Journey through luscious bush and beautiful greenery to discover the Natural Treasures that have occupied this amazing country for millions of years! It’s all here at the wonderful Auckland Zoo’s Te Wao Nui. As we walk through the main gate, we know exactly where we’re headed. Signposted and easy to find, we’re on our way…
We enter Te Wao Nui through the walkway under the huge replica rib cage and find ourselves at ‘The Coast’. Eager to discover, we push forward and come across absolutely adorable and incredibly curious Fur Seals. These guys are so entertaining, watching them sit out of the water and look like they’re almost dancing to seeing their gracefulness in the water, from the underground viewing bay.
Next are ‘The Islands’. This amazing landscape has been set out to imitate the rugged islands scattered alongside the New Zealand coastline. We saw geckos, skinks and parakeets but the standout inhabitant was the famous Tuatara. The last survivors of a family of reptiles that lived when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. We immediately notice its’ incredible markings and textured skin. It’s sad that a creature so beautiful is endangered but at the same time, it’s amazing that organisations such as Auckland Zoo exist because they make it their duty to help with the prevention of tragedies such as extinction.
We move on to, ‘The High Country’. This is one of my favourite enclosures simply for the beauty of it. Home to the cheeky and mischevious Kea, we are surrounded by rocks, a waterfall and stream. It is so peaceful and relaxing.
We spot the Kea chilling out on the rocks around us. In the wild, there are about 3,000 to 5,000 left. They are known to nest in high grounds and have a wavering relationship with humans due to their love of curious things such as cars and peoples’ belongings!
It’s time to go bush! We head into the massive aviary known as ‘The Forest’ and learn lots about New Zealand’s forest birds such as the Wood Pigeon, Tui & Bellbird! These are beautiful and surprisingly easy to spot. The Wood Pigeons are usually chilling out in the trees while the Tuis take to the skies singing their beautiful songs!
Tuis are very vocal and not at all afraid to swoop down from the tree tops, grab a delicious treat off the perch and fly off again. A truly amazing bird, and one of the smartest in the world. It’s amazingly refreshing taking in the natural surroundings, especially from the top viewing deck where you get a birds eye view of the entire enclosure.
We make our way back down and out, ready for the next area ‘The Wetlands’. This is a beautiful setting. A waterfall cascades down and takes you to another world – almost! The birdlife are right at home, and it paints the perfect picture for the main inhabitant of this kind of ecosystem – the eel.
We’re a bit biased when we say we saved the best for last, I mean – of course we’re going to get super excited about seeing the Kiwi! This amazing flightless bird that represents our country in so many ways deserves a special mention! As we make our way up the path into the pitch black darkness, we feel our eyes begin to adjust.. we enter and OH MY GOSH! The Kiwi is right by the glass, this is amazing! We are pleasantly surprised as we were expecting it to be tricky to spot! Its’ right out in the open digging around the leaves with its beak for bugs. We are fascinated and decide to spend a fair few minutes watching. How sad it is that pests like wild cats, dogs and stoats are diminishing the population of Kiwi in the wild. Here at Auckland Zoo, a programme exists called “O.N.E” or ‘Operation Nest Egg’. Volunteers work relentlessly to bring Kiwi eggs in and hatch them, then rehabilitate the Kiwi chicks back into their habitat – this has been done well over 300 times and is proving to be a real success!
Leaving the Kiwi enclosure, it is safe to say I feel a hundred times closer to home and a sense of real pride. For locals & tourists, this is a must-see – a refreshing new way to see our little slice of paradise!
Once you’ve made your way around Te Wao Nui, why not visit the other amazing wildlife that live here too! Here are some snaps we took on the day…
You can never spend too long at Auckland Zoo – luckily it’s open 7 days a week. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed! Take it from the meerkat above, just chill and enjoy this wonderful experience!