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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Auckland Sightseeing
Auckland Sightseeing Guide - TravelPuppy.com
Despite Auckland’s urban sprawl, the major tourist sites are located around the city centre, while those that are further afield can be reached by public transport, the Explorer Bus, (which links many of the attractions) public transport, ferries or a hire car.

The constant expanding city centre with its eye catching skyline is easily explored on foot, starting with the waterfront, which emphasizes the lively feel of the ‘City of Sails’. Here too can be found the Waterfront Tourist Centre, Britomart bus and train station, the National Maritime Museum, the America’s Cup Village, useful transport stops, the Ferry Terminal and the Department of Conservation Office.

Auckland's main street, Queen Street, and the roads and malls that flank it, give a sense of the shopping options, including the 2 storey Queens Arcade. Queen Street continues past the Town Hall and close by Albert Park, although it is worth noting that there are many specialised shopping options in the various suburbs that surround the centre, which form self contained village like satellites.

Albert Park is one of the 22 parks that exist in the city, and is home to the more ornate half of the Auckland City Art Gallery, the Heritage Gallery (the other half, the New Gallery, is located on the other side of Wellesley Street) and the Bruce Wilkinson Collection, a charming small display of ornate clocks and figures.

South east of the centre is the huge 202 acre (which is 81 hectares) Auckland Domain, crowned by the city’s main ‘must see’ site, the Auckland Museum, packed with Maori and Pacific Island artifacts. Departing from the museum, an extra loop on the Explorer Bus circuit takes tourists and visitors further out to Mount Eden, Auckland Zoo and the Museum of Transport, Technology and Social History (MOTAT).

Venturing further requires a car, taxis or more public transport. East of Auckland are golf courses, the Ellerslie Racecourse, attractions like Howick Historical Village, the Botanic Gardens and the Rainbow’s End adventure theme park. Heading west brings more golf courses, vineyards, orchards and a sense of why the Auckland people love their city so much, inside it is lively and outside simply beautiful.

Auckland Botanic Gardens

These beautiful gardens were 8 years in the making before opening to the public in 1982. They cover 160 acres (which is 64 hectares) and contain more than 10,000 individual plants, along with a lake, a nature trail, an attractive outdoor café and a library. Plants are clearly labelled for the enthusiast and pathways well signposted for visitors who only wish to walk in pleasant surroundings. The Auckland Botanic Gardens are also home to the Ellerslie Flower Show.

Address: 102 Hill Road, Manurewa
Telephone: (09) 267 1457 (Visitor Centre)
Facsimile: (09) 266 3698
Email address: botanicgardens@arc.govt.nz
Website: www.arc.govt.nz/arc/auckland-regional-parks/botanic-gardens/
Opening hours: Gardens: Daily 8.00 am to dusk
Visitor Centre: Daily 10.00 am to 4.00 pm
Admission: Free
Transport: Buses to Drury, Papakura or Pukehohe, bus number 66 to Manurewa.

Auckland City Art Gallery

Auckland's main art gallery has New Zealand's largest collections of both native and international art. The Heritage Gallery, which was opened in 1888, contains the bulk of the collection, and the New Gallery (opened across the street in 1995) concentrates on contemporary art, with revolving exhibitions.

In the Heritage Gallery, international artists include Breughel and Millais, with Reynolds and Gainsborough supplying a link back to colonial days. Some of the most memorable images are those by Gottfried Lindauer and Charles F Goldie, who reveal passive portraits of Maori with moko (facial tattoos).

A free guided tour is available daily at 2.00 pm, and there is a regular programme of talks. The gallery is the subject of a NZ $75 million refurbishment due to end in 2006, which will conclude with some interesting changes. Both galleries are free until the 6th March 2005.

Auckland Domain and Auckland Museum

Created in 1845, Auckland Domain is the city’s oldest, largest and most attractive park, with a sculpture walk (currently featuring work by some of New Zealand’s leading artists, and to be completed in 2006), gardens, a winter garden with cool and tropical houses, pathways and ponds, and the Fernz Fernery, with over 100 types of fern. The 202 acre (which is 81 hectares) domain is situated on an extinct volcano, known as pukekawa or ‘hill of bitter memories’. Within the domain is the city’s most visited attraction, the Auckland Museum, combining its Greco Roman style architecture with a contemporary take on the presentation of the displays.

The ground floor is dedicated to ‘The People’, the middle to ‘The Place’ and the top to ‘New Zealand at War’, while a small area on the middle floor is given over to the Children’s Discovery Centre. The displays include various audiovisual and interactive components. The museum also houses one of New Zealand’s most important collection of Maori and South Pacific artefacts and the Manaia cultural performances of song, heralded by a conch blast that ehos through the museum at 11.00 am and 1.30 pm.

Telephone: (09) 303 1530 (domain) or 309 0443 (museum)
Facsimile: (09) 306 7065 (museum)
Email address: mmost@aucklandmuseum.com
Website address: www.aucklandmuseum.com
Opening hours: Domain: Daily dawn until dusk
Museum: Daily 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
Admission: Domain: Free
Museum: NZ $5 suggested donation, valid for repeated entry
Cultral performane: NZ$15
Transport: Bus no 502, 283 or Explorer Bus

Auckland Visitor Centre


Address: The Atrium, Sky City, Corner of Victoria and Federal streets
Telephone: (09) 979 2333
Facsimile: (09) 970 2334
Email address:nzvc@aucklandnz.com
Website address: www.aucklandnz.com
Opening hours: Sunday to Wednesday 8.00 am to 8.00 pm, Thursday to Saturday 8.00 am to 10.00 pm

Auckland Zoo

Almost 1,000 creatures from around the world are housed at this forward looking zoo, which aims 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 national bird, the kiwi, in a nocturnal enclosure, as well as the Tuatara, the most famous national lizard.

There is also a large walk through aviary, and the rainforest is such a popular feature that it even has its own website. Here apes, monkeys, 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 giraffes, lions, and rhinos, whilst Hippo River allows close up views of hippopotami.

Guided tours are available and there is also an informative Visitor Centre.

Address: Motions Road, Western Springs
Telephone: (09) 360 3800/19
Facsimile: (09) 360 3818
Email address: aucklandzoo@aucklandcity.govt.nz
Opening hours: Daily 9.30 am to 5.30 pm (last entry at 4.15 pm)
Admission: NZ $16, concessions available.
Transport: Satellite Bus from Auckland Museu, bus number 45 and tram from MOTAT.

Eden Garden

The green oasis of Eden garden is just a few minutes away from downtown Auckland.

The 5.5 acre (which is 2.25 hectares) garden on the volcanic slopes of Mount Eden (which is the highest point in the area and extremely popular with tour buses) was once a quarry. This was a quarry until 1965, when a group of dedicated volunteers began to transform it into what is now a national showcase garden of international status, which has won many awards.

It has the largest collection of camellias in the Southern Hemisphere, as well as large collections of rhododendrons and azaleas. Plants from around the world give year round colour but it is also a good place for visitors to see a many native plants too. The landscaped gardens have some statues and a 13.5 metre (45 feet) waterfall.

Address: 24 Omana Avenue, Epsom
Telephone: (09) 638 8395
Facsimile: (09) 638 7685
Email address: eden@edengarden.co.nz
Website address: www.edengarden.co.nz
Opening hours: Daily, from 9.00 am to 4.30 pm
Admission: NZ $5, concessions available
Transport: Bus 274 or bus 275

Harbour Bridge Climb & Bungy

The most recent and popular 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, about 65 metres (213 feet) above the harbour, with the traffic rushing along on the road below.

The views are amazing, even at night, however this is not for the faint hearted. Equally frighteneing 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, Curran Street, Herne Bay
Telephone: (0800) 000 GOCLIMB (462 462) or (09) 625 0445
Facsimile: (09) 361 6186
Email address: aucklandbungy@ajhackett.com
Website address: www.ajhackett.com
Opening hours: Day climbs: Monday to Thursday 10.00 am to 3.00 pm, Friday to Sunday 10.00 am to 6.00 pm Night climbs: Saturday 6.00 pm (April to September), Saturday 7.40 (October to March)
Admission: Bridge Climb: NZ $65. Bungy: NZ $85. Combined: NZ $140
Transport: Public, Link and Explorer buses

Heritage Gallery

Heritage Gallery is on the Corner of Wellesley Street and Kitchener Street

Howick Historical Village

In 1840 Auckland only had 1,500 inhabitants.

This living museum deals with the turbulent and dramatic events of the next 50 years, when the bulk of the settlers arrived from Australia, Britain and Ireland, and Maori were forcibly removed from their land.

The 33 period buildings have been set in a landscape of reproduction streets, gardens and even a village pond. Staff dress in period costume and on the 3rd Sunday of each month, there are special displays relating to different aspects of this period in Auckland's past.

Address: Bells Road, Lloyd Elsmore Park, Pakuranga
Telephone: (09) 576 9506
Facsimile: (09) 576 9708
Email address: fencible@ihug.co.nz
Website address: www.fencible.org.nz
Opening hours: Daily 10.00 am to 5.00 pm (last admission 4.00 pm).
Admission: NZ $9
Transport: Public buses to Howick or Eastern (alight opposite Lloyd Elsmore Park).


Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World

Kelly Tarlton was a local diver who designed this centre. It was opened in 1985, 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 rays, sharks, and other creatures of the deep.

The additional Antarctic Encounter includes a reconstruction of the hut in which Captain Scott and his expedition perished, modern day studies of life on Earth’s frozen continent and a Disney like ride on the Snow Cat through synthetic icebergs and snow drifts.

Address: 23 Tamaki Drive, Orakei
Telephone: (0800) 805 050 or (09) 528 0603
Facsimile: (09) 528 5175
Email address: ktinfo@kellytarltons.co.nz
Website address: www.kellytarltons.co.nz
Opening hours: Daily 9.00 am to 9.00 pm (November to March), daily 9.00 am to 6.00 pm (April to October)
Admission: NZ $26
Transport: Bus no 710, 750, 769 or the Explorer Bus.

Museum of Transport, Technology and Social History (MOTAT)

Commonly known as MOTAT (from the days before ‘and Social History’ was added to the name) this is New Zealand’s largest transport collection. It has a working tramway that links its 2 sections, the main museum and the Sir Keith Park Memorial Site (NZ $2 return).

The latter is the collection of aircraft, including vintage aircraft from the 2 World Wars and a replica of the Richard Pearse plane, the first successful powered aircraft, long before the Wright brothers.

The main museum has displays on all other modes of transport, a duplicate Victorian village, and the Science Centre, with interactive exhibits on technology and communications.

Address: Great North Road, Western Springs
Telephone: (09) 815 5800
Facsimile: (09) 846 4242
Email address: admin@motat.org.nz
Website address: www.motat.org.nz
Opening hours: Daily 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
Admission: NZ $10, concessions available
Transport: Public bus 45 or the Link

New Gallery

New Gallery is on the corner of Wellesley and Lorne Streets.

Telephone: (09) 307 7700 or (09) 379 1349 (24-hour information line)
Facsimile: (09) 302 1096
Email address: gallery@aucklandartgallery.govt.nz
Website address: www.aucklandartgallery.govt.nz
Opening hours: Daily 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.
Admission: NZ $7. Special exhibitions: NZ $5 to $12, concessions available. Daily free guided tours at 2.00 pm
Transport: Bus no 502, 283 or Explorer Bus.

New Zealand National Maritime Museum

In the heart of the Downtown waterfront, this museum pays respect to the debt an island nation owes to its maritime history. It covers almost a millennium of history, from the arrival of Maori and then European settlers, to the 2000 America’s Cup.

Displays also deal with whaling, sealing, navigation skills, and other fishing activities, the first freezer ships to export farm produce (sheep and dairy products) to Europe, and the invention of the jet boat.

Visitors can see historical boats, make their own model boats and take trips out into Auckland Harbour. The 1 hour guided cruises on the Ted Ashby, a replica of one of the traditional, flat bottomed, ketch rigged scows that once worked the North Island waterways, sail Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at noon and 2.00 pm.

Address: Eastern Viaduct, corner of Quay Street and Hobson Street
Telephone: (09) 373 0800
Facsimile: (09) 377 6000
Email address: museum@nzmaritime.org
Website address: www.nzmaritime.org
Opening hours: Daily 9.00 am to 6.00 pm (November to April), daily 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (April to October).
Admission: NZ $12, museum and cruise NZ $19.
Transport: Satellite Bus from Auckland Museum.

Passes

There are transport passes for tourists, but if that’s too much trouble, try the Auckland Superpass, which is available from the visitor centres, booking offices or any of the participating outlets. An Auckland superpass is NZ $69, and includes the Sky Tower, Kelly Tarlton’s, Rainbow’s End and a trip to Rangitoto Island.

Rainbow’s End

Rainbow's End is New Zealand’s largest theme park, and has over 20 major rides and attractions, including the country’s only double corkscrew rollercoaster, a pirate ship, dodgems, bumper boats, an interactive games arcade and rides for small children.

Address: Corner of Great South Road and Wiri Station Road
Telephone: (09) 262 2030
Facsimile: (09) 262 1958
Email address: info@rainbowsend.co.nz
Website address: www.rainbowsend.co.nz
Opening hours: Daily 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
Admission: NZ $39. Children: NZ $29
Transport: Bus 47 to Westfield Shopping Town.

Sky Tower

New Zealand’s tallest building stands 328 metres (1,076 feet) high in the centre of Auckland, dominating the skyline in the same way as Seattle’s Space Needle.

A lift service takes 40 seconds to take visitors to the 1st observation platforms. From the 1st observation platform, 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 bars, cafés and a restaurant. Visitors should note that anyone spending a minimum amount dining here (currently NZ $25.50) receives a free pass to the very top of the tower.

It is possible for visitors to climb even higher, to the crows nest or Sky Deck, a further 50 metres (164 feett) up, as part of the Vertigo experience (costing NZ $145), which involves wannabe climbers being put through a simulator to make sure they are up for it.

Alternatively, for NZ $195, there is the world’s longest tower based jump, where a harness and attached wire allow for a 25 second, arrested free fall, exciting descent. Adrenaline junkies can keep their suits on and repeat the experience for NZ $75 or cross the road and do an inverted bungy, called Skyscreamer, for NZ $35.

Sky City

Address: Corner of Federal and Victoria Streets
Telephone: (0800) SKYCITY or (09) 363 6422.
Email address: skytower@skycity.co.nz
Website address: www.skycity.co.nz
Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday 8.30 am to 11.00 pm. Friday to Saturday 8.30 am to 12.00pm
Admission: NZ $18 to observation platforms, plus NZ $3 to the skydeck. Concessions available.
Transport: Bus no 17 and 27 or Explorer Bus.

Skyjump

Telephone: (0800) 759 586
Email address: bookings@skyjump.co.nz
Website address: www.skyjump.co.nz

Stardome Observatory

This large site is controoled by the Auckland Observatory and Planetarium Trust, to give the public an insight into what the heavens are all about. The planetarium and extensions were built in 1996, at a cost of NZ $3 million, making for a high tech modern attraction.

Displays include New Zealand’s 1st known meteorite, a piece of a meteorite that struck Arizona and model rockets. The planetarium shows 45 minute multimedia features, including what it is like to be an astronaut and the story of a young Polynesian learning the art of navigating by the stars to steer his canoe to New Zealand.

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, off Manukau Road, Royal Oak
Telephone: (09) 624 1246 or 625 6945
Facsimile: (09) 625 2394
Email address: info@stardome.org.nz
Website address: www.stardome.org.nz
Opening hours: Shows take place Tuesday to Saturday 7.00 pm and 8.00 pm
Admission: NZ $12, plus NZ $8 for a guided telescope tour of the sky.
Transport: Buses 302, 304, 305 or 312

Waterfront Visitor Centre

The Waterfront Visitor centre is adjacent to the Maritime Museum, Viaduct Harbour.

Telephone: (09) 979 2333
Facsimile: (09) 970 2334
Email address:nzvc@aucklandnz.com
Website address: www.aucklandnz.com
Opening hours: Daily 9.00 am to 5.00 pm

Vertigo

Telephone: (09) 368 1917.
Email address: infor@4vertigo.com
Website address: www.4vertigo.com