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The Wellington Botanic Gardens, is located on one side of a hill with an entrance in Tinakori Road in Thorndon and other entances in Kelburn further up the hill. At the top of the hill is a lookout with vistas over central Wellington, Wellington Harbour, and the Rimutaka Range.
The gardens themselves features native forest, and exotics from around the world with some areas dedicated to different countries such as the Ausralian Garden. There is also a significant Rose Garden displaying many varieties and has the distinction of being a Garden of National Significance.
A popular tourist attraction is to take the Cable Car from Lambton Quay in the central city up to the lookout in the gardens. On route the journey takes you through a number of tunnels, Victoria University, and Kelburn Park. Alongside the lookout at the top is a cable car museum, restaurant, and tourist shop.
Paths wind through the gardens which visitors use as well as joggers and residents making use of the childrens playground. Near the Tinakori Road entrance is Begonia House (a large glasshouse) and outside is Lady Norwood Rose Garden. Also nearby is the Treehouse Visitor Centre and below that is the children's play area, and a duck pond. Glowworms are visible at night along some paths. In Summer, the gardens are lit up with some spectacular coloured lights and during the day there are free concerts in an outdoor stage called the Soundshell.
Local artists have a range of sculptures and carvings located throughout the gardens. Some organisations are also located in the gardens such as: