Auckland Zoo's new enclosure: Orangutans 25m up in the sky

Auckland Zoo's Orangutans have been basking in the sunshine, soaking in the sights and sounds of their new surroundings. 

The aerial pathways make Auckland Zoo's enclosure one of the best in the world - and it's only the first of three big new developments. 

Three inquisitive orangutans are making themselves at home, 25 metres off the ground. 

All eyes were on the sky as excited zoo-goers waited for orangutans to take their first steps along the tightrope.  

"They're so cool," one person told Newshub.

"Once they're up there you see how high it is and they are doing what they would do in the wild."

Primate team leader Amy Robbins has been dreaming of this moment since she first started at the zoo, 20 years ago. 

"Just having people able to see them finally after all these years is just the most amazing experience," she said.

"I'm feeling very proud and very overwhelmed and just like 'ahh we're done'."

Nine metal tree trunks are connected by more than two kilometres of vine-like ropes that stretch out beyond the enclosure and right over the footpaths.

"This is how orangutans should be up above the ground, up above people, it gives them the respect and dignity they deserve," Robbins said.

Not only is the new enclosure an amazing experience for zoo-goers, it's hugely beneficial for the orangutans. 

The 25-metre structures emulate the environment these primates would have in the jungles of Borneo, Sumatra and Malaysia. And early next year they will be joined by their friends, the siamangs. 

This $60 million South East Asia Jungle development is the most ambitious project in the zoo's history, with two new enclosures to follow the high-ropes canopy.

"This time next year we will be opening up the new habitat for tigers, for otters, and perhaps most excitingly the new tropical dome which will have freshwater crocodiles in there," Auckland Zoo director Kevin Buley said.

And you can be sure these orangutans will be living the high life... hanging out to meet their new neighbours.