additional information and plant list

Take a chance to see behind the scenes and hear from the experts who care for Wellington’s native plant collections – both preserved and living.

Start the tour at Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand, where participants will spend the morning on two back of house tours in the herbarium (WELT) and the art store. The one-hour herbarium visit will be led by Patrick Brownsey, who will give a general overview of the WELT herbarium, as well as examine the contributions of early New Zealand plant collectors such as Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander, William Colenso, John Buchanan, Thomas Kirk and others. The herbarium tour will also focus on the trade in fern albums that developed in the late 19th century to supply the obsession with ferns in Victorian England, sometimes known as a period of pteridomania, and the use of cyanotypes to provide cheap identification guides for native ferns at this time. The one-hour art store visit will be led by Rebecca Rice (Curator of Historical New Zealand Art, Te Papa) and will look at a variety of New Zealand botanical art work including prints from Banks’ Florilegium, and paintings by John Buchanan, Sarah Featon and Nancy Adams.

Participants will then get on a bus and head to Otari Native Botanic Garden and Wilton’s Bush Reserve (Otari), and first have lunch. For the next few hours, Otari Collection Curator Finn Michalak will then lead a walk around the plant collections at New Zealand’s only public botanic garden dedicated to native plants. It is also home to the largest forest remnant in Wellington City. Participants will experience this national treasure and will be able to see, identify, and look closely at many native New Zealand plants along the trails at Otari.

Cost: $45, including lunch.

Note: This field trip is strictly limited to 24 people and is a fully accessible trip for participants of all fitness and accessibility levels.