Two of the tallest animals at Auckland Zoo have left home on the first and only big OE.

Young giraffes Forrest, 12 months, and his half sister Ntombi, 16 months, were loaded into separate 4.2 metre high cages at the zoo today and onto trucks to be taken to the ship which will be their home for the next seven days.

The giraffes, both born at Auckland Zoo, were heading to Australia to be part of an Australasian breeding programme.

They were due to be loaded onto the ship ANL Yarrunga in Auckland early Friday morning before it sailed to Tauranga to take on more cargo and sail to Sydney.

On Thursday as they were loaded onto two trucks the slightly anxious animals peered out their open crates, often turning their heads around the side of the crates to see what was going on during the short trip to the Ports of Auckland.

The two trucks were followed by a zoo ute loaded with food. The ship’s cargo also included 100kg of hay, 25kg of animal pellets 60kg of vegetables and “enrichment devices” to keep the young, 500kg animals occupied during their seven-day voyage to Sydney.

They were expected to stay in their crates throughout the voyage. Zoo staff said although there was room in the crates for the animals to lie down, they would sleep standing up, as all giraffes did.

The giraffes would be taken to Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, central New South Wales and spend a month in quarantine.

Ntombi would stay in Taronga Western Plains Zoo and Forrest would become the first giraffe to live at Australia Zoo in Brisbane.

The zoo said both animals grew up together and enjoyed each other’s company and would support each other during the voyage.