The wildlife park opened in 1976 and is owned and operated by the Orana Wildlife Trust, a registered charity.
Covering more than 80 hectares, the park has more than 400 animals, including New Zealand's only gorillas. It's a fantastic place to take the whole family. There's plenty of picnic areas, there's a brand new adventure playground and families are encouraged to bring their own food and snacks.
The open range zoo is large - very large - so wear good walking shoes as you will cover a lot of ground during your visit. There is a safari shuttle bus for those with little or tired legs. The bus is continually on the move and picks up and drops off passengers at all the major attraction spots.
Available for hire at a reasonable cost are child buggies. Wheelchairs are also available and they are free to hire. There is a limited supply, so it's a first in/best-dressed scenario.
The exhibits are open - it's great to see the lack of cages and cramped pens. The enclosures do their very best to replicate the animal's natural habitat and of course, it's better for viewing and taking photos - no wires or bars in the way.
The most memorable part of your visit to Orana will undoubtedly be an animal close encounter. Be sure to get involved in one or more. The giraffe feeding is free and is most definitely a highlight and must do activity!
There are twelve daily animal presentations at Orana Wildlife Park. To get the most of out your visit, it's a good idea to try and follow the feeding times schedule.
Popular also is the lion feeding. The lions are fed from the safety of a truck mounted cage which drives through the lion reserve. The lions sometimes jump on top of the cage, which would be an unreal and unforgettable experience.
The Orana Wildlife Park is approximately 15 minutes drive north-west of Christchurch International Airport. There is a shuttle bus for those who don't have transport (cost is additional to the park entry fees).