Darwin’s Cafe, Auckland Zoo

Insert your own cheap evolution gags here.

Our last full day in New Zealand. We have heard the magnificent Morepork hooting at us in the night. We have met other native species and enjoyed their antics.

But we have not seen an elusive Kiwi, the emblem of these distant isles of the Empire. So our final day saw us on a bus to Auckland Zoo, just outside the city centre. There are 138 different species on display, including 42 natives such as the Tui, Kaka and Kea. This is the Antipodes Island parakeet.

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Anyway, enough of the wildlife, let’s have a quick few words on the cafe. Mass market catering is hard to get right, particularly at a venue like this. But they are doing a pretty good job, with a range of hot and cold food, sandwiches, pizzas, salads, tea, coffee and cakes. Plenty of stuff here for the kids, but some more sophisiticated stuff for the adults (if you’re in the mood for that).

I had some pizza and chips (can’t resist even though it’s not exactly an authentic combination), which was very nice as the sun started to peek through the clouds. We were sat outside next to plenty of “do not feed the birds” signs, watching American tourists feed the birds. As with most zoo cafes, there’s plenty of wildlife on the lookout for scraps, entertaining for customers but a pain for the staff.

A nice little lunch stop on a lovely day out at the zoo. An oasis of wildlife in a city where a third of the entire population of New Zealand make their home. And yes, we saw the Kiwi, probing around in a darkened enclosure. They are far more active than you might expect, busy little birds. The Bellbird, Tui, Kea and Little Blue Penguins were also very entertaining.

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