If you are visiting the Nelson area with a rental car hire, you must make time to visit the Natureland Wildlife Zoo.
Natureland is a zoo and centre for wildlife conservation that allows guests to get up close and personal with some of New Zealand’s native creatures such as the kea and tuatara. There are monkeys to view, animals to pet, and even an aquarium and bird aviaries to explore and observe.
It does not matter when you are visiting the Nelson area; the Natureland Wildlife Zoo is open every day except Christmas Day. The zoo is set up in a way to enhance the visitor experience, and paths throughout the zoo show visitors where to go and which animals to visit next.
Guests are advised to follow the paths in a clockwise direction and take their time to get the most out of the zoo experience. There are picnic areas, toilets, and food and drink are both available in the gift shop, which is a must see before you leave.
The gift shop features a number of zoo-related items, as well as food and drink, which is available for purchase. It is near the entrance to the zoo, so you can stop in as you are coming in for a day of fun, or right before you leave.
If following the recommended path of the zoo, you will first encounter the aquarium, which is always good for a visit, especially if you love the beauty of the sea. As you continue through the zoo, you will encounter the aviaries, picnic areas and after seeing creatures such as meerkats, you will also have another opportunity to picnic, watch the ducks and geese, and then interact with the domestic animals.
There are native, exotic and domestic creatures a’plenty at the Natureland Wildlife Zoo in Nelson.
The native animals at the zoo come from both the air and the earth and include the kereru, the New Zealand scaup, green gecko and tui.
There are many exotic animals at the zoo, too, and these animals come from around the world. Some of the exotic animals you will find at the zoo include the Australian king parrot, Nepalese yak, pygmy marmoset, Indian peafowl and porcupine.
The domestic animals at the zoo are one of the highlights, and you and your family can interact with these animals and have a hands-on experience that you will not soon forget. Some of the domestic animals you will meet at the Natureland Wildlife Zoo include the llamas, pigs, goats, sheep and guinea fowl.
Another reason you will love a visit to the Natureland Wildlife Zoo is the Keeper Talks and various interactive activities.
Twice a week, for example, visitors can work with the keepers to build enrichment items for the capuchin monkeys that reside at the zoo. Not only will you be able to take part in the fun of this activity, but you will also get to learn a bit about these adorable primates.
Another interactive option at the zoo is the Kea Enrichment Creation and Conservation Chat. The kea is a native bird of New Zealand and known to many as the smartest birds in the whole of the world. A Natureland Wildlife zookeeper will speak about kea behaviour, and you will have the opportunity to make kea enrichment items on your own.
Every day, the Natureland Wildlife Zoo also has a conservation talk for visitors to the zoo. This discussion takes place in the native aviary, and keepers will explain how the zoo plays a role in conserving native New Zealand wildlife such as the kereru, tui and kakariki. The zoo is passionate about its conservation efforts.
You might also be interested in hearing about pygmy marmosets and agouti conservation. This talk takes place four days a week. During the conversation, you will meet some of the zoos exotic pygmy marmosets and agoutis, and you will learn how these creatures co-exist in the jungles of South America. The zoo takes a very active role in educating the public about the dangers of keeping these animals as pets, and you will learn how you can help to challenge the pet trade.
The daily Tuatara Talk is also a fun event at the Natureland Wildlife Zoo, and you can see them up close whilst listening to the keepers talk about what makes these rare reptiles so unique. There are some months out of the year where the tuatara hibernate, but even when this occurs, the keepers are still available to talk about these reptiles that date back to the time of the dinosaurs.
There is also an opportunity for you to hear about the adorable meerkat and spiny African crested porcupine. This is a daily chat that that will teach you all about the porcupine, and why they are so special. You will also learn about the meerkats at the zoo, and how they have adapted to their homes in the desert.
You may also have the opportunity to experience an impromptu animal encounter at the zoo. There are always new and fun interactive activities going on, too. Imagine feeling a baby llama or lamb, talking to the birds in the aviary or even cuddling up with the soft, fluffy rabbits. You may also find the keepers around and about the zoo with animals that are ready to meet you and your family.
When in the Nelson area with the family, a visit to the Natureland Wildlife Zoo is something that you must have on your itinerary. This is a small zoo, but the staff is passionate and welcome guests to interact with and learn about the animals that live here. The zoo is just a short drive away from the centre of Nelson with your rental car, and even if you are not from the local area, it is very easy to find. You can spend several hours at the zoo, and you are sure to have a fantastic time during your visit.
Need transportation to make the most of the area? View our full range of affordable Nelson rental cars and explore the best of Nelson at your own pace.
Check out our blog for more New Zealand travel and holiday advice.