As New Zealand’s only true metropolis, the harbour-side city of Auckland is the country’s vibrant economic heart and is known as the ‘City of Sails’. Most tourists arrive in Auckland as the entry point to New Zealand, and spending a few days in this sprawling city soaking in the cultural and outdoor attractions should be on every visitor’s to-do-list.
Auckland Sky Tower
Stretching into the sky at 328 metres high, the needle-like Sky Tower is Auckland’s most prominent landmark as well as New Zealand’s tallest building. The observation deck is the perfect place to snap a city panorama, but there are also 2 options for thrill seekers: walking the 192-metre-high Sky Walk platform or participating in a Sky Jump by base-jumping off the platform.
Waitemata Harbour slices Auckland in two and is the city’s most prominent natural feature. The central harbour is dominated by Auckland Harbour Bridge which was completed in 1959 and is more than a kilometre long and 43 metres high, and connects downtown Auckland to the northern districts and the sandy beaches of the bays in the north.
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War Memorial Museum
Sitting on the highest point of Auckland Domain in a vast neo-classical building dating from 1929, the imposing Auckland War Memorial Museum houses an impressive collection of artefacts that traces the history of New Zealand from its first Polynesian inhabitants to the present day. The main Maori galleries offer a wealth of Maori artistry, and the first floor holds the natural history collection.
One Tree Hill
The volcanic cone of One Tree Hill is, for many Aucklanders, the symbol of their city. Situated in the lush Cornwall Park, the 182-metre-high hill sits amid a series of flower beds and stands of mature trees, dotted with walking trails. At the top of the hill sits a lone obelisk which was built over the grave of Sir John Logan Campbell who gifted this section of greenery to the city to be used as a park.
Auckland Art Gallery
The Auckland Art Gallery, which is housed in a French Renaissance-style building built in 1887, is the city’s most iconic cultural site. With more than 15,000 art works on display, the gallery is home to New Zealand’s most extensive art collection, and the permanent galleries host a variety of works including European painting and sculpture dating back to the 14th century.
Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium
If you’re looking for a way to get up close and personal with life under water then Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium is the perfect addition to your Auckland itinerary. Observe a huge collection of sea life from the tunnel walkways, with aquariums devoted to sharks, tropical fish, and stingrays.
Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens
The manicured garden trails of the Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens offer the perfect place for visitors to unwind and soak up the natural beauty of New Zealand’s native flora. With an ever-changing array of over 50 sculptural works by New Zealand artists, the gardens situated in a quiet valley setting are the perfect combination of nature and contemporary art.