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World Travel Guide > Guides > Oceania > New Zealand > Auckland

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Things to see in Auckland

Tourist Offices

Auckland i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

Address: , Corner Victoria & Federal Streets, Auckland,
Telephone: +64 9 365 9918.
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1700.

Website: http://www.aucklandnz.com

Auckland’s information centres offer free information, as well as free visitor guides, maps and booking services, including accommodation, transport, events and sightseeing activities. There's also a branch at the Arrivals Hall, Auckland International Airport.

Tourist passes

The HOP day pass allows unlimited travel on most of Auckland's trains, buses and inner harbour ferries until midnight on the first day of use. For full details, including where they can be purchased, see http://at.govt.nz.

Attractions

Sky Tower

New Zealand's tallest building stands 328m (1,076ft) high in the centre of Auckland, dominating the skyline. A lift service takes 40 seconds to whizz visitors to the first observation platforms. From here, the views are breathtaking enough but even more so from the very top level, from where visitors can look out over the harbour as well as the city.

The tower is one part of the Sky City complex - a casino with cafes, bars and a restaurant. Visitors should note that anyone spending a minimum amount dining here receives a free pass to the very top of the tower. It is possible for visitors to climb even higher, to the crow's nest or Sky Deck, a further 50m (164ft) up, as part of the Sky Walk experience, which involves walking around the 192m (630ft) exterior halo of the tower without rails but with safety harness.

Alternatively, there is the world's longest tower-based jump, where a harness and attached wire allow for a 25-second, 192m (630ft) arrested free-fall, eye-popping descent where you reach speeds of 85kph (53mph). Adrenaline junkies can keep their suits on and repeat the experience or cross the road and do an inverted bungy, called Skyscreamer.

Address: Corner of Victoria S W & Federal St, , Auckland,
Telephone: +64 9 363 6000 or 0800 759 2489.
Opening times:

Tower: Daily 0900-2200 (May-Oct); Sun-Thurs 0830-2230 and Fri-Sat 0830-2330 (Nov-Apr); Sky City: daily 24hrs.

Website: http://www.skycityauckland.co.nz
Admission Fees:

Yes (Tower)

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Auckland Domain and Auckland War Memorial Museum

Created in 1845, Auckland Domain is the city's oldest, largest and most attractive park. It features semi-formal gardens, a sculpture walk, pathways and ponds, as well as a winter garden with cool and tropical houses; in addition, the Fernz Fernery features over 100 types of fern. The 81-hectare (202-acre) domain is situated on an extinct volcano, known as pukekawa or ‘hill of bitter memories'.

Within the domain is the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the city's most visited attraction, where contemporary displays are juxtaposed by the building's Greco-Roman style architecture. The ground floor is devoted to ‘The Pacific people', the middle to ‘Natural History' and the top to ‘New Zealand’s War Stories'. A small area on the middle floor is dedicated to the Children's Discovery Centre. The displays include various interactive and audiovisual components, and the museum also houses one of New Zealand's most important collections of Maori and South Pacific artefacts. Each day, visitors can experience Maori cultural performances of song, heralded by a conch blast that reverberates through the museum at 1100, 1200 and 1330 (and 1430 from Nov-Mar).

Address: , Auckland Domain, Auckland,
Telephone: +64 9 309 0443 (museum).
Opening times:

Daily dawn-dusk (domain); daily 1000-1700 (museum).

Website: http://www.aucklandmuseum.com
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Harbour Bridge Climb and Bungy

This hair-raising adventure activity in the city involves getting kitted out in overalls and a harness and then walking across the upper girders of the Auckland Harbour Bridge, 65m (213ft) above the harbour, with the traffic rushing along on the road below. The views are spectacular, although this activity is not for the fainthearted. Equally unappealing to the timid is the bridge bungy run by A J Hackett, father of throwing yourself off things with elastic fastened round your ankles.

Address: Westhaven Reserve, 105 Curran Street, Auckland,
Telephone: +64 9 360 7748 or 0800 462 8649
Opening times:

Climbs or bungy jumps daily at 0900, 1030, 1100, 1130, 1330, 1430 and 1530.

Website: http://www.bungy.co.nz
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World

Kelly Tarlton was a local diver who designed this centre so non-divers could experience the underwater world that he found so fascinating. The perspex walk-through tunnels of Underwater World were the first to give visitors the illusion of walking underwater, for close encounters with sharks, rays and other creatures of the deep. The additional Antarctic Encounter includes a reconstruction of the hut in which Captain Scott and his expedition perished. There’s also modern-day studies of life on Earth's frozen continent and a Disney-like ride on the Snow Cat through artificial icebergs and snow drifts, and past sub-Antarctic penguins.

Address: Orakei, 23 Tamaki Drive, Auckland,
Telephone: +64 9 531 5065 or 0800 446 725.
Opening times:

Daily 0930-1700.

Website: http://www.kellytarltons.co.nz
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Auckland Art Gallery

The city's main art gallery has the country's largest collections of both native and international art. The museum contains over 16,000 works of art spanning three floors, showcasing works by Maori and Pacific artists as well as other major historic, modern, and contemporary pieces.

