Project summary

What we’re doing

The new entry precinct on Brymer Road in north Hamilton will connect the two sites and provide facilities for visitors to either destination and the local community.

Hamilton Zoo is a well-loved community asset and plays an important role in connecting people with nature and conservation activities, and providing fun experiences that inform and educate visitors. Hosting more than 600 exotic and native species, the Zoo participates in breeding programmes for endangered animals, and ongoing conservation and research projects.

Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park is a unique ecological restoration project situated in a largely urban setting, with the long-term aim of reconstructing the forest, wetland, and lake ecosystems present in pre-European times.

The project will deliver:

  • a new entry building for Hamilton Zoo
  • connections between the two destinations
  • a public-facing café and toilets
  • a viewing tower
  • an educational walk
  • safe access for pedestrians and all modes of transport
  • improved bus facilities
  • an upgrade of Brymer Road
  • a new education and function centre.

The welfare of our animal whaanau is always our top priority. We will work closely with contractors through all stages of the project to maintain the wellbeing of our animals and minimise the impacts of construction.

Why we’re doing this

We’re creating a visitor-friendly conservation precinct to connect these two key visitor attractions, and better open up Waiwhakareke. Improved connections between the sites, appealing buildings, interactive spaces, and transport access and safety improvements will make these destinations even more attractive to visitors.

This project will

  • Better link these two related attractions

  • Add value for visitors with new features

  • Improve road safety in the area

Project features

  • Viewing tower

    Providing outlooks over the Zoo, Waiwhakareke and the city.
  • 30kph speed limit

    A reduced speed zone of 30kph between Bagust Road and the Zoo-Waiwhakareke entry precinct will increase safety for all visitors.
  • Bus, bike or walk

    Improved bus facilities and new pedestrian and bike facilities will make getting there easier.

Programme blueprint

Council is connecting two of our key attractions, increasing visitor appeal.

Hamilton Zoo Waiwhakareke Overlay

Take a virtual walk-through in this artist's impression

Shared entry precinct overlay

Where we're at with progress

  • Stage 1 - Completed


    Stages 1a and 1b include a new entry building for Hamilton Zoo, connections between the Zoo and Waiwhakareke, a public-facing café, and toilets. 
  • Stage 2 - Underway


    Stage 2 will deliver safe access for pedestrians and all modes of transport, improved bus facilities and an upgraded Baverstock Road to just north of the Zoo.
  • Stage 3 - Planning


    Stage 3 will develop a new education and function centre. The timing of stage 3 will be set through our long-term planning process.

Frequently asked questions

Why is the work being carried out?

The Hamilton Zoo master plan includes development of a shared entry precinct with Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park to better link these two destinations. The former Zoo entry building was due for renewal, so the decision to begin construction of the shared entry precinct was made. Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park, which opened to the public in November 2019, did not have any facilities, so this project provides shared facilities such as parking, public toilets and access to a café.

Brymer Road is currently a rural road. As it is part of the shared entry precinct, we want to make it safer for all visitors and the community as Hamilton Zoo and Waiwhakareke grow in popularity. Works include pedestrian and bike facilities and a reduced speed zone of 30kph between Bagust Road and the Zoo/Waiwhakareke entry precinct. This project is staged, and the first stage (Baverstock Road to north of the Zoo) started in 2021. Stage 2 is planned for year seven of the 2021-31 Long-Term Plan (2027/28).

How long will it take?

The project to create a shared entry precinct started in February 2021. It is expected to take 18 months to complete the full project. As areas are completed, they will be opened to the public.

Will the work affect the playground?

The Hamilton Zoo playground has been replaced alongside this project and is now open. It features a sensory dome, the first of its kind in New Zealand, which includes different ways for children of all sizes and abilities to play. It promotes physical, social, and cognitive development and stimulates all of the senses.

How will the project affect Zoo operations generally?

We will do all we can to keep disruption to a minimum. Some parts of Brymer Road will be under traffic management at different points of the project. We may need to change the way visitors access the zoo entrance building and bus drop-off, and parking will be relocated during the project.

Will I still be able to drive down Brymer Road during and after the project?

The road may have to be closed at certain points with detours in place and there will be traffic management during the upgrade. Once the work is completed, a permanent 30kph speed limit will be in place within the Zoo boundaries. Motorists who use Brymer Road regularly may want to reconsider their route.


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Last updated 6 July 2022