Hamil­ton Zoo

The Insider's Guide to New Zealand - - NORTH ISLAND -

Hamil­ton Zoo’s vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence man­ager Dave Smart is very charitable to­wards other zoos. “Auck­land is freak­ing awe­some,” he says, and then adds, “but Hamil­ton… well, it’s some­thing very spe­cial.” While Auck­land has had to cre­ate en­clo­sures in a con­crete jun­gle, Hamil­ton has had the ben­e­fit of us­ing a nat­u­ral land­scape. The 600 na­tive and ex­otic an­i­mals that live in the 25-hectare park can graze, stalk, creep, sleep and lol­lop over nat­u­ral hills and val­leys. Hu­mans can track them along bush-lined paths or from dis­creet view­ing plat­forms. For a small ad­di­tional fee, you can get up close enough to scratch a rhino’s thick hide. Or you can sleep over in a nearby as­tro­nom­i­cal ob­ser­va­tory and hear the tigers’ pil­low talk, fol­lowed by break­fast at the zoo. In fu­ture you may also be able to go glamp­ing. Dave, who de­scribes him­self as a “keeper of the hu­manoids”, says 120,000 vis­i­tors come each year. They all have their favourite species. “The meerkats and chimps love per­form­ing; the big cats like ly­ing about and the rhi­nos just plod.” This is the only zoo in New Zealand where you will see the Brazil­ian tapir whose ugly but re­li­able pro­boscis has not changed over mil­lions of years.

That alone is worth the en­try fee. 183 Brymer Road,

(07) 838 6720, hamil­ton­zoo.co.nz

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.