It is not only a summer playground, but also a living suburb of Auckland. You can find nice beaches, shops, vineyards, restaurants, bars etc. from there. Take a ferry from Auckland and buy either Waikeke Explorer Tour (tour+bus pass) or all day bus pass for moving around.
This place is quite near the International Airport Terminals, even walking distance.
You can see Butterflies and Reptiles, including Salt Water Crocodiles. Most are not New Zealand animals, but it's interesting all the same.
As well as the encounters, there is a very nice cafe.
When I’ve been to Auckland I booked a one day trip with a tour operator that offers trips with a Maori perspective and I got to see the most beautiful places in and around the city. On our way from One Tree Hill to the Waitakere ranges and the beautiful West Coast beaches many of the Maori Pa sites were pointed out to us and we’ve been told stories about each one of them. Now I’ve got a real idea of New Zealand’s background and contemporary Maori Culture, which I think is very important when travelling this country.
This is a must. I was very unsure of this and very nervous but the staff are fantasic. If you tell them you are scared they will looked after you and ensure you are 100% happy.
Before you leave you are given a safety talk and given protective clothing. This is just to protect your clothes and the wether when you get to the top - it is very windy up the top
The trip involes alot of climbing. You are not allowed to wear rings as they may hurt your hands as your climb up the stairs.
The views are amazing. You are not allowed a camera but they do take pictures of you climbing and when you reach the top. Doesn't cost too much to buy the pictures.
YOU MUST DO THIS!!
Pictures to follow
Take a cruise around the harbour. You will get great views of the city, a chance to go underneath the Harbour Bridge, and you will see another perspective on how big the marina really is.
If you go to the NZ National Maritime Museum, you can pay a little extra to get a harbour cruise. You will appreciate the cruise even more after visiting the museum and learning a little about New Zealand's connection with the ocean, with everything fresh in your mind. I was able to take a cruise on a small steamboat just outside the museum, the Eliza Hobson, and enjoyed it very much.
Check the Museum's website for more details.
3 weeks in NZ, rental car or campervan.
[Day 1] Fly in to Auckland (generally most convenient)
Stay one night if necessary, to find your feet. Time in the morning to have a nosy round the city and check out galleries and museums - tomorrow's not a long drive.
[Day 2] Drive south to Waitomo (195km, 3hrs)- the cave formations and glow-worms are pretty cool. There's a B&B on the Waitomo/Main Road corner (Big Bird) that has an ostrich farm, and Ross there used to be a Dept. of Conservation ranger and has a wealth of knowledge about local flora and fauna. He might even take you to a nearby non-commercial glow-worm cave and bush walk!
[Day 3] The next day, I would suggest cutting across to Taupo (170km, 2.5hrs) to see the majesty of Huka Falls (160 cubic metres/sec). Although Taupo will be a convenient place to stop for lunch, and there are many fine cafés, as an overnight stop it doesn't offer anything too exciting. You can only spend so much time looking at the lake! My recommendation is to continue south around the lakeside, and either stick to Highway 1 through the Desert Road (a barren yet beautiful post-volcanic landscape offering views of the Central Plateau mountains), or head off at Turangi to take in the skifield towns of National Park and Ohakune. You get much close to the mountains here, and can drive right up to the skifield areas summer or winter. *In summer and good weather guided crossings of the volcanic area are available though these leave early morning and can account for most of a day.
Either path will take you to the army base town of Waiouru where for the historically inclined there is a splendid military museum that documents the role of the NZ army in past conflicts. Worth a look even for the non-violent types, as it is a fine example of a museum that tells it as it was, without any glorification.
(Taupo-Ohakune-Waiouru 160km, 2.5hrs; Taupo-Waiouru 109km, 1.5hrs)
This night's stay must be the hill-country B&B of Mairenui, just off the main highway at Mangaweka (Waiouru-Mairenui 50km, ¾hr). Mairenui has been running since 1984, and your hosts Sue & David are very well-travelled and delight in making you wish you had more time to stay with them!
[Day 4] In the morning, Sue & David will point you in the direction of Wellington via Feilding (14 times NZ's most beautiful town!) and after scenic back road driving, you reacquire Highway 1 south of Levin, and follow it through to Wellington for your next night.
(Mairenui-Wellington 280km, 4hrs)
While in Wellington, there are some great galleries and museums (especially the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa) but don't stay out too late as you have a ferry to catch in the morning!
[Day 5] Catching an 8.30am ferry to the South Island, you'll arrive in Picton around midday. If you're hiring a car, it should be possible to drop yours off in Wellington and collect a fresh one in Picton, saving on ferry prices.
Head down the east coast - do stop for a bite to eat at the iconic café "The Store" - about as far as Kaikoura (156km, 2¼hrs) and try to catch a glimpse of the Sperm whales and various dolphins through one of several accredited companies.
This will probably account for your day, so grab a bed and dream of whales!
[Day 6] A bit of a drive today, but well worth it (Kaikoura-Westport 330km, 5hrs). Head back inland via Hanmer Springs and the Lewis Pass. Heading through Victoria Forest Park you'll encounter bush-clad gorges and gravelly river valleys. There are a couple of options for reaching the West Coast but once you do, make sure you're within driving distance of Paparoa National Park and Punakaiki, with it's dramatic rock formations.
Make camp at one of of many lovely B&Bs on The Coast.
[Day 7] Pack your kit and your tin pan - there's GOLD in them thar hills! Shantytown, 10km south of Greymouth, is a gold town recreation where you can try your skills to pan for gold. OK, so you'll walk away with a small amount of gold dust that they've spiked your sample with, but there is still gold in the mountain streams. In fact, my cousins used to travel down there every year, and paid for their holiday with the gold they panned!
Next on the agenda is glaciers. Get in there before global warming does! Franz Josef is 280km (4 hrs) south of Westport and Fox Glacier a further 23km. If time, weather and finances allow, take a flight to see the full majesty of these ice rivers, otherwise talk a drive/walk to the foot of one to get an idea of what all the fuss is about.
You'll probably be ready for a bed by now, so either Fox or FJ will offer plenty of accommodation options.
[Day 8] Continuing down the Coast to Haast, take Haast Pass back across the Alps to Wanaka (Franz Josef-Wanaka 235km, 4hrs). although a bit of a tourist town, Wanaka is a good stop with dramatic mountain scenery and ancient glacial lakes.
[Day 9] 230km, 3.5hrs further south is Te Anau, though a midday stop at Queenstown will offer some adrenaline thrills for those so inclined. Others may have already got their thrills from the mountain passes! Stay overnight in Te Anau, and take the 1¾hr drive to Milford sound for the obligatory cruise in the fjord the following day. This return trip and boat ride will take up most of the day, so head back to your Te Anau accommodation and take a well-deserved spa or something.
[Day 10] Head across to the Catlins region via Invercargill and Bluff (just to say you've been to mainland NZ's southermost point!). At isolated Curio Bay, there are beachfront self-contained cabins with local restaurant, café, art gallery and museum only five minutes drive away. Nearby is a 160 million year old fossil forest, and platform viewing of Yellow-eyed penguins.
[Day 11] On the morrow, 230km (3.5hrs) will take you (via Dunedin) to Oamaru, where renowned Oamaru stone graces the town in Victorian architecture. On the way there, don't miss spectacular Nugget Point and its lighthouse!
[Day 12] From Oamaru, move on up to the Garden City, Christchurch . Driving to the top of the Port Hills (actually the rim of a long-extinct volcano that created Lyttleton Harbour) will afford you a view right across the Canterbury Plains to the Southern Alps themselves. Do spend some time in Christchurch before heading out to another ancient crater on Banks Peninsula where you will find the lovely french-styled town of Akaroa where you will spend the night.
(Oamaru-Christchurch 250km, 3.5 hrs, Christchurch-Akaroa 94km, 1.5hrs)
[Day 13 Head back into the city, dump the car, and catch a flight to Wellington. Hire a fresh vehicle and take the east coast of the North Island across the Rimutaka Hill to the Wairarapa district (Wellington-Martinborough 82km, 1¼hrs). Martinborough is slightly off the beaten track, but is the home of Wairarapa's Wine & Food Festival, and the center of the region's wine culture.
[Day 14] carry on up through the farmland regions of Wairarapa, Tararua and Hawkes Bay to Napier, the 'Art Deco capital of the World' The city was virtually destroyed by a massive earthquake in 1931, and rebuilt in the style of the time, making it one of the most complete examples of art deco architecture you could find. Hawkes Bay also specialises in wine, with many of NZ's finest hailing from this area. (287km, 4hrs)
[Day 15] Take time out for a wine tasting tour of Hawkes Bay's vineyards. Leave the car at home - grab a guided tour bus, or get on yer bike and do it the old-fashioned way!
[Day 16] If you're not too hung over after all that 'tasting', cross the mountain range and head to Rotorua (via Taupo), where you can experience the Maori culture with professional, experienced operators. Try to get out of town for the night though, as the geothermal nature of the area tends to make the town a bit whiffy.
[Day 17] You'll probably need another half day in this area, as you've missed out on the natural wonders of Rotorua, such as active geothermal fields. Having seen the geysers etc, travel north-east to Whakatane, and Ohope Beach - you'll probably welcome some quiet time and fresh sea air.
[Day 18] From here, cruise up the around the Bay of Plenty onto the Coromandel Peninsula for a stopover at Whitianga (Whakatane-Whitanga 270km, 4hrs).
[Day 19] Based here, you can have a coastal charterboat trip, visit Cathedral Cove, Hotwater Beach, and other superb spots of coastal beauty.
[Day 20] Driving from Coromandel through Auckland, head north and try to get all the way to Paihia/Russell. It is a long drive, but I'm running out of days! (Whitianga-Paihia 400km, 6hrs)
[Day 21] It's a squeeze, but 5½hrs will take you across to Omapere and down through Waipoua Forest, where you can see NZ's largest tree. If really big trees really aren't your thing, then you can get the whole trip in easily within three weeks without these last two days' long drives!
Update Jan. 2011
I wonder what some marketing experts are thinking... While the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary has got about its fifth name change in three years, the Auckland Superpass has become the Auckland Multipass. This would not be a problem if the links would still work... And it would also be nice if the price rises were moderate and not astronomic. The pass for adults went up from NZ$ 69 (in 2007) to 109 and for children from NZ$ 39 to 55. There must be something more than just inflation and higher fuel prices...
If you plan to visit Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World, the Sky Tower, Rangitoto Island and the theme park Rainbow's End get yourself the Auckland Multipass. You can save a lot of money with it.
Until 31 August 2011 it costs for adults $69, for children $39.
(As two attractions are free for kids under 4y it is cheaper NOT to buy a superpass for children of this age group but separate tickets!)
Without the pass you (adults) pay $33.90 at Kelly Tarlton's, $28 for the Sky Tower, and $26 for the return ticket to Rangitoto Island. The all-day superpass at Rainbow's End (with unlimited rides) costs $47, a spectators pass $17.
The Auckland Multipass includes the all-day superpass at Rainbow's End, so if you paid separate admissions at all four attractions you would pay $135, and the AKL pass costs only $109. That is still a good saving while, of course, not as good as previously. (While the added single prices went up $22, the pass went up $ 40.)
The Multipass is available at any of the four attractions, the Auckland central city i-site information centres and online.
Apparently Auckland has nice beaches. We didn’t go to any beach in Auckland but I took a picture of a beach at Mission Bay from Bastion Point. The beach looks nice with white sand.
For more information go to:
I recommend Harbour Cruise. It takes you to Bean Rock Light House, Rangitoto Island, North Head Devonport and Naval Base, Harbour Bridge, Chelsea Sugar Refinery, Westhaven Marina and Viaduct. The cruise includes a free return trip to Devonport and a brief stopover at volcanic Rangitoto Island. On board the captain will explain to you the history point of interest.
On the boat you get muffins with coffee or tea or juice. The muffins were delicious.
Departure: Daily at 10.30am & 1.30pm. Price: Adult $36, Child $18.00, Senior $32.50, Family $90.00.
Strolling along Queen Street looking for something to eat we stumble to this interesting building. It was the Civic Theatre which was built in 1929 and first opened on 20th December. The theatre is owned by the people of Auckland and seats 2350 people. It is located at the corner of Queen Street and Wellesley Street.
Strolling along the pier to the shore, watching the boats, were those who won the last Copa America, the people and drink a cerveza in one of the terraces is a great experiencia
Strolling along the pier in the shore, watching the boats, we saw those who were in the New Zealand team in the last Americas Cup , the people and drinking a bear in one of the terraces is a great experience
Te Papa Whakahiku está en el parque Auckland Domain en el llamado Auckland War Memorial.
El edificio es imponente y en él hay una exposición muy interesante de la cultura Maorí en la planta baja . En el piso superior hay una exhibición de de naturaleza , interactiva , muy interesante , especialmente para niños y también para algunos "adultos"
Te Papa Whakahiku is in the park Auckland Domain in the so called Auckland War Memoial.
The building is impressive and it has a very interesting exhibition of Maori culture on the ground floor. In the first floor there is an exhibit of nature, interactive, very interesting, especially for children and also for some "adult"
Three years ago I was an at home wife. My ex could afford to travel overseas more than twice a year and when we were not overseas we were either on the road or on the water in NZ all year round. Though we travelled often (which didn’t allow me to settle into a job or anything else) I never really enjoyed our trips because we never stayed long enough in one place to appreciate it and we kept going back to the same places most of the time. It’s like being allowed to lick the icing on a cake but never really allowed to eat the cake!
I have been on my own in the last three years and have not been able to afford to travel as often but I have managed to travel the way I would like to travel. One of the best experiences I had just outside Auckland was our hike to The Pinnacles in Coromandel this year (Aug 09).
Kauaeranga Valley is less than 2hrs drive from Auckland and about 16k from Thames. We left Auckland around 6pm and managed to get to the camp just after 8pm. I even managed to get myself lost in the dark as the car I was following was a 4WD and I was rather concerned with the big pot holes on the unsealed road just after the Department of Conservation office, or the Kauaeranga Valley Visitor Centre, a well built structure, not far at the end of the road. This is where you would pick up the hut pass. Ours were pre-organised so we did not have to stop here although this is where I actually lost them. We had a great time in the evening even in the rain. DOC closes the road at night to discourage vehicle breaks in – though not a lot of these happen, it is best to leave no valuables inside just in case.
From where we camped the night, we drove the next day to the end of the road which is also another camping ground. This is where we left our cars. The hike starts from the car park and follows the old pack horse trails over the river and up the valley in an ever ascending fashion until you get to the Pinnacles Hut! After half an hour from the car park, you’ll come to the first swing-bridge. Most of the kids in our group crossed the river as the water level was low that time. I went for the swing-bridge.
From here on, I realised just how unfit I was (I knew that before I took on the challenge because I have been a couch potato weeks prior to this). My greatest challenge was the fact that the steps were much higher than my knees. I had to really push my whole body up those steps. I would say I spent at least 2hours negotiating these steps before we got the logging camp. From here the ascend gets a little friendlier to my short and very tired legs. There were two other swing-bridges to go through after the first one. The last one was quite a bit of a challenge and really needed to focus where to put my foot as the rocks were quite slippery. I had to actually scramble on all fours.
Half-way along the track the sky bucketed on us and the strong wind made the walk even harder. At the end of the track the Pinnacle Hut was a welcoming haven! I was quite impressed. It is a huge Hut (I really would not call it a Hut). It sleeps 80 (bunks) split between two big rooms. The kitchen is also quite huge. Showers looked good but I did not use it as it was freezing cold! There are 3 chemical long drops – I normally am not for long-drops but these are quite clean and did not smell. Maybe the fact that I visited the drops at dark made my experience a bit better There was also light in the bunkrooms and the kitchen (solar powered) so you have to keep pressing the buttons each time they turn themselves off)
The Climb to the Pinnacles from the Pinnacle Hut takes 45 minutes average. Some can do it in less than twenty; others like me will take a lot longer. I would not call it an easy climbed but would not class it as hard either and I would say it’s not for the faint-hearted either. There are steep rock faces that you need to climb. They now have put ladders on two of these rock faces but you will still need to negotiate a few large boulders near the very top. Going up was quite easy for me on these boulders and the view from here was quite good. Coming down was harder as the boulders were slippery.
There is a viewing deck at the top and the view is really breathtaking. You’ll be able to see Coromandel on each sides of the peninsula, a 360 degrees panoramic view of the peninsula! It would have been awesome to sit at the top and watch the sun as it rises but we were a few minutes late…
There are two ways to go down from the Pinnacles and that is via the stairs (the track we took up and down) and the Billy Goat Trail.
It took me almost two days to recover from the hike but it is something I would do again. It was an awesome experience all in all! And it’s only more than an hour drive from the city!
I have been in this exhibition in Wellington last year on three occasions and have also seen it in Christchurch where it ended on 5 July 2009. Once I flew up to Wellington just for this purpose, the other times I revisited while doing other things in our capital. As entry was free you could just get in and out and in again as you pleased.
In the meantime Rita's works have been shown in Dunedin and in Christchurch, and now the exhibition will be shown at the Auckland Art Gallery from 1 August to November 2009. This is a great opportunity to see the paintings of one of New Zealand's most famous painters.
The exhibition is titled “Life & Vision” and was put together to mark the tenth anniversary of Te Papa (museum) in Wellington and Rita Angus’s 100th birthday in 2008. Born on 12 March 1908 in Hastings, she died on 25 January 1970 in Wellington from cancer, only 62 years old. She had lived in Wellington for many years and lived in a cottage in 194 A Sydney Street West, in the suburb of Thorndon. This cottage BTW is now the painter’s accommodation of the Artist in Residence programme. You will see a painting of this cottage with its crooked magnolia tree in the exhibition.
Some time ago I read in The Press that the curators’ and catalogue writers’ claim Rita Angus was a pioneer in her art is rubbish, and I can even imagine the author is right, as several contemporaries painted a similar style. However, this does not change anything about Rita Angus’s painting. Her bold brush strokes and strong colours are amazing.
The exhibition has been downsized a bit. Whereas the exhibition in Wellington featured 200 of her works, including the famous painting named Cass which was voted New Zealand’s finest painting in 2006 (?). In Christchurch they showed 141 works. There are also sketchbooks, studies for paintings, and unfinished works. The latter was a big surprise to me – not the fact that someone left unfinished works but the number of unfinished works. Obviously this artist worked parallel on many paintings – perhaps because she did not want to waste her time waiting for the paint to dry until she could apply the next coat… I was also surprised by the incredibly high number of 55 self-portraits. Was she lonesome although she often went painting with her painter friends, as she did not seem to be vain at all?
I was fascinated by those self-portraits and portraits of other people. Most of them featured landscapes in the background, the landscapes reflecting the lines of the people’s faces, or clothes.
You can still find a lot of info about the exhibition on the Te Papa website:
Entry is free.
Myers park is a nice place for a bit of peace and quiet in the midst of the hussle and bussle of central Auckland. Located between Queen St St and Greys Ave it contains a childrens play area and plenty of grass to have a sit down at lunch time.
There are access points on both Queen St and Greys Ave with car parking if using the Queen St access. You can also get to the park through St Kevin's Mall on K' Road and from Aotea Square.
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