Auckland is the biggest city in New Zealand, was Capital city from 1841 until 1865, and is the point of arrival for many visitors to Aotearoa - the Land of the Long White Cloud.
The Auckland Harbour Bridge soars over the waters of the Waitemata, the Harbour that laps the shores of the city. The Bridge was built in 1959, is over a kilometre long and 43 m high. A Bridge Walk and Jump are available for adrenaline addicts. The Viaduct-Waterfront area of the city is an active exciting area with restaurants, nightclubs, and entertainment. Here are the Ferry terminals and the Marinas and the action of the maritime world. High over the city stands the Sky Tower, an entertainment centre and Casino with food and action available well into the night. The Observation decks offer views of the city and a SkyWalk and SkyJump are optional additions to your day. Auckland is the city of volcanos - all extinct, fortunately, but a few of them are very prominent in the skyline and also offer great spots to see terrific cityscapes, especially at sunrise or sunset. Look at visiting One Tree Hill or Mt. Eden or even Mangere Mountain if you are further south.
Auckland Harbour Bridge Walk Adult $130 Child $90
Sky Tower Entry to Observation Decks (highest 220m) Adult from $26.10 Child from $10.80
2 - Explore the History
Visit Auckland's first suburb, Parnell (1841) to see a number of older buildings pleasing to the eye. Buildings to note are Hulme Court, the oldest house on its original site, Ewelme Cottage (1863), and The Holy Trinity Church built in 1886. Howick Historical Village dates from the 1850s and offers a variety of buildings in a natural setting. Alberton started life as a two-storied farmhouse, built in 1863, but was extended in 1872 to the 18-room mansion we see today, preserved as a mansion of the colonial elite. Highwic, in Epsom, dates from 1862 and is an original pioneering mansion of Gothic style. Under the North Head at Devonport are tunnels that survive from WWII, with the old guns, bunkers and other formations. The top of the hill has great views and the slopes offer a great place for sliding.
Ewelme Cottage Adult $8.50 Child $3.50
Howick Historical Village Adult $16 Child $8
Alberton Adult $10 Child $3.50
Highwic Adult $10 Child $3.50
Ferry Auckland to Devonport Adult $12.50 Child $7.50
World Champions at rugby, the mighty All Blacks have an incredible history of wins at Eden Park, so if there is a chance of watching them play, it will be a game worth seeing. As New Zealand's national game, an international rugby test can almost stop the country, but there are many levels of games played every weekend throughout the country and lots of talented players to watch out for. Other sports, such as cricket are played at these grounds as well. Also, check what is on at the QBE Stadium at Albany. In January the ASB Classic tennis tournament is held at the ASB Tennis Arena, world-class tennis if you are in the area at that time. Other sports are well supported in New Zealand, too, as the country is generally sport orientated. Swimming and water sports are very well catered for with many Aquatic Centres as well as plenty of beaches being available. Look at West Wave Aquatic & Leisure Centre in Henderson or Mt Albert Aquatic Centre. There is also ice skating in places and also snow sports at Snow Planet in Silverdale. There are many walking tracks throughout Auckland and runners and cyclists are well provided for as well. How about the Sport of Kings? A day at the races at Ellerslie Race Course won't cost anything to get into the public areas, but prices increase if you add the Ascot stands or even a Marquee, expensive eye-catching outfits and a glamorous hat!
Eden Park POA All Blacks tickets at Ticketek, Black Caps tickets at Ticketmaster.
QBE Stadium POA tickets at Ticketmaster
ASB Tennis Classic POA tickets at Ticketek
West Wave Aquatic & Leisure Centre Adult $7.80 Child FOC
Mt Albert Aquatic Centre Adult $8.10 Child $5.90
Snow Planet Snow Pass Adult from $38 Child from $35
Racing at Ellerslie Racecourse FOC
BRC also offers affordable Car Rental at Auckland Airport
4 - Go Shopping
Auckland has a number of really interesting Museums, dealing with a number of topics. The Maritime Museum on the Waterfront deals with the history of ships and boating while MOTAT covers aviation, rail and other heritage machinery. The Zoo is an animal museum, and Kelly Tarltons SeaLife Aquarium is a collection of living marine displays. Auckland's Memorial Museum is central to the city, with many collections, and exhibitions relating to New Zealand, the people and cultures, and their place in the international community. Nature is also addressed with many displays of creatures large and small, as well as the Earth and its place in the Universe.
Maritime Museum Adult $20 Child $10
MOTAT Adult $19 Child $10
Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium Adult from $32 Child from $22
War Memorial Museum Adult from $25 Child from $10
6. Visit an Island
Auckland has a major affinity with boats and the sea, after all, it is referred to as the 'City of Sails'. One of the most popular day trips is going to visit one of the many islands that cling to the coast. Rangitoto is the island that is most easily seen from the Auckland foreshore, a distinctive volcanic shape, and easily accessible by ferry. You can climb to the summit, catch a 4WD road train or explore the Lava Caves just short of the peak. Tiritiri Matangi is the destination for a very popular day trip, a wildlife sanctuary with many birds and much native flora to enjoy. Look out for the beautiful Tui, the Grey Warbler, Waxeye and the friendly Fantail. Waiheke Island is totally different, being an island suburb of Auckland where many craft orientated people have made their home. You will find some great souvenirs here as well as a good bottle of Island wine. Kawau Island has a historical Mansion House to explore and has wallabies, and kookaburra living there. All around the Islands is the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, protecting the marine life and ensuring visitors get to enjoy all the birdlife.