In the Heritage Gallery, international artists include Breughel and Millais, with Reynolds and Gainsborough providing a link back to colonial days. Some of the most memorable images are those by Gottfried Lindauer and Charles F Goldie, who depict passive portraits of Maori with moko (facial tattoos). The Heritage Gallery is currently closed for a massive, multi-million dollar redevelopment and is due to reopen in mid 2011. During this time, the Auckland Art Gallery will continue to operate through the New Gallery building, which will show both old and new works, as well as host exhibitions, education and public programmes.

Address: , Corner of Wellesley and Lorne Streets , Auckland,
Telephone: +64 9 379 1349 (24-hour information line).
Opening times:

Daily 1000-1700.

Website: http://www.aucklandartgallery.govt.nz
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Stardome Observatory

This large site, operated by the Auckland Observatory and Planetarium Trust, gives the public an insight into what the heavens are all about. Displays include New Zealand's first known meteorite and model rockets. The planetarium shows 45-minute multimedia features, including a film about what it is like to be an astronaut, and one in which astronomers answer unresolved questions about our universe, narrated by David Tennant (Dr Who). Night sky and weather permitting, there is also 30 minutes of telescope gazing, during which visitors might catch a glimpse of Jupiter or Saturn's rings.

Address: One Tree Hill Domain, Epsom, 670 Manukau Road, Auckland,
Telephone: +64 9 624 1246.
Opening times:

Mon 1000-1700; Tues-Thurs 1000-1700 and 1800-2130; Fri 1000-1700 and 1800-2300; Sat 1100-2300; Sun 1100-2200.

Website: http://www.stardome.org.nz
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Auckland Zoo

Almost 1,000 creatures from around the world are housed at this forward-looking zoo, which tries to place the animals in surroundings that closely recreate their natural environment. New Zealand's native species are represented to the tune of 10%, in particular the hard-to-see national bird, the kiwi, in a nocturnal enclosure, as well as the Tuatara - the most famous national lizard-cum-dinosaur. There is also a large walk-through aviary. The rainforest is such a popular feature that it even has its own website. Here monkeys and apes, parrots, spiders and other rainforest creatures can be seen in their natural habitat. Pridelands is an area that is home to the animals of Africa, including lions, rhinos and giraffes, while Hippo River allows very close-up views of hippopotami. Guided tours are available and there is an informative visitor centre.

Address: Western Springs, Motions Road, Auckland,
Telephone: +64 9 360 3805.
Opening times:

Daily 0930-1730 (Sept-Apr); daily 0930-1700 (May-Aug).

Website: http://www.aucklandzoo.co.nz
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Howick Historical Village

In 1840, Auckland only had 1,500 inhabitants. This living museum deals with the dramatic and turbulent events of the next 50 years, when the bulk of the settlers arrived from Britain, Ireland and Australia and forcibly removed the Maori from their land. The 33 period buildings have been set in a landscape of reproduction gardens, streets and even a village pond. Staff dress in period costume and on the third Sunday of each month, there are special displays relating to different aspects of this period in the city's past.

Address: Lloyd Elsmore Park Bells Road, Bells Road, Pakuranga,
Telephone: +64 9 576 9506.
Opening times:

Daily 1000-1600.

Website: http://www.fencible.org.nz
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Eden Garden

A few minutes from downtown Auckland lies the green oasis of Eden Garden. The 2.25-hectare (5.5-acre) garden on the volcanic slopes of Mount Eden (the highest point in the area and extremely popular with tour buses) served as a quarry until 1965. It was during this year that a group of dedicated volunteers began to transform the space into the internationally acclaimed showcase garden that it is today. The garden contains the largest collection of camellias in the Southern Hemisphere, as well as large numbers of rhododendrons and azaleas. Plants from around the world provide year-round colour, but visitors can see a large number of native plants too. The landscaped gardens are home to various statues and a 13.5m (45ft) waterfall.

Address: Epsom, 24 Omana Avenue, Auckland,
Telephone: +64 9 638 8395.
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1600.

Website: http://www.edengarden.co.nz
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Auckland Botanic Gardens

These beautiful gardens were eight years in the making before opening to the public in 1982. They cover 64 hectares (160 acres) and contain more than 10,000 individual plants, along with a lake, a nature trail, a library and an attractive outdoor cafe. Plants are well labelled for the enthusiast and pathways clearly signposted for visitors who only wish to walk in pleasant surroundings. The Auckland Botanic Gardens are also home to the Ellerslie Flower Show.

Address: Manurewa, 102 Hill Road, Auckland,
Telephone: +64 9 267 1457.
Opening times:

Gardens open daily 0800-2000 (Oct-Mar), 0800-1800 (Apr-Sep); visitor centre open Mon-Fri 0800-1630, Sat-Sun 0800-1700 (Oct-Mar), daily 0800-1600 (Apr-Sep).

Website: http://www.aucklandbotanicgardens.co.nz
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No