Skip to Content

A day in Auckland Zoo

We usually try to incorporate a wildlife experience of some sort into our travels and Auckland Zoo has always been excellent over the years with a strong commitment to conservation so we took the chance to get back there on our recent visit to New Zealand. 

Monkey at Auckland Zoo

The Zoo was an early adopter of the ‘cages without bars’ philosophy and almost the entire area has now been made over without the old style cages.  This is not only so much better for the animal’s welfare but gives visitors a much better wildlife experience.

Auckland Zoo is divided into precincts that represent a region or habitat.  The zoo is one of the top international zoos in our opinion yet it’s still a very reasonably priced day out.  There are several cafe’s and coffee stops onsite with the usual offerings but you can get a stamp when you leave which lets you come and go from the Zoo, eat lunch somewhere nearby, or bring a picnic to enjoy in the zoo grounds or next to the lake in the adjacent Western Springs park.  There’s plenty to see so be ready to spend the day.  These were a few of my favourite animal personalities from our recent visit.

1.  Pridelands

A guide to visiting Auckland Zoo, New Zealand - A female lion at lion island

We did an anticlockwise circuit which meant that we started with Pridelands.  This was one of the first areas of Auckland Zoo overhauled to provide the animals enclosures without bars, consequently, it is now one of the older areas but is still a great modern space.  There are giraffes, ostrich, rhino, zebra, springbok, cheetah, flamingo, hippo, baboons and various other species but I just love being able to watch the lions bask in the grass and sunshine on their own island.

2.  Te Wao Nui


There has been a large domed aviary in the zoo for some time but Te Wao Nui is the most recently created zone in the zoo.  Most of New Zealand’s unique wildlife are birds and many of them are flightless including the Kiwi, Takahe, Weka and Kakapo. 

Before Europeans came to New Zealand there weren’t animals that preyed on birds, the exception, of course, being the large flightless moa that was hunted to extinction by man before European arrival.  So it’s only fitting that this new section of Auckland Zoo is dedicated to the birds. 

These birds are Kea, a mischievous native parrot known for ripping the window seals out of unsuspecting skiers cars and unzipping your tent while you’re hiking to steal your food.  The photo is a parent bird feeding a chick that looks like it should be fledged by now.

3.   The Rainforest


The Lemur are one of my favourites.  Back when we lived in NZ we got to go behind the scenes with these cute animals and hand feed them sultanas which they were quite fond of.  They have very gentle hands but are incredibly strong if they want to prize the sultana away from you.

4.  The Primate Trail


I could actually spend the whole day watching these gentle giants.  They love their hessian sacks using them as blankets and to play hide and seek.  They have a large interactive exhibit with climbing frames, platforms and ropes for them to relax and exercise on.

5.   Elephant Clearing


Sadly there is only Burma left now after Kashin passed away in 2009 but she gets lots of one on one attention and love from her keepers.  At 32 years old she is still only middle-aged for an elephant and I’ve heard the zoo are looking for some new young elephants to give Burma a new family.  I hope they find some that are suitable soon, elephants are social creatures and I’m sure she would love some company.

6.   Aussie Walkabout

Brolga chick in the Australian enclosure at Auckland Zoo

All the usual kangaroos, wallabies and colourful parrots have a home in the Australia section but this new brolga chick stole my heart.  So cute and not something you’re going to see every day.  We were extra lucky as the parent birds put on their noisy dance display just as we arrived which is also something quite special.

7.   Tiger Territory

Focused in on tigers head at Auckland Zoo enclosure

The zoo has three Sumatran tigers which is quite impressive considering there are only believed to be around 400 surviving in the remaining pockets of Indonesian forest in the wild.   Berani was born at the zoo and two of his brothers also born here have gone on to Australia to continue the captive breeding programme in an attempt to save them from extinction.

Auckland Zoo was a great day out with the family.  It’s easy walking and for the younger and older visitors and there are plenty of rest spots scattered around.  To get the most out of your visit I’d recommend you hold onto the map they give you at the entry, it lists out many of the animal encounters so you can plan to be at the ones you particularly \want to see. 

It will also help you plan your route and make sure you don’t miss anything.  While there is a main circuit around the zoo there are plenty of detours and it’s easy to miss something you wanted to see if you don’t have a rough idea of where you’re headed.

You can hover over these images (or any others on the page) to pin them quickly to Pinterest

Have you been to Auckland Zoo?  Do you enjoy visiting Zoo’s and other wildlife parks on your travels?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

budget jan

Thursday 6th of August 2015

I was happy to hear they were an early adopter of the cages without bars. Singapore Zoo was also an early one. Makes me feel so much better. Beautiful photos!


Tuesday 13th of January 2015

Love your photos !!

I actually enjoy going to zoos, it is sometimes the only access some people will ever have with animals outside of domesticated animals. However, I do only attend professionally run, high standards where animals welfare is number 1 :)

I loved Auckland when we visited it years ago :)


Tuesday 13th of January 2015

We loved our experience at Auckland Zoo back in 2013. We tend to do the animal experience on holidays too where we can. Always brings lots of joy :)

Tuesday 13th of January 2015

Thanks Holly, yes anything involving nature and wildlife makes me happy so we always look to add those experiences into our trips and weekends when we can.

Nancy Olson

Tuesday 13th of January 2015

I LOVE your photos! It really makes me want to visit these beautiful place to see them in real life but do appreciate the photos!

Tuesday 13th of January 2015

Thanks Nancy, I love to take photos and it's great to hear that you enjoyed them


Tuesday 13th of January 2015

I love New Zealand. I'm hoping to get back there this year. I haven't been to the North Island yet. Would you recommend it? I am just so in love with the south Island that I find it hard to go anywhere else! haha! Great post! x

Tuesday 13th of January 2015

Hi Larissa, the South Island is so beautiful and would definitely be my recommendation to any first time travellers to the country. The north island also has many attractions, safe sandy swimming beaches and rugged surf, parklands, forest and places of historic and cultural significance but it also has bigger cities and is more commercial in many places. Auckland is at least a part of our itinerary when we go back because we have family there otherwise I would find it hard to pass up the south island myself.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.