Ferry Auckland City to: (return Fare)
Rangitoto Adult $33 Child $16.50 25 minutes
Tiritiri Matangi Adult $75 Child $45 75 Minutes
Waiheke Adult $38 Child $20 40 minutes
Ferry and Road Train fare to Rangitoto Adult $68 Child $34
Ferry to Kawau Island (from Sandspit, Warkworth) Adult $55 Child $31
Mansion House Entry Adult $4 Child $2
7. Visit a Garden
"One is nearer God's Heart in a garden, than anywhere else on Earth". Wrote Dorothy Frances Gurney and you will find that is true when you wander through the beauty of some of Auckland's many horticultural wonders. The Auckland Domain is an area of about ten acres in the cone of an extinct volcano, and has duck ponds that were once the source of Auckland's water, walks through large trees and open parkland, and the Wintergardens, historic glasshouses filled with tropical and flowers in season. The Botanical Gardens are also a wonderfully serene place to visit, with themed gardens designed to appeal to everyone, from a Potter's Children's Garden to a Garden of threatened Native Plants. Wrights Water Gardens is child and dog-friendly. As well as the colourful gardens that surround the Mauku Falls, they offer pond of turtles, tadpoles and eels for the kids to enjoy while peacocks and llamas and other birds wander around in places to entertain the youngsters. Eden Garden has a superb collection of Camellias and Rhododendrons. Angrason Gardens have a canary aviary and piped music to listen to while you explore. Gardens to view by appointment include the Garden on the Ridge.
Winter Gardens Adult $12 Child $6
Eden Garden Adult $10 Child $6
Angrason Gardens $10 pp
Garden on the Ridge $10 pp
8. Admire some Art & Sculpture
With nearly 100 Art Galleries in Auckland city, there are many opportunities to admire some art while you are in Auckland. The Auckland Art gallery has the largest collection of artwork in New Zealand, including an 11th Century Hindi Apsara statue. There is a focus on New Zealand, Maori and Pacific Island work, but international paintings are included. The TSB Bank Wallace Art Centre is housed in the historic mansion, The Pah, while a large collection of contemporary art can be found at Te Uru Waitakere, with exhibitions current and stimulating for visitors. The Sculptureum in Matakana is a world in itself. Containing six art galleries, a vineyard and three sculpture-filled gardens as well as a restaurant and bar it provides a range of entertainment. Fun filled sculptures offer great photographic opportunities and the whole is a place to be stunned by the creations of man and nature and the artistic way they have been combined.
Auckland Art Gallery Adult $10
TSB Bank Wallace Art Centre at Pah Homestead entry by donation
Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery Free Entry
Sculptureum Adult $35 Child $15
Cornwall Park, with One Tree Hill in its centre, is a very popular place to spend a day, especially when the sun is shining, as is the Auckland Domain near the Museum. Albert Park is in the heart of Auckland, near the University, and was once part of the Albert Barracks. Shakespear Park is at the end of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula and has some active farming area, so farm animals can be observed as you pass through their territory. Camping, diving and bird-watching are all activities that can be enjoyed in the area, but please be aware this is a pest free zone. Dogs are restricted. At the mouth of the Puhoi River is the scenic Park, Wenderholm, picturesque with forested headlands and sea views. Here you can enjoy the open space and fresh sea air. Totally different is the city space, Silo Park, the site of an industrial area in the past and now the venue for markets and outdoor concerts.
There are so many things for kids to do in Auckland, and many of them, grown-up kids will enjoy as well! Rainbows End is probably the best-known Theme Park in the city, with a range of rides, including Dodgems, Bumper Boats and Scorpion Karts for those who want to drive, to a Log Flume and Gold Rush for those who prefer being out of control. A Kids Kingdom is there for the littlies. At Butterfly Creek, Dinosaurs rule the playground, and bugs and butterflies welcome you to their home. There are a couple of crocodiles, some monkeys and lots of birds as well. Crystal Mountain is a mineral museum, combined with an Animal Park and Dinosaur Gully. Dinosaurs on display are life-sized breathing, growling monsters, and in the Animal Park, you not only meet the animals, you can ride some of them. Kids that love stones and crystals will enjoy exploring the Crystal Mine Museum. Whangaparaoa Railway is another way to delight the kids; take a train ride on Little Toot and see the animals that live here.
Rainbow's End Adult $58 Child $48 Kids Kingdom $32
Butterfly Creek Adults $13-$17 Child $10-$16
Crystal Mountain $35 pp riding Lessons from $30
Whangaparaoa Railway $8 pp 2nd Ride $4pp
If you purchase a Hop On, Hop Off Bus ticket (Adult $45 Child $20 day pass) discounts to other attractions are included with ticket.
Choose BRC on your next Car Rental Auckland
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