AUCKLAND TRAVEL GUIDE
Auckland is New Zealand’s largest and newly established ‘Super City’ known by the local Maori, as Tamaki Makau Rau, (‘The Maiden Sought by a hundred lovers’). Another popular name for Auckland is ‘The City of Sails’, where the harbor comes alive with a flotilla of sailing, powerboats, cruise ships, ferries, pleasure craft, tourist boats, kayaks and charter boats. These come out in abundance with Auckland’s Anniversary Regatta. The Regatta is the oldest sporting event in New Zealand dating back to 1840. Visitors to the Viaduct Harbour on this long weekend can enjoy heritage vessels, Dragon boats, flying multihulls, radio controlled yachts, canoes, and some of the fastest boats on the water. View the amazing maneuverability displayed by as many as 21 tug-boats racing up the Rangitoto channel, is a sight to behold. The Viaduct Basin is the vibrant hub of downtown Auckland.
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Auckland is surrounded by the sparkling waters of the Waitemata and Manukau Harbour. The ferry located at The Downtown Ferry building will take you to a large array of magical islands within the Auckland Isthmus. Waiheke Island, Rangitoto Island, Tiritiri Matangi, Motuhie, Kawau and Great Barrier Island, all have their own unique list of ’Things to do’ on each island.
Auckland offers exciting attractions close to its city centers such as Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World which takes you on a journey along its moving walkway to viewing life below the sea, and a spectacular encounter with the Antarctic. With Kelly Tarlton’s you can experience their world-class attraction up close and personal, either through their see-through acrylic tunnels or on a snow-cat ride catching the King and Gentoo penguins playing in their habitat. Kelly Tarlton’s large variety of sea creatures such as turtles, giant stingrays, piranha, moray eels, octopus, crayfish and sea-horses add to this unique adventure. Take the opportunity to hand-feed stingrays, snorkel amongst sharks in the safety of a shark cage, or scare yourself a little and take the plunge and dive cage-free. Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Antarctic hut has been replicated and furnished with genuine memorabilia, dating back 100 years.
Auckland’s War Memorial Museum and Auckland’s botanical Wintergarden’s are found within Auckland’s largest park, the Domain. The park holds sports-fields, ponds, and woodland walking paths, for the general public to enjoy. The Museum contains military and natural history as well as an extensive history of early Auckland. The museum is interactive and has various learning centers within its exhibitions. The Museum has one of the largest Pacific art collections in the world, incorporating Maori, Polynesian, Micronesian, Pacific, and Melanesian arts and taonga (treasures). Within the Maori exhibition lies an original Wharenui (Meeting House), where patrons can enter and experience the life of the first people of the land. View the Kaitaia Carving, a ceremonial gateway dated 1300-1400AD. Artifacts collected from 18th and 19th-century pa’s and fortified cities are housed within the exhibition. Experience daily Maori performances performed by leading Maori cultural groups, wander over to the 25-meter war canoe (waka) ‘Te Toki a Tapiri’ circa 1836, the sea-vessels that brought the early Maori to New Zealand. New Zealander’s and visitors come to the museum and respectfully reflect on military exhibitions, these hold the names of the fallen in major military warfare throughout the 20th century. Visit the Colours Gallery, Scars on the Heart Gallery and the Holocaust Gallery, each with its own poignant story.
The Winter Gardens a protected heritage site sustains tropical and semi-tropical plant life; is open all-year round with two large display glasshouses. One glasshouse contains a collection of temperate plants and the other ever-changing tropical plants. The formal courtyard with its lily pond as the feature is a wonderful serene area enjoyed year-round by visitors looking to enjoy the ambiance. Wander through to the Fernz Fernery, originally a scoria quarry, and now a lush open clearing with over 100 different varieties of ferns.
Western Springs holds Auckland’s Zoo, MOTAT – Museum of Transport and Technology and the neighbouring lake and park, a sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Auckland Zoo houses New Zealand’s native Kiwi and Tuatara in their natural habitat, catch Burma our resident elephant take a leisurely walk to the zoo with her keepers, watch wildlife happily co-exist from large glass windows to pathways along the way. Children can explore Paddle Pop Kid Zone with our smallest residents on the show, slide the Blue Egg slide, and climb the large iconic ‘friendly dragon’ first introduced to littlies in 1959. MOTAT has a collection of more than 300,000 items displayed to portray New Zealand’s pioneering past. Enjoy the newest addition, a tram trip with the Double Decker Big Ben tram. Big Ben will ferry you from the main Motat site to Motat’s Aviation Collection just a short tram trip away. Housed in the Aviation Collection is the only Solent Mark IV Flying Boat, along with a WW2 Avro Lancaster Bomber’s one of only a few left in the world.
Driving Distances and Travelling Times to Auckland
Cape Reinga to Auckland: 436 km and 6:15 hr.
Hamilton to Auckland: 127 km and 1:45 hr.
Paihia to Auckland: 240 km and 3:30 hr.
Rotorua to Auckland: 235 km and 3:20 hr.
Taupo to Auckland: 278 km and 4 hr.
Tauranga to Auckland: 205 km and 3 hr.
Thames to Auckland: 114 km and 1:45 hr.
Waitomo to Auckland: 200 km and 2:45 hr.
Whakapapa Village to Auckland: 345 km and 5 hr.
The times and distances calculated above are approximate. Your journey time will depend on road conditions and rest stops
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