Hamilon ZooWebsite



183 Brymer Road
Hamilton 3289
New Zealand

Number of animals

The zoo houses over 600 animals which represent more than 90 species.


Meet the keeper talks
A range of talks are held each day at the zoo. Check the website for which ones are on when you plan to visit.

Children’s Playground
At the top of the zoo is a playground where kids can let off a bit of steam.

The Size of the zoo

The zoo is situated on 25ha’s (61.8 acres) of land


In 1969 Mr and Mrs Powell founded the Hillside game farm where birds were raised for the acclimatisation society. Alongside of this they assembled a small collection of exotic birds and mammals which people could view.

The 1960s and 70s had seen the creation of a large number of zoos in Western countries. Hillside was part of this renaissance but after a few years it was struggling to survive. Many of these zoos went under at this time but Hamilton Zoo was lucky with council stepping in during 1976 to save the zoo. They brought the 14 hectare site, the animals and the buildings. They then appointed a trust to run the zoo.

Up until 1984 the council ran the zoo but in this year they looked at closing it. A large public petition sought to stop this from happening. The council decided to keep Hillside open and its management was transferred to the Department of Recreation and Welfare.

Officials decided the zoo needed a clear direction and work began on a concept plan. Its first improvement was adding the zoo education centre in 1987. Zoo facilities were upgraded with new exhibits, paved paths, boardwalks and large amounts of plants added.

So that the zoo could be better lead a zoo director was appointed in 1989.

During 2001 the tiger habitat was completed.

In 2004 the zoo welcomed six chimpanzees from Auckland Zoo to live in the newly finished chimp enclosure.

Main Exhibits

Sahara Paddock
A mixed species enclosure where waterbuck, giraffe, ostrich and guineafowl roam together.

Free flight sanctuary
One of the Southern hemispheres largest walk in aviaries. Visitors can enter the enclosure to see the birds.

Chimpanzee habitat
Built in 2004 this habitat is home to a group of chimpanzees that moved from Auckland Zoo along with a female from Adelaide Zoo.

Parrot Court
Home to a number of birds from Australia, India and South America.

A home for the zoos lemurs, capuchins, tamarins and agoutis.