Home to 138 different species and over 875 animals, Auckland Zoo is a modern and spacious zoological garden with the largest collection of international and native fauna in New Zealand. Just 5km from central Auckland and set among 17 hectares of lush parklands, the zoo has an emphasis on conservation and sustainability.
Auckland Zoo is split into different animal exhibits: ASB Elephant Clearing, Aussie Walkabout and Lorikeet Aviary, Hippo River, KidZone, Pridelands, Primate Trail, The Rainforest, Tiger Territory and the newest addition – Te Wao Nui, meaning natural and unique habitats and environment in Maori. The zoo prides itself on providing close encounters with wildlife, and runs daily zookeepers talks for insights into the secret lives of its feathered, furry and scaly residents. The elephant enclosure is home to the one Asian elephant but Hippo River will enthral with hippos, cheetahs and flamingos. The other African-themed exhibit, Pridelands, is like a mini safari with giraffes, zebras and ostriches alongside rhinos and springboks as well as a pride of lions among Zulu huts.
While the transplanted species draw a crowd, don't forget to check out Auckland Zoo's newest exhibit Te Wao Nui - an immersive experience of New Zealand culture, flora and fauna. Opened in 2011, this exhibit is divided into six distinct habitats: The Coast, The Islands, The Wetlands, The Night, The Forest and The High Country. The different areas showcase the diversity of the islands of New Zealand where you can see penguins and fur seals among sand and rocks, forest birdlife as well as animals who love the nightlife like the weta, kiwi, morepork and bats who hang out in the exhibit's cave.
Auckland Zoo also provides tailored experiences for animal aficionados ranging from a behind-the-scenes tour, the opportunity to sleep overnight at the zoo, and even be a keeper for a day where you shadow a zookeeper and interact closely with the zoo's charges. To visit Auckland Zoo, buses 010, 030, 048-189, 191-199 all stop on Great North Road. Alight at stop 8124 , and it's a six-minute walk down Motions Road to the zoo.