New Zealand Wildlife Parks and Bird Sanctuaries

New Zealand wildlife parks are the best places to see the wide range of native species up close that this country has to offer. NZ is undoubtedly a brilliant place for bird watching and there are many wildlife conservation parks you can visit to see some of the rarer species that you may not otherwise catch sight of in the wild.

Some of these sanctuaries, wildlife reserves and refuges are created through the erection of predator proof fencing across peninsulas or around mountains. These projects enable native wildlife to be returned to their natural habitat to live and breed without predation or competition for food.

Takahē Native New Zealand Bird

South Island Takahe native bird of New Zealand

List of New Zealand Wildlife Parks

Listed roughly from north to south...

North Island

A short distance from Auckland to the north is Tawharanui Open Sanctuary Society Inc.(TOSSI), a community based project. TOSSI was started in 2002 working with Auckland Council to create a sanctuary with a predator-proof fence to protect New Zealand native birds and animals from human introduced predators. The Tawharanui Peninsula was fenced acrosswith 2.5 km of predator proof fencing to create the refuge for native wildlife that cannot defend themselves against predators such as rats, stoats, dogs and cats etc. The native species now at home in the sanctuary include kiwi, takahe, kaka,, pateke, kakariki, robins, bellbirds, whiteheads, saddleback and seabirds. Among the projects TOSSI continues with are restoration of forest and wetlands, monitoring of native wildlife in the sanctuary, controlling pests, developing walking tracks and re-introducing more species that are under threat in New Zealand.

SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's, in Auckland Central, provides the opportunity to see the types of marine wildlife that are in the seas around New Zealand along with penguins and turtles.

Not far south from Auckland is a fantastic area of bush and a reserve with a predator proof fence that you can visit. See my page dedicated to the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust reserve for more information.

Heading south on the North Island is Otorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park for NZ birds & reptiles. If you are going anywhere near the Waitomo Caves, this wildlife park is only a short drive from there.

Hamilton Zoo, central North Island, is home to around six hundred native and exotic wildlife in the setting of 25 hectares.

Rotorua - Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park is a favourite place of mine and the unique experience of visiting this park, particularly if you visit at night and join in with a delicious meal as well as seeing the clear spring water of Rainbow Springs… and the Maori Cultural Experience offered by the Mitai family! This was one of the most memorable parts of our visit to Rotorua and I would recommend the whole package if you will be in Rotorua for the night.

Rotorua region - Paradise Valley Springs Wildlife Park includes native bird species and aviaries, an elevated treetop walk, farm animals, deer, pigs, wallabies and sheep, and.... lion feeding!

Pukaha National Wildlife Centre is in a glorious 942 hectares of New Zealand native forest at Mount Bruce nr Masterton, lower North Island. Part of the conservation efforts at this park are the captive breeding programmes focussed on native birds such as Kiwi, Kākā, Pāteke, Whio and others. The only captive white Kiwi lives here! Yes, a white Kiwi.

At the southern end of the North Island, Staglands Wildlife Reserve, located in the stunning location of Akatarawa Valley in Upper Hutt, North Island (Wellington Region) is involved in native bird conservation. Including the, New Zealand Bush Falcon, Blue Duck, Kaka, Kea parrot, and Kune Kune.

Zealandia Te Mara a Tane is an ecosanctuary in Wellington, the first urban wildlife sanctuary that is fully enclosed in fencing around 225 hectares of land. It is totally unique with a clear vision for the next five hundred years to restore ecosystems in Wellington to the way they were before human interference. More than twenty native species have already been reintroduced into the sanctuary.

Matiu/Somes Island in Wellington Harbour is a haven for wildlife as it is also predator free. A ferry from Queens Wharf crosses the harbour several times a day and does a drop of and pick up service to the Island.

South Island

EcoWorld Aquarium and Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre has over 150 species and is on Picton Wharf, right where you get on or off the ferry on the South Island.

The Lochmara Lodge Marlborough Sounds Wildlife Recovery Centre staff are dedicated and passionate about ensuring the unique flora and fauna of these islands exists for future generations to enjoy. The centre includes and abundance of native bird life, educational signs for information about plants, animals, and conservation projects.

The National Kiwi Centre in Hokitika town centre, on the West Coast of the South Island, has Kiwi birds and other native New Zealand animals.

Just 15 minutes by road from Christchurch you can find Orana Wildlife Park set in 80 acres. This is more like a zoo and in fact is an open range zoo, the only one in New Zealand. A variety of conservation work and breeding programmes are supported at Orana, both native and exotic species.

Christchurch also has Willowbank Wildlife Reserve where you are guaranteed to see the native Kiwi birds. Willowbank is part of Operation Nest Egg and has successfully incubated 4 species of Kiwi eggs, Ōkarito Rowi Kiwi, Haast Tokoeka Kiwi, Great Spotted Kiwi and North Island Brown Kiwi. They have the record of incubating 100 eggs in one season, and to date (2019) more than 600 Kiwi have been released into the wild. There are plenty of other birds and animals here too, native wildlife, farmyard animals, and some exotic species.

Kiwi Birdlife Park is a family-owned wildlife sanctuary based in Queenstown with a passion for conservation. This five acre park has over twenty species of native birds and reptiles that include the Tuatara and Kiwi.

New Zealand Birds and New Zealand Animals