Love New Zealand

12 Awesome Animal Encounters in Auckland

Yellow eyed penguin
Martyn de Jong on Unsplash

New Zealand is full of fascinating animals. We’re talking about rare creatures that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. In particular, Auckland is home to a myriad of amazing creatures.

Exotic birds fly through Auckland’s skies. Unique sea creatures swim through the ocean. This city is an animal lover’s dream come true. Here are 12 awesome animal encounters in Auckland you have to experience.

Use a luggage storage service to stash your bags before heading out on your animal-seeking adventure

Ambury Park

We’re willing to wager that most of you readers are city folks. You’ve probably lived in a suburb or a major metropolitan area for most, if not all, of your lives. If that’s the case, the closest you’ve likely been to a cow is the carton of milk in your refrigerator.

That’s why Ambury Park is so great. This venue lets Aucklanders get up close and personal with farm animals. Sheep, goats, and of course, cows all call this place home.

Butterfly Creek

On the other end of the animal kingdom, we have Butterfly Creek. This location is one part public park, one part zoo, and all parts fun. There’s something for guests of all ages, and there’s always a special event taking place.

The animals here run the gamut between bugs, fish, monkeys, and crocodiles. Naturally, there’s a butterfly house that features creatures like the Owl Butterfly and the African Monarch.

Fur Seal

Seals are one of the most instantly lovable members of the animal kingdom. The way they waddle around on land is nothing short of endearing and these guys are naturally curious about humans.

Plenty of online videos that feature seals interacting with humans have gone viral over the years. A trip to Auckland also means that you might encounter a New Zealand Fur Seal. These creatures can stay submerged for more than 10 minutes at a time! They also love fish, so bring plenty of chum with you.

Hector’s Dolphin

Dolphins are smart. Like, 1000 IQ smart – to the point where it’s almost scary. Researchers have observed dolphins perform all sorts of incredible feats over the decades. These creatures also form complex social groups, just like us humans.

Hector’s Dolphin is one of the rarest species of dolphin on Earth. They tend to be incredibly elusive, giving seasoned professionals a run for their money. Hector’s Dolphins can sometimes be found near the South Islands of New Zealand.

Hihi

We’ve talked about farm animals and aquatic creatures so far. It’s time to give the birds some love. Specifically, Hihis - also known as Stitchbirds. These creatures are staples of Auckland and some of the only birds who mate facing one another.

Their name doesn’t come from their romantic mating habits. It also doesn’t come from their ability to stitch wounds back together or anything like that. Rather, stitchbirds possess a very unique “stitch” sounding bird call.

Kea

Parrots are among some of the smartest birds in the animal kingdom. This species has learned to mimic human speech, solve complex puzzles, and adapt to living in urban environments.

But the Kea is special among parrots; it’s the only parrot in the entire world that lives in mountainous areas. Keas can be found at the Auckland Zoo, where they’re known to fraternize with human visitors.

Kiwi
Image by SmartphoneCreations2021 from Pixabay

Kiwi

For many years, New Zealand’s native inhabitants have called themselves Kiwis. You might think that this name comes from the kiwi fruit. In reality, it was inspired by this truly remarkable flightless bird.

The Kiwi bird is genuinely a national treasure in New Zealand. These feathered friends are extremely curious and incredibly friendly. Unfortunately, their species is endangered as of this writing. We hope that preservation efforts will help these lovable birds bounce back.

Maui Dolphin

Hector’s Dolphins are a rare breed, but there’s a species of dolphin that’s even more elusive than they are. We’re talking about none other than the Maui Dolphina subspecies of Hector’s Dolphins.

Their name comes from New Zealand’s North Island, where the bulk of these creatures can be found. There’s so much that we’re still learning about these intelligent creatures. Actually seeing one in person would be a once in a lifetime affair.

Otago Skink

Skinks are a family of lizards who are characterized by their broad bodies and short limbs. Like most reptiles, skinks are often misunderstood and poached for their hides.

The Otago Skink is native to Auckland, New Zealand. However, it’s another creature that’s now considered an endangered species. Otago Skinks can live for up to 40 years in captivity, which is why you’ll find so many of them at the Auckland Zoo.

Takahe

Kiwis aren’t the only famous flightless birds in New Zealand. In fact, the South Island Takahe is one of the first animals that European settlers encountered in the mid-1800s. Back then, they only found four birds and considered the species to be extinct.

In 1948, Dr. Geoffrey Orbell discovered a lost community of Takahes in the Murchison Mountains. Since then, measures have been taken to revitalize the Takahe population.

Tuatara

Long ago, dinosaurs roamed the Earth. These “terrible lizards” are often exclusively thought of as enormous man-eating monsters (likely thanks to pop culture). But what if we told you that there was a species of dinosaur that lives in Auckland to this day?

The Tuatara is that species, essentially. These creatures are members of an incredibly old family of reptiles. They’re considered to be living fossils and are instantly recognizable thanks to the spikes on their backs.

Yellow-Eyed Penguin

Penguins are some of the cutest animals in the world, as well as some of the most social. They tend to form enormous colonies and migrate together by the millions. Not Yellow-Eyed Penguins – these creatures love their privacy.

As their name suggests, these penguins possess striking yellow eyes. The Maori call these birds Hoiho, which means “noise shouter”. These are indeed some of the rarest birds in the world.

Sources
https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/parks-recreation/get-outdoors/outdoor-activities/Pages/viewing-farm-animals.aspx
https://whalewatchingauckland.com/blog/10-facts-you-didnt-know-about-new-zealand-fur-seals/
https://www.aucklandzoo.co.nz/animals/kea
https://theconversation.com/not-a-lizard-nor-a-dinosaur-tuatara-is-the-sole-survivor-of-a-once-widespread-reptile-group-75921