Otari Wilton’s Bush

We’ve had family visiting this weekend.  It was wonderful to see my sister and her family.

Today, we went to Otari Wilton’s Bush for a relaxing walk before they left to head back north.  Otari Wilton’s Bush is a reserve and also contains the only botanic garden in New Zealand dedicated solely to native plants.  The forest is a tiny remnant of mature podocarp northern rata forest that was once the common forest type on the Wellington Peninsula.

Fortunately for us, some far-sighted individuals back in the 1800’s realised that not much forest was being preserved in the rush to ‘develop’ New Zealand.  So this tiny bit of land (today it’s around 100 hectares) has been protected as a recreation area for Wellingtonians since the 1860’s.  You can read more about it in the link I’ve provided above.

Come for a walk with me now,

The majestic Kauri, a tree with an immense lifespan was once extensively harvested for its beautiful timber.
The tawa tree. Its bark has antiseptic properties and a decoction was used to clean wounds.  I love the feathery branches – it’s like a tree from a fantasy, or a beautifully cabled sweater…
Kaka beak.  I want some for my garden!
Ngaio seedling. The leaves of this small tree were crushed in water and used by Maori as an insect repellent. Handy to know if you’re caught in the bush when the midges are out!
These are wee things, only about 1cm (1/2″) off the ground.  Endemic to the South Island hill country, don’t they look just like the ball of fluff that Dr. Seuss’ Whoville lived on?
This is the NZ tree fuchsia flower. The berries are edible, and most delicious.  The flower has bright blue pollen.  It makes me think of yarn.
Still a common small tree, Bushman’s Toilet Paper has a self-explanatory name… it has soft, velvety leaves that are perfect for um… sanitary purposes.
Another South Island plant, it grows low on the ground.  You can see the thick leaves and small flowers well adapted to surviving in high country.
The new, red leaves lit by the sun in the dark green shaded forest looked like a spot of fire!
The silver fern – this is the symbol you often see displayed on New Zealand sports team outfits.
Thankfully still common, this kawakawa is a first-growth shrub/small tree that provides food and medicine. The fruit are delicious (just don’t bite the peppery seed) and the leaves make a good poultice for pain. Pour hot water on the leaves for a refreshing and delicious tea. Notice the moth-eaten leaves (they are nibbled by caterpillars). The holey leaves have the best medicinal qualities.

We only did the short, 30 minute walk.  You could stay in there all day, exploring and learning about the native plants and botanical history of New Zealand.

It was the perfect ending to a happy weekend.

8 thoughts on “Otari Wilton’s Bush

  1. What beautiful scenery! The tawa tree is especially neat. I’ve never seen a tree like that before! Thanks so much for sharing some of your home with us 🙂 Always a treat.

  2. more of your wonderful photographs to enable us all to share the sights you have seen. i particularly love the photo both your family and then especially the tree fushia. so beautiful. thank you very much ….a little trip in the comfort of my armchair 🙂

  3. I really enjoyed this post and all the bits of information you gave us about all those lovely plants and trees, thank you it looks like a beautiful place to visit 🙂

    1. It is a great place to go. It’s not as much on the ‘tourist’ route as the Botanical Gardens or other places, which makes it more special to me. However, a visitor to Wellington wanted to see a true New Zealand bush (unadulterated by recent “imports”) this is the place to see it!

Comments are closed.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: