Christchurch is home to a range of wildlife from all around New Zealand and the rest of world! From native icons to exotic beasts, Christchurch has it all. An awesome experience for the whole family, here are some of the best places to meet our furry and feathered residents.
Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
If you’re wanting to see kiwis in Christchurch, make sure to check out Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. The specialised Nocturnal House has no glass, so you can get closer to New Zealand’s national icon than you ever thought possible. They are also part of the Operation Nest Egg breeding program, hatching up to 100 kiwi eggs every year. Willowbank has plenty of other special New Zealand natives as well, such as the cheeky kea and the ancient tuatara. Willowbank is a great place to take the kids too, as they can hand feed the animals, or even go for a donkey ride!
At Orana Park, you’ll find animals from all over the world including Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Some of the park’s most famous residents are New Zealand’s only gorillas, found in the impressive Great Ape Centre. Weighing up to 190kg, don’t miss out on seeing these majestic primates! Orana Park has also housed a trio of critically endangered orang-utans since 2017, which are also the only ones in New Zealand. Other must-do activities at the park include the lion encounter, hand-feeding a giraffe, meeting the rare kiwi bird, or eyeballing the magnificent white rhino! Orana Park is also renowned for its involvement in native & exotic breeding programmes, so you are supporting conservation work simply by visiting.
If you’re looking for a free option to experience nature & wildlife, check out Travis Wetland Nature Heritage Park. The leisurely walkway is suitable for all ages, taking about an hour to complete the circuit. Currently the only large freshwater wetland in Christchurch, Travis Wetland is extremely important to the local bird life, and supports around half the Christchurch pukeko population. The park is home to 55 different species of birds, including 35 that are native to New Zealand.
North South Holiday Park is located just 5 minutes from Willowbank Wildlife Reserve and 10 minutes from Orana Park, as well as 5 minutes from Christchurch Airport. With excellent facilities and a serene setting, it is the perfect base for families or travellers. Check out our range of Christchurch accommodation options.
If you’re looking for recommendations for activities during your time in Christchurch, please give us a call, email or let us know when you arrive. We can help you book activities and give you the best advice for your holiday.