A summary of the current tours that feature in our schedule:

Catholic Tales

Amongst the earliest burials in the Catholics area are an adventurer who served in the American Civil War; a contractor who built much of Wellington’s infrastructure; a champion boxer; a choirmaster, organist, & musician; one of Wellington’s foremost architects; a monumental mason; members of three Catholic Orders; as well as many members of one of Wellington’s wealthiest Catholic families who occupy several large plots.

City Builders

This tour features a couple of Prime Ministers, Mayors of Wellington, parliamentarians, philanthropists, a distinguished scientific family, a mariner/shipping fleet owner, and a major media star. Between them they contributed so much to the development of our vibrant city.

Evening Tour

Would you like to join us and explore the beauty of Karori Cemetery in the evening? This tour is for anyone who would like to see the Cemetery through a different lens, as the landscape settles in from dusk to darkness. On this walk you’ll be accompanied by two guides who will take you on a wander through some of the most magical parts of the cemetery, with a story or two of early Wellingtonians along the route. We might even spy a Ruru/Morepork or two! The tour does not have any scary themes. There are points on the tour where we may pause and turn off our torches to enjoy the landscape in the darkness. Each attendee needs to bring their own torch.  The route mostly follows paved surfaces but there are some areas of unevenness. A moderate level of fitness and surefootedness is required.  The tour is not suited for children under the age of 12 or unaccompanied minors.      

Hangman’s Noose Tour

In total, 85 people have been executed for crime in New Zealand with the first in 1842 and the last in 1957. Seventeen of those men were executed in Wellington and 11 are buried in Karori Cemetery.  This walking tour will visit some of their graves to account their crimes, trials and convictions. It will also visit the plots of some of the victims.

The graves are unmarked and placed in remote and disparate locations making this a tour about 2 hours long. The route is 2.5km and requires reasonable physical fitness due to the steep terrain and unsealed paths in places.

The tour contains a number of adult themes and some graphic descriptions and so is not suitable for everyone.

Housewives & Heroines

This tour visits the graves and recounts the lives of some of the extraordinary women who lived and worked in early Wellington, including Aunt Daisy, Molly Tripe, Marion Tasker, Mathilda Meech, Emily Cope, Margaret Caro and many others.  The tour is an easy stroll around the Shelter.      

Military Tales from the Services Section

Come and hear tales from our military history.

The tour duration is 1 hour 30mins. The tour mostly follows paved surfaces but there are some areas of unevenness.


More Catholics Tales

Hear about a poet, a writer, soldiers and stories of Wellington history. Further Catholic Tales tells the stories of the wide range of people interred in the section known as Catholic 2.

The tour duration is 1 hour 30mins. The tour mostly follows paved surfaces but there are some areas of unevenness.


Murder & Mayhem

Karori Cemetery is the final resting place for people whose lives ended tragically – from drowning, from murder, and from accidents of all kinds. This tour includes the story of three militia men killed in a guncotton explosion; an attempted murder followed by suicide; a drowning or two plus other exciting stories.  

Public Autumn Friends of Karori Cemetery

Nation Builders

Meet some of the men who built our country – the engineers and architects who designed and built our cities, railways, bridges, viaducts, ports, and harbours; the politicians and lawyers who provided the leadership and political frameworks; a surveyor whose detailed maps of Wellington 130 years ago are still used today, industrialists, one of our pre-eminent geologists, judges, and a Premier (4 times!) during the 1880’s. 

Off the Beaten Track

Stretch your legs on this tour! Off the Beaten Track takes you off the main road, exploring a bit further into the older sections of Karori Cemetery. We walk up and down the hills, through the gullies and alongside the creek to discover some interesting characters and some of the history of the cemetery as well. Moderate fitness and surefootedness is required, and this tour is not suitable for those with mobility issues.

Tales from the Vaults

Find out who is in and who is out of some of Karori cemetery’s most substantial dwellings. Note: tours do not enter vaults or try them out for size. This tour is suitable for people with moderate fitness. The route mostly follows paved surfaces but there are some areas of unevenness. Surefootedness is required. This tour involves approximately 2km of walking, with some slow paced but uphill stints.

Treasures from the Gully

Gum Gully is the Friend’s name for the second public area of the cemetery in the wilderness area facing the suburbs of Wilton and Wadestown.  Burials commenced in 1902 and the area contains many thousands of graves including prominent Wellingtonians –  photographers, artists, architects, engineers, doctors and as well as many who met their fate accidentally. Some of the largest and best gravestones are interspersed between huge gum trees and a shield of mature pines.  This trip also requires moderate fitness and surefootedness and is not suitable for those with mobility issues.  

The Small Chapel

Built in 1909, the Small Chapel is a hidden heritage gem. With brass plaques, glowing timber panelling, and a set of very special stained glass windows the Small Chapel is a place for quiet reflection.

Cemetery Introductory Tour

This short (45mins), tour outlines the development of Karori Cemetery since the first burial in August 1891, traversing the earliest burial areas which contain many interesting memorials and monuments.