For a glimpse of the New Zealand bush as it was before humans arrived, head to Otari-Wilton’s Bush. The remains of the area’s original podocarp-northern rata forest were set aside in 1860 by one Job Wilton and form the core of the lush 0.8 square kilometre preserved here.
At the unstaffed visitor centre you’ll find a map of the walks, which initially follow a 100m Canopy Walkway of sturdy decking high in the trees across a gully. This leads to the Native Botanic Garden, laid out with plants from around the country, and the informative Nature Trail (30min), a good introduction to the New Zealand forest and its many plants. Assorted trails (all 30min–1hr) wander through the bush, one passing an 800-year-old rimu.