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The Skytower dominates the skyline. Standing 328m tall its the tallest building in the country and offers fantastic views which stretch all the way to the Hauraki Gulf and lend a birds' eye onto the CBD. Located at the corner of Federal and Victoria streets, the building was completed in 1997. The glass lifts will shoot you up to the glass floors of the observation deck in 40 seconds/$15 (although its worth paying the $3 to going up to the next level). Once on the deck you get to play with binoculars, weather monitors, audio guides and other interactive displays. The Skytower forms part of Harrah's Sky City Complex which also boasts a revolving restaurant and a 24 hour casino.
Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World and Antarctic Encounter
Kelly Tarlton became a New Zealand icon for his incredible explorations and finds of shipwrecks and their lost treasures. For $20/adults, $10/children you get to see both of these acclaimed attractions. The Underwater World is Kelly Tarlton's gift to those who won't or can't venture into scuba-diving. Instead you step into a clear Perspex onto a moving footpath which runs for 120m along the length of the aquarium. All the mysterious and tranquil beauty will pass before your eyes with anything from tiny fish to sharks, eels, turtles, giant stingrays and much more. The Antarctic Encounter was inspired by the failed attempt of Captain Robert Scott and his team in the race to be the first to reach the South Pole. There's a copy of the base camp which was built in 1911 and live colonies of Gentoo and King penguins playing in artificial snow. You can hop on a Snow Cat, get attacked by an orca (simulated) or learn more of Antarctica's history and future.
The New Zealand National Maritime Museum
New Zealand's history is intimately connected to the sea. The Polynesians first arrived by canoe about a 1000 years ago. It would take another 800 years before European technological and navigational would bring about the arrival of the pioneers. Indeed, boating and sailing seems to run through the very veins of the people. The attractions include early Polynesian and Maori canoes which were used for fishing and sailing as well as longer voyages. There's also a prototype of the Hamilton Jet Boat which was invented in 1957, a replica of an immigrant ship with swaying floorboards and displays of the America's Cup. No less impressive are the KZ1, the Americas Cup Yacht and the Taratai a 25m canoe which Jim Siers created using 1000 year old techniques and then proceeded to sail across the Pacific. Entry is $10 adult/$5 children/$25 family.
Auckland City Art Gallery
Popular demand has resulted in 2 separate buildings to house art. NZ art is permanently displayed at the corner of Wellesley St East and Kitchener St in a Victorian building topped by a clock tower. The heritage collection of some 10,000 pieces includes some ancient works by Maori as well as colonial artists. You'll see early colonial portraits of ceremonially dressed Maori nobility complete with the traditional moko or facial tattoo by famed artists Gottfried Lindauer and Charles F. Goldie. The gallery lends an artistic walk through history, depicting the exploits and adventures of the early colonials and their depictions of the beautiful landscapes which surrounded them. Other works by acclaimed NZ artists include those of Frances Hodgkins, Colin McMahon, Rita Angus and Tony Formison. . Entry: Free. The modern gallery houses special displays of contemporary art and performance art by NZ and International artists. Whatever's on while you're here, don't miss Colin MaCahon room which is a permanent exhibition of this No. 1 NZ artist. It's just across the road and entrance is $3/adults, $1/children. Hungry for more? Then grab a copy of the Auckland Gallery Guide for more info on what's featuring in the city's museums and galleries.
This zoo can hardly be said to be one of the most fantastic in the world. However, if you want to take a look at some native species without waiting or getting muddy, it's probably the best place to do so. You can walk through an aviary of native birds such as the only mountain parrot in the world the kea, a special nocturnal house with lively kiwis or see the elusive tuatara, a rare prehistoric reptile. Children love the primates, Tui Farm, hippos, rhinos and lions. Entry: $11/adult, $6 children.
Museum of Transport & Technology (Motat I & II)
These museums are a delight to anyone with an interest in aviation. Motat I, houses displays on communications, energy and transport or the interactive infotainment Science Centre. You'll find the info on Richard Pearse interesting. This pioneer aviator decided to ease the tediousness of his boring farm work and take to the skies. It is possible that he managed to get there before the Wright Brothers. Motat II is located at the Sir Keith Park Memorial Airfield. Its the place to see historic and rare aircraft such as a V1 bomb or a Lancaster bomber used in WW II, or the huge and luxurious Solent flying boat. Entry for both museums is $8/adult, $4/children, Motat II alone costs $4/adult, $2/children.
Hobson Wharf Maritime Museum
The Hobson Wharf Museum is located at the Eastern Viaduct, Quay St. It houses historic boats and details Auckland's long connections to the sea with displays on navigation, Polynesian voyages, Pakeha immigration and whaling. The museum enables you to take a historical look into boat building and sail making. The wharf is also a training ground for local yachties. Open 10am-5pm daily.
Rainbow's End Adventure Park
Rainbow's End on Great South Road (cnr Wiri Station Rd) is the city's largest adventure park for quick adrenalin fixes. Superpass $30 adult/$20children or 3 rides $15. Open: Mon-Sun, 10am-5pm.
For free beers and tours, check it out at 368 Khyber Pass Rd, NewMarket. Book first on 09 377 8840.
St Stephen's Chapel (1856/7) was built to replace an earlier stone church which failed to withstand a storm. The new wooden church would become an Anglican memorial ground; it was here that the Constitution of the Church of the Province of New Zealand was signed in 1857. In the churchyard are the graves of the Reverend Rota Waitoa, the first Maori minister to be ordained and Bishop Cowie, the first Bishop of Auckland.
Selwyn Court (1863) which once housed Bishop's Selwnyn's library is now a lecture and meeting centre. George Augustus Selwyn (1809-1878) was a distinguished missionary bishop who drew together the various mission stations into a Church Province. Selwyn became known for a Gothic style of church with leaden windows which were a move away from the basic wooden churches before his time. The Bishop's Court which is next to it is the Bishop of Auckland's residence. Over the summer months, the park comes alive with outdoor events such as classical and opera concerts. Grab a copy of What's on or check out the entertainment sections of the local newspapers.
The Victoria Park Market was once an electricity generator powered by the city's rubbish. The old red-brick building has exotic souvenirs, crafts, clothes and other curious New Age goods on sale. You'll find it on Victoria Street West. The Oriental Market, corner of Britomart Place and Quay Street sells Asian foods and goods. The Otara Flea Market is a Polynesian experience. You'll find anything and everything here in the Otara Shopping Centre carpark every Saturday between 6a.m and midday.
General Info (0800 numbers are toll-free)
Visitor's Information Centre, Aotea Square, 24, Wellesley St. West, Viaduct Harbour, Quay Street, America's Cup Village: Queen Elizabeth Square, 1 Queen St. Tel; 09 366 6888, www.aucklandnz.com . For general info and reservations for tours and travel connections.
DOC/Department of Conservation, cnr Karangahape Road and Liverpool St. Tel 09 3079 279, or Ferry Building, Quay Street, Tel: 09 379 6476, www.doc.govt.nz . For all your info on national parks, great walks, tramps, short walks, native species and general ongoing conservation projects.
Auckland Regional Council, Regional Parks Central Office, Bell South Centre, 21 Pitt Str, Auckland Tel; 09 3031 530
Travelcare (09 373 4621)
White Cross Ponsonby (09 376 5555)
AirBus Shuttle (09 275 9396)
Super Shuttle (09 307 5210)
Johnston's Shuttle Link (09 275 1234)
Automobile Association, 99 Albert Str, Auckland, Tel: (09) 3774 660, Mon-Fri, 8.30am-5pm.
InterCity Buses (09 357 8400)
Newmans Buses (09 309 9738)
Northliner Express (09 307 5873)
Buz A Bus (09 366 6400)
Cityrail (09 270 5143/ 0800 103 080)
Auckland Taxi Co-op (09 300 3000)
Alert Taxis (09 309 2000)
Discount Taxis (09 529 1000)
Quality Rent a Car (0800 680 123)
Ace Rental Cars (0800 502 277)
Avis (09 379 2651)
Budget (09 375 2270)
Hertz (09 309 0989/0800 654 321)
Maui Campervans (09 275 3013/0800 651 080)
Wagon Rentals (09 412 9189)
For the City's Highlights checkout;
United Airlines Explorer Bus (09 360 0033)
Scenic Tours (09 303 3123)
Gray Line (09 377 0904)
ABC Tours (0800 222 868)
Fuller's Cruises (09 367 9111)
Cruising Auckland (09 366 7000/0800 227 847)
Westhaven Sailing School (09 373 4557)
Rangitoto Sailing Centre, (09 358 2324)
Chieftain Charters (09 416 4743) changed to (09 52 800 52) ?
Kawau Kat Cruises (0800 888 006)
Gulf Harbour Ferries (0800 424 556)
Great Barrier Airlines (0800 900 600)
The Helicopter Line (09 377 4406)
Downtown Helicopters (09 309 0234)
Balloon Safaris (09 415 8289)
Bush & Beach Nature Tours (0800 423 224)
4WD Track Adventures (0800 487 225)
Golf Plus Tours (0800 788 848)
Maori Heritage Tours (09 278 0932)
Wilderness Walks Waitakere ( 09 838 9007)
Parakai Parachute Centre (0800 753 000)
Cliffhanger Adventures (021 661 851)
Dive Centre (09 444 7698)
Windsurf Kiwi ( 09 629 0952)
Auckland Wilderness Kayaking (09 630 7782)
Mainly Kayaking (09 817 4560)
Auckland Adventures (mountainbiking) (09 379 4545)
South Kaipara Horsetreks (09 420 2835)
Harley Davidson Motorbike Tours (09 812 8658)