Auckland, New Zealand
If you have some time left in Auckland and seen the major sights, you might want to try out the Auckland Zoo. One major reason to visit the zoo would be the chance to spot a Kiwi in the Kiwi nocturnal house (even for the locals it`s unlikely that you will ever see a Kiwi in the wild).
The layout of the zoo is quite nicely done, with lots of lookouts and viewpoints. I especially liked the African Steppe enclosure and the Australia Walkabout. My favourite animals were the hyperactive Spider Monkeys.
Auckland is the gateway to New Zealand for most International travellers and the largest city in New Zealand. From downtown you can take a ferry to one of the many islands like Rangitoto, Waiheke and Great Barrier or just a leisurely 10 minute ferry ride across to Devonport across the harbour and visit NZ’s WW2 defences at North Head. On the weekend there are many markets scattered around the city region from Takapuna on the north shore to South Auckland. The waterfront drive offers a leisurely cruise around the white sandy beaches as well as attractions like Kelly Tarltons Aquarium.
The Museum has been opened since 1852 although the current building was first opened in 1929. It houses an extensive collection of Natural History, Ethnology, Archaeology, New Zealand History, Applied Arts and Photography. It is also one of the New Zealand’s principal heritage libraries.
Viaduct Harbour and America's Cup Village. About 5 years ago the viaduct was a backwater for a small collection of craft and fishing boats. When Team New Zealand won The America's Cup yachting race, the viaduct, which is now known as America's Cup Harbour, set about making a huge upgrade. Its now become a compound of Plazas and promenades, luxury apartments, challenge syndicate's compounds, marinas and has seen some of the big names in international boating. It is reputed to be the best America's Cup venue ever. The cup is being challenged again this year (2003).
The City of Sails is what Auckland is known as and is one of my favourite cities in the world. It has a really pretty outlook with the harbour and the volcanic cones dotted over it.
There is plenty to see and do here too. You might like to visit Mission Bay or Takapuna which are two popular inner city beaches with good cafes also. You might like to go up Mt Eden or One Tree Hill for some lovely views of the city (and a bit of exercise too!).
Cornwall Park (where One Tree Hill is located) is a nice place for walks, running, cycling and picnics. For shopping there are several malls, the biggest being St Lukes in Sandringham. Downtown is ok for shopping but most local kiwis don't shop here.
The Sky Tower is a distinctive landmark on the Auckland landscape. It offers good views both day and night and has the casino and some good restaurants. I would also recommend a cruise on the harbour or a trip to Waiheke and Devonport.
Most of these activities cost very little too :-)
Take a look at my Auckland page on VT for more information on this city and surrounding region.
Auckland Town Hall is located at Queen Street beside the Aotea Square in the heart of Auckland. It is a five storey Italian renaissance revival style building. The building was officially opened in 1911 by Baron Islington, the then Governor General of New Zealand. It is a landmark of Auckland and one of the major tourist attractions.
Auckland Town Hall building was designed by JJ & EJ Clarke. It is home to the famous Great Hall and Concert Chamber. The Great Hall is one of the finest concert halls in the world.
The City Campus of University of Auckland is located beside the Central Business District in Auckland. The City Campus is the main campus of the university which is the largest university in New Zealand. The university was founded in 1883 and occupies a total area of approximately 160,000 square metres. It is one of the top universities in the world!
Adjacent to the university is the popular Albert Park with lots of greenery. It is located to the west of the university and Auckland Domain is located to the south-east of the university. The Clock Tower Building (Old Arts Building) is one of the major landmarks in Auckland. Other attractions in the campus of the university include the Old Government House and the University House. The university campus also has a commanding view of the harbour.
Oracle Tower Observation Deck is located at level 17 of Oracle Tower at Wakefield Street in the Central Business District of Auckland. It has a commanding 280 degree view of the city of Auckland.
The newer and higher Sky Tower Observation Decks were not constructed yet when we were in Auckland approximaely ten years ago. Nevertheless the approximate height of Oracle Tower Observation Deck is 60 metres. It provides excellent view of the city those days. It is fully air-conditioned with piped music in the air. Summer in Auckland is very hot. This is a nice place for you to relax inside the air-conditined observation deck and watch the world goes by beneath you!
Auckland Harbour Bridge is located across Waitemata Harbour. It connects Central Auckland with Northcote in North Shore City. It is the longest bridge in North Island as well as the second longest in New Zealand. Its length is approximately 1,000 metres. The highest point of the bridge is approximately 43 metres above sea level.
It is one of the popular tourist attractions in the city of Auckland. The bridge was designed by Freeman Fox and Partners. Auckland Harbour Bridge consists of eight lane motorway and was opened to traffic in 1959.
I went on two 1/2 day tours that I enjoyed very much.
The first was with the Volcano City Tours. The one I chose is called "City, Country and Bush". Regretfully I cannot find them on the internet now. Either they have gone out of business or perhaps changed their name. But the tour itself was marvelous. The highlight for me was the visit to the Gannet colony at Muriwai, on the West coast which I had wanted to see for many years.
The second was with the Bush & Beach tours. The guide, Alan was excellent. I chose the "Wilderness Experience" which included a visit to Piha waterfalls and an excellent picnic lunch.
The Waitemata Harbour is the main access by sea to Auckland, New Zealand. For this reason it is often referred to as Auckland Harbour, despite the fact that it is only one of two harbours surrounding the city, and is crossed by the Auckland Harbour Bridge. The Waitemata forms the north and east coasts of the Auckland isthmus. It is matched on the south by the shallower waters of Manukau Harbour
If you find yourself wondering around in downtown Auckland, you should check out Albert Park. The trees and the flowers will knock your socks off! I've never seen anything like this ancient looking trees. I can't help but wonder if this were around when the dinosaurs were around?!
Auckland Museum has a fine collection of Maori and Pacific art, you could easily spend a half day here looking through the interesting pieces, have a nice lunch in the cafe, or picnic in the yard. Make sure go for the Maori show in the museum, it is one of the best Maori show on among all the similars.
A 30 min. drive west from Auckland city will bring you to Muriwai Beach. It can be quite cold and windy, but the combination of impressive rock formations, a wild sea shore and black, glistening sand make the beachwalk almost surreal.
Make sure to spot the colony of gannets as well.
If you want to see all over the downtown area for cheap then catch the Link bus. It only costs a $1.50 and you can ride it around the entire downtown area.
Don't bother with the tour buses because they are expensive and barely tell
you anything of the sites.
By far, the best cookies in New Zealand come from Ma Higgins Cookies.
If you see a shop, go in and buy one, you will love them!
My favourites are the white chocolate chip and the chunky chocolate chip.
This attraction is completely built underground and well worth a visit.
Features an underwater world (aquarium), huge friendly stingrays that are fed at certain times during the day. Amazing creatures.
Take a snowcat ride into a similated antarctic environment to see King and Gentoo penguins. Watch the penguins on the ride or through viewing windows.
The aquariums feature a variety of fish species, including sharks and moray eels.
Three tonnes of fresh snow is made every day and 2 million litres of water are replaced daily.
You are able to dive with the sharks in the aquarium.
Open 9 -6.00pm daily
Also features replica of antarctic explorer Scots' hut, cinema, kiosk and gift shop.