South East Asia is one of the most species-rich and threatened places on earth with huge conservation issues and challenges. It is a region close to our hearts that has long been a strong focus for the Zoo and one that we are very active in supporting, as our South East Asia project reflects.

This is part of Auckland Zoo’s 10-year Future Zoo development and Auckland Council’s long-term plan, the 2-year construction is well underway. South East Asia will be an expansive new home for our orangutans, siamang gibbons, tigers, and otters. In addition, a large transparent climate-controlled dome, reflective of an Indonesian swamp forest, will be home to new species including false gharial crocodiles and a diversity of freshwater reptiles and fish.

As the forested backdrop and surrounding planting come into view, we're starting to get a strong sense of the immersive landscape that the South East Asia precinct will become

Auckland Zoo Director, Kevin Buley.

As part of our Future Zoo transformation, we are also creating a new restaurant/function venue that will overlook our central lake and new wetlands area. With great hospitality and beautiful interiors, this space promises to deliver a true Zoo dining/event experience with orangutans and gibbons ranging and exploring from above via special climbing structures in their rainforest home.

South East Asia will be a must-see experience, that Auckland Zoo is proud to be building for its animals, staff and visitors.


Journey around our Future Zoo!

Captured by drone this birds-eye-view lets you journey around our burgeoning South East Asia habitat.

Zoo News


South East Asia is due to be fully completed towards the end of the first half of 2020. There are four major areas within this, our biggest ever project, that are being created in stages. These include our siamang/orangutan habitat, our tiger and otter habitats, our Indonesian swamp forest (a magnificent climate-controlled tropical dome featuring crocodiles, other reptiles and fish), and a new café/function centre overlooking the Zoo’s central lake. It’s not possible to give dates at present, but we will be letting everyone know when these different areas will be opening.

Just two of our existing species can’t be seen currently. These are our orangutans, which have been relocated to Orana Wildlife Park where our primate keepers are looking after them while their new home is being created, and Madagascan ring-tailed lemurs. Our lemurs, currently being cared for in one of our behind-the-scenes facilities, are destined to be relocated to another zoo in the Australasian region. Long-term, we will welcome lemurs again, but this may be some years away. 

We are currently working on the fabulous new habitat for our Sumatran tigers and nearby new café. Just while we undertake some required works here, viewing into our current tiger habitat where our tiger Berani lives, is temporarily closed. However, these works will be completed by early April, so check back here soon for when you can next visit Berani.

Areas of construction have hoardings or fencing surrounding them, and our updated map clearly shows which areas these are and what pathways are accessible to you. Our fabulous volunteers, the friendly folk in red, are also out in force to help you.

It is worth noting that a significant part of the new South East Asia footprint incorporates areas that have not previously been home to animals and/or animal habitats.  In creating our future zoo, we’re maximising the beautiful green spaces we have. Our lake is being enlarged to create a bigger wetlands area, we’re creating larger and more enriching homes for our animals, and improving pathways for you, our visitors, to create even more immersive experiences.

Yes! We are excited to share that in addition to orangutans, siamang gibbons, tigers and otters, our new South East Asia area will be home to the stunning Asian crocodile species, the Sunda gharial, a rich diversity of fish species including Asian arowana and other reptiles. Potentially we may welcome some other new species as well. We will keep you posted!

Yes. As part of zoos’ international breeding programme for these Critically Endangered big cats, we will be welcoming more Sumatran tigers, who will have a home in our expansive new tiger habitat. A date for more tiger(s) arriving is yet to be confirmed.

It’s not possible to give an exact date, but our orangutans will be back at Auckland Zoo by early 2020.

Yes, as part of a zoos’ international breeding programme for these endangered primates, we will welcome more orangutans in the future. Dates for more orangutans arriving are yet to be confirmed.

No! Despite this build, there are now more animals to see and experience when you visit. Why and how? We’ve introduced new bird species in our Australia precinct, now have iguana on display, have welcomed the African antelope species, nyala, as well as African crested porcupines and Emperor tamarins. In addition, be sure to visit our Vet Hospital just along from our red panda habitat. Here in the public viewing gallery you can view into the hospital’s treatment room and operating theatre, and may see staff treating Zoo animals or injured animals from the wild

More animal encounters: Our dedicated Animal Experiences team of keepers are also out and about in the Zoo each day to surprise and delight you with many more impromptu encounters. These involve are additional to our advertised schedule of keeper talks/encounters. You’ll encounter our keepers in public areas with everything from birds, reptiles and bugs to our much-loved kunekune pigs. 

Yes.  We are building a stunning new café that will also be available as a function venue at times. Over 1000 m2, and elevated, it will look out over our central lake area, where via a network of climbing structures, our orangutans and siamang gibbons will have an extended climbing range. From the café’s deck, you may see them as you enjoy lunch or a light snack! 

Along with new toilet facilities in this new café, there will be additional new toilet facilities adjoining the new South East Asia area.

Yes, we have reduced our admission prices, as we appreciate that our visitors’ zoo experience can potentially be impacted. Same day/walk-up adult prices have reduced from $28.50 to $24.Children (4-14 years) are $13 and under 4s remain free. Booking in advance online offers further substantial savings.


Our weekly series filling you in on the exciting changes happening at our zoo!