The Greenwood Guide to New Zealand
Auckland, New Zealand

Nature and Activities in Auckland, New Zealand

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Sky Tower Vertigo Climb

Auckland

Adventure activities

For the best views of Auckland, go no further (not that you can) than the very top of the highest man-made platform in the southern hemisphere. After fifteen minutes of easy yet totally exhilarating climbing inside the mast of the tower, you’ll find yourself 300m above ground. Most of the two-hour experience is spent at the top enjoying the amazing view all the way over the Hauraki Gulf to the Coromandel Peninsula as Vertigo guides point out the city highlights. With drink and rest breaks along the way, guides will amaze you with facts on behind-the-scene tower construction and local volcanic activity.

  • Prices: Two-hour guided tour: adult $145, children (under 14) $75.
  • Contact: Sky Tower, Auckland Central
  • Tel: 09-368-1917
  • Email: info@4vertigo.com
  • Web: www.4vertigo.com
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World

Auckland

Aquariums

Come as close as you dare to a broad-nosed seven-gill shark, proudly displaying (behind 7cm of glass) some of the most powerful jaws on the planet. Plunge under Auckland’s waterfront and travel through the clear viewing tunnel and meet other fascinating creatures of the deep, like giant stingray, dainty sea-horses, huge crayfish and feisty piranha. In the Antarctic Encounter, you can travel in a snowcat through snow and ice and get a fish-eye view of the penguins as they swim under water. Or put your fears to the test among the stingrays and sharks, and enter the realm of other exciting fish with their 'personal underwater encounters' – Shark Survival, Stingray Splash and Snorkel Safari. Bookings essential. Phone 0800-805050.

Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World
  • Prices: Adult $29.50, children (over 15) and seniors $22, children (4 - 14 yrs) $14, under 3s are free. Discounts if you book online. Family passes available as well.
  • Contact: 23 Tamaki Drive, Orakei, Auckland
  • Tel: 09-528-0603
  • Fax: 09-528-5175
  • Email: info@kellytarltons.co.nz
  • Web: www.kellytarltons.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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The Pride of Auckland

Auckland

Boat trips

Brent’s gang of four shipshape and 50ft yachts have trademark blue-and-white sails for cruising and dining around Auckland’s nautical playground, the Hauraki Gulf. With no bonus points for effort and the emphasis on enjoyment for all, participatory roles can vary from the calm ‘eating/relaxing/tanning oneself’ combo (my preference) to taking the helm for some full-on match racing action. Includes entry to the NZ National Maritime Museum.

The Pride of Auckland
  • Prices: Choose your cruise to coincide with your favourite meal of the day, from $58 pp for coffee and cake to $95 pp for dinner.
  • Contact: Cnr of Quay & Hobson Streets, Downtown, Auckland
  • Tel: 09-373-4557
  • Fax: 09-377-0459
  • Email: sail@prideofauckland.com
  • Web: www.prideofauckland.com
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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America's Cup Experience

Auckland

Boat trips

Not only can you experience the thrill of sailing an America's Cup yacht, but you can also participate in racing on one. Meet up with the professional crew who take you through safety and race briefings before departing through the America’s Cup village and past the super yachts to take positions for practice. Alternatively take the more laid-back option of a two-hour sailing trip. Sails are hoisted and passengers become the crew and are encouraged to take the helm. Exert energy on the grinders or simply sit back and enjoy the action as you sail down Auckland Harbour. No experience is necessary and all instruction is provided by friendly crew on board the yachts.

America's Cup Experience
  • Prices: 2-hour sailing experience: $91 adult, $75 child. 3-hour racing experience $131 adult, $118 child.
  • Contact: Viaduct Harbour, Auckland Central
  • Tel: 09-359-5987
  • Email: info@explorenz.co.nz
  • Web: www.explorenz.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Parnell Rose Gardens

Parnell

Botany & gardens

Just around the corner from Parnell are the beautiful Rose Gardens, with over 4,500 different bushes of the flower, all laid out in beds within the Dove-Myer Robinson Park. The gardens are sited just above Judges Bay, sloping downwards with pleasant shaded pathways and numerous fine, mature trees. This is a great place to while away a sunny afternoon looking out over the harbour and its busy container wharves from the cliff-top edge. From late spring to early autumn the brilliant displays of rose bushes are at their best.

Parnell Rose Gardens
  • Prices: No entrance fee. Open daily during daylight hours.
  • Contact: 85 Gladstone Road, Parnell, Auckland
  • Tel: 09-302-1252
  • Fax: 09-525-5308
  • Email: parnellrosegarden@xtra.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Nikau Cave

Waikaretu

Cave tours

Nikau Cave’s formations are dazzling. The only crowds you find in this tiny family-run operation are the tightly-packed and twinkling glow-worms that map the contours of the rock in luminescent dots. A wonderful and mildly challenging trip that will convert even the most adamant of surface dwellers. Extensive gardens, farm and bush walks also on site. New café planned for summer 2007.

Nikau Cave
  • Prices: Adult $25 - $30, child $15 - $20.
  • Contact: 1779 Waikaretu Valley Road, Waikaretu
  • Tel: 09-233-3199
  • Fax: 09-233-3131
  • Email: info@nikaucave.co.nz
  • Web: www.nikaucave.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Auckland Zoo

Auckland

Nature & wildlife

Come and see the two ‘icons’ of New Zealand, the kiwi and the tuatara, relaxing at home in their special public viewing nocturnal shelters, the only ones of their kind in town. Watch the kiwis forage for small bugs and worms in the moonlight dimness and peer through glass into a replica den to spot the closest living relative to the dinosaurs hiding in the leafy undergrowth. You’ll see the usual zoological suspects here from tarantulas, hippos, NZ songbirds and Oz, their dashing new Sumatran tiger.

  • Prices: Adults $18, children (4 - 15 yrs) $9, students $14. Family concessions are available.
  • Contact: Motions Road, Western Springs, Auckland
  • Tel: 09-360-3800
  • Fax: 09-360-3818
  • Email: aucklandzoo@aucklandcity.govt.nz
  • Web: www.aucklandzoo.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Auckland Highlights

  • Get sailing on the Waitemata Harbour in this the 'City of Sails'; even better if you can bag a space on one of the America's Cup yachts that operate here.
  • Learn about the history, geology and wildlife of New Zealand at the Auckland Museum. Do this on a Sunday morning and spend the afternoon (during summer months) picnicking at the Domain, watching a free jazz concert.
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