Paradise Valley Springs is a privately owned and operated wildlife park in Rotorua, New Zealand. We had heard great things about their African Lion pride and an opportunity to pet a baby cub. Upon arrival we realized there is a lot more to this park than we expected!
African Lion Pride
The main exhibit features the African Lions which roam around a large fenced area. The spectators can walk all around the enclosure and the sturdy fence structure allows for standing near these magnificent animals. The lions protecting their pride may follow you around the cage keeping a lookout.
The highlight of the exhibit comes during their 2:30 pm keeper talk and feeding. The staff chuck meat over the fence and into the cage. The lions are alert during the feeding and often fight over who gets the food first. There were several roars during this time period as they work it out among themselves. We watched the entire presentation from a platform at the back of the enclosure.
The original lions were retired circus animals that started this successful breeding program. We visited the wrong time of the year to pat a cub unfortunately but enjoyed spending time with these beautiful animals.
The lion exhibit was not the only reason to stop by Paradise Springs. There were a slew of other animals and birds spread around the wildlife park to see, pet and feed. The admissions office sold cups of food and the signage directed you to which animals were safe to feed. There were plenty of farm animals at the park that were gentle enough for even my youngest to get near. There were a few antsy ones too that nearly climbed over the fence when they saw us coming.
Trout and Eels
Paradise Springs originally started as a trout sanctuary and later grew into the ever-expanding wildlife park it is today. There are ample opportunities to feed trout along the Ngongotaha Stream producing around 20,000 new spawn each year. The trout are completely wild and move about as they wish feeding into Lake Rotorua and Lake Rotoiti.
There are heaps of large eels living in the waters around the park. These are not may favorite to look at but the girls seem to enjoy feeding them.
New Zealand’s birds are some of the most unusual birds I have ever seen. The Kea shown below is known to be one of the most intelligent in the world. The colorful Kakariki (or green) bird and many other wild native birds can be seen along the trail. If you want to see the famous Kiwi bird, you may want to also visit Rainbow Springs in Rotorua.
Scenery and Fresh Springs
The owners make a point to not upset the natural environment around the park. The allow the New Zealand wildlife to thrive by promoting their natural habitats. The boardwalk through the natural forest offers a nice look at some of New Zealand’s native plants and trees.
The Re Waireka Spring ( translated to sweet water) is proven safe enough to drink from and they even encourage guests to dip a cup in for a sample. There water is so clean that a small bottling company opened on the land to bottle up the water. You can even purchase bottled water in the gift shop on the way out!
Paradise Springs definitely surpassed our expectations!