New Zealand's capital city has myriad experiences for the visitor, from sailing to premier golf resorts, unique zoos and exquisite culinary experiences
NEW ZEALAND’S international airport in Auckland gives visitors their first view of the country.
Known as The City Of Sails, it is the world’s largest Polynesian city and also New Zealand’s largest.
About 12 per cent of its population are of Maori descent and 13 per cent are families of migrants who arrived from Tonga, Samoa, the Cook Islands and other South Pacific islands in the 1960s and 1970s.
From its flat banks on the island-studded Hauraki Gulf to the sky-scrappers of the downtown area which is dominated by the eye-catching Skytower, Auckland is said to to look its best from the air or the sea.
As one of the main gateways to Kiwiland, Auckland has many attractions. But what's new this year in Auckland?
TE HANA TE AO MARAMA MAORI VILLAGE AND CULTURAL CENTRE (www.tehana.co.nz)
Located on Auckland’s northern boundary, the village provides a unique 17th Century insight into pre-European Maori life within a papakainga and pa (fortified village). Visitors get to experience the scale of strongly built fortifications, giant fighting towers while witnessing the intricacies of Maori living on the Kaipara Harbour.
Guided village tours run hourly between 10am-3pm daily.
Maori Cultural Starlight tours are available Friday evenings at 7.30pm (bookings essential).
For the ultimate cultural experience, take part in a traditional Maori welcome ceremony, an enriching guided village tour and a cultural performance.
V8 TRIKES (www.v8trikes.co.nz)
The new V8 Trikes chauffeuring company offers unique chauffeuring services, from tours to transfers for clients in and around Auckland.
It takes customers on the back of a V8 Trike motorcycle for a cruise around the bays or throughout Auckland. The chauffeurs are subject to strict guidelines and standards where safety always comes first and they are punctual, professional and reliable.
The bikes can be hired for a minimum half an hour and up to maximum of six hours.
FINDING FLAVOUR (www.findingflavour.co.nz)
Go on a gourmet exploration tour in Auckland to meet people who are passionate about their cuisine. Go to markets and specialty food outlets and get a behind-the-scene look at some of the region’s unique food and wine suppliers. There are specially developed programmes for groups too.
What better way to experience Auckland than hitting its waters? For those who like adrenaline-pumping boating activity, there are two choices — Auckland Jet Boat Tours (www.aucklandjetboattours.co.nz) and Auckland Adventure Jet (www.aucklandadventurejet.co.nz). Both bring visitors on a 35-40 minute jet boat ride around Waitemata Harbour.
For something more romantic and leisurely, try Sailing With Ancestors (www.arawai.co.nz). Hop on a traditional Polynesian double hull sailing vessel and sail an hour or two while you learn about celestial navigation and Maori interpretation of Waitemata Harbour. Departs from the Auckland Maritime Museum.
KELLY TARLTON'S ANTARCTIC ENCOUNTER
AND UNDERWATER WORLD (www.kellytarltons.co.nz)
Explore the brand new Kelly Tarlton's exhibition, Seahorse Kingdom, filled with magnificent seahorses from around the world and featuring the world’s only Spiny Sea Dