I have a confession. I have a lot of preconceived ideas about what New Zealand attractions will be like well before I go. When my kids asked to go to the Auckland Zoo, I cringed. I imagined a cramped area with a few animals that you could see anywhere. I was also preemptively cranky because the last time we had tried to go, parking was an absolute nightmare–in that there was simply no parking to be had. This is a theme throughout New Zealand and it won’t be the first time you’ve heard me moan about it. However, this day we found parking and made our way into the exhibits for what turned out to be an absolutely delightful day at the Auckland Zoo.
The Auckland Zoo doesn’t contain cages. It has areas that mimic natural habitats and different animals from that area coexist peacefully (obviously predators and prey are not in the same exhibit!). There are different tracks to take depending on the area and animals you want to see. The zoo is a wildlife conservation organization that is over 100 years old, has over 135 species and 1400 animals.
The African Safari Track
The zoo tour starts with the African Safari Track that takes you through the savannah. You’ll find lions lazing around on the grass, giraffes eating from the tallest trees, ostriches scurrying about the meadows, rhinos grazing in the field, zebras huddled together in a dazzle, cheetahs prowling the grounds, flamingos scattered around the lake, hippos relaxing in the water, baboons hanging from the trees, and many other animal species just being themselves. And, at the end of the track, you can walk right up to the elephant exhibit.
Te Wao Nui
Te Wao Nui is home to New Zealand wildlife. Here you can see birds, including kiwis, penguins, kakapo, wakahe, and weka. You’ll also be able to see New Zealand plant species and wetlands wildlife. If you want to see animals and plants that you won’t find anywhere else, this is the area you will want to visit. It is divided into six different Aotearoa regions and we loved them all.
The South East Asia Jungle Track
Entering the South East Asia Jungle Track was a completely unique zoo experience for me. We could hear the primates well before we got to them. All we needed to do was look up to find them–they were swinging right above us on the high canopy–a series of sculptures, nests, and ropes all around the area. It was so much fun to see the orangutans overhead.
The South America Rainforest Track
If you like scales and spiders, the South American Rainforest track is the one you want. It has an impressive variety of reptiles, including alligators, lizards, iguanas, and tarantulas. But the reptiles aren’t the only species you’ll find here! You will also come across spider monkeys, tamarins, and the furry Capybaras, which are the largest known rodents in the world.
The Australia Bush Track
The Australia Bush Track is the final track at the Auckland Zoo. Here you will find all the famous Australian animal species like kangaroos, wallabies, emus, brolgas, tasmanian devils, the red-tailed black Cockatoo, a variety of Rainbow fish, water dragons, and the Goliath stick insect.
The Auckland Zoo is great place to visit with your family. The are tracks that lead you through the many exhibits are easy to follow and clean. It’s easy to have a first-hand view of the animals in their natural habitat. There are many resting spots and restaurants and cafes all over the zoo, too, so if you get tired, you can always stop and take a breather, enjoy a small meal or drink and continue your day. We really enjoyed our day at the Auckland Zoo and if we lived closer, would have gotten a membership. It’s high up on my recommended places to visit in Auckland!
Want more family friendly outings in New Zealand? Visit Hobbiton in Matamata!!