Orana Wildlife Park
We love visiting Orana Wildlife Park so much we have annual passes! 80 hectares of wildlife just 15 minutes from Christchurch airport. Home to New Zealand’s only gorilla group. Enjoy an adventure in the lion cage or simply hand feed a giraffe. There is always so much to do and see at Orana that you will need to come back again and again!
On entering the park you get a map with that days animal feeding times on. We always go early in the day and choose to do as many of the animal viewings as we can. Always good fun and interesting to meet the keepers and see the animals up close. The highlight is the giraffe feeding though because you get to do the feeding. Our children love it, even the youngest at 2 years old is keen to hold the branches for the giraffes to strip the leaves off – you have to hold on tight (to the children too!)
There are concrete paths all around the park so easy to take a stroller for young children and babies who may get tired with all the walking between exhibits. You can jump on the zebra painted transport which stops at designated shelters around the park.
Forgot your stroller? The park have ones you can hire and free wheelchairs – both subject to availability.
A great experience you can pay extra for is the lion encounter. You are driven in to the lion enclosure in a cage on the back of a truck. The lions are fed from the cage and think nothing of jumping up on top so you can get a really good look at their enormous paws, claws and teeth! Not for the faint of heart nor children younger than 15 unless accompanied by an adult. We haven’t done this yet as you need to be over 1.4m tall and our 2 and 5 year olds have some growing to do yet! I have to admit it is scary enough just watching! There is one tour a day at 2.30pm and the cost is $45 extra to your admission fee for the park. They only have room for 20 visitors.
As well as exotic species from around the world Orana Wildlife Park has a number of local wildlife including the fun Kea (world’s only mountain parrot) and many other birds including tui, bellbird (korimako), wood pigeon (kereru), blue duck (whio), red-crowned parakeet and yellow-crowned parakeet (kākāriki) and Brown teal (pateke) in the walkthrough aviaries. The iconic and sadly endangered Kiwi are nocturnal but you can walk through their darkened habitat during the day and view them. Just remember to be quiet though so you do not disturb them.
Strictly No flash photography allowed in the Kiwi house!
With over 400 animals (70 different species) there are plenty more animals to discover including tigers, lemurs, cheetahs, rhinos, meerkats, otters, reptiles and more.
We have considered the ‘Adopt-an-Animal’ sponsorship scheme as a family but we have not yet decided on just one favourite animal!
Last time we visited was for our son’s 7th birthday and he chose to have his photo taken in front of his favourite the rhinoceros.
Orana have a very successful cheetah breeding program. One of their enclosures includes a huge area where they can run at full speed which is great for their health and wellbeing.
Tiger feeding is always a good one to watch. Often it can be hard to spot the tigers unless they come out for their fresh meat. You can view from high platforms or across from the water where the fence is lower but electrified – can sometimes get a good photo. The tiger we watched last time paced back and forth waiting expectantly for the keeper to throw his treat across the water. Impressive creatures and just a little bit scary.
There is an on-site cafe with a good range of savoury and sweet snacks. They did have a couple of gluten free options including the hot chips. The park has two picnic areas with barbecues that are free to use. Many families use these areas for birthday parties or family get togethers.
Well stocked with hats, t-shirts, soft toys, games, puzzles, stationery, jewellery, dress up outfits and lots more – all wildlife themed. The shop can be accessed without entering the park.
Park is open from 10am to 5pm daily (except Christmas Day).
- Under 5’s are FREE
- Children 5 to 14 years old $9.50
- Senior/Concession $29.50
- Adult $34.50
- Family $78.50 (2 adults + up to 3 children)
Annual membership passes are available:
- Adults $69
- Child $19
- Family $157
A minimum of three visits per year makes the annual pass worthwhile as that third visit and each visit thereafter is FREE!
Orana Wildlife Park offers a range of educational experiences for school aged children with discounted entry and qualified teachers.
The park is a 15 minute drive from Christchurch airport with plenty of parking for cars, campervans and coaches. There is no public transport but there is a shuttle that can be arranged (fees apply).
793 McLeans Island Road approximately 9km from the State Highway 1 turn-off – see map below
For more information please visit Orana Wildlife Park website.
*photos are mine but maps were taken from the official website. All photos link through to the Orana Wildlife Park website.