Wellington Spring Festival best way to welcome new season

24 September 2015

Spring has sprung, so the poem goes, and there’s no better way to welcome the new season than Wellington’s Spring Festival.

Tulips.

With events taking place at the Botanic Garden, Otari-Wilton’s Bush and a number of other venues around Wellington, the Festival runs from September 25 until October 4, and encompasses everything from live music to costume parties, from expert lectures to guided tours, and from scavenger hunts to cultural performances.

“The Festival is a great time to get out and explore Wellington’s ever-changing environment, says, Councillor Helene Ritchie, who heads up the Natural Environment portfolio at the Council, “Many of our native trees are at their very best at this time of year”.

Wellingtonians won’t want to miss the Open Day at Otari-Wilton’s Bush. As well as the ever-popular native plant sale, Otari-Wilton’s Bush Trust’s own expert staff will host free guided tours around the plant collections. There’ll be opportunities for some hands-on interaction with native geckos and a tuatara, and a fascinating insight into the hidden lives of native bees with Victoria University Professor, Dr Phil Lester. Popular Te Papa Curator, Leon Perrie, will share his expertise with a presentation on understanding and valuing our plants. If you’ve never been to Otari-Wilton’s Bush, the Open Day is a perfect introduction to the only public botanic garden in New Zealand dedicated solely to native plants.

Another highlight of the Festival is the always popular Tulip Sunday at the Botanic Garden. Tulip Day has been a feature of the Garden’s calendar since the early 1940s. The celebration gained momentum after the Second World War following a large gift of bulbs from the Netherlands—in gratitude for New Zealand sheltering Dutch refugees during the conflict.

Tulip Sunday features not only a stunning array of vibrant tulips, but also a showcase of cultural performances from the local Dutch community, and a chance to try some of the Netherlands’ most popular traditional foods.

The Spring Festival Kid’s Day Out on Saturday 3 October offers children a chance to take part in a spring scavenger hunt with a chance to win some fantastic prizes, sing along with Hank the Shark and get up close and personal with some visiting critters from Staglands.

Those with a more leisurely strain of spring fever can take advantage of the two-for-one breakfast offer at the Botanic Garden’s Picnic Café; vouchers can be downloaded from our Spring Festival page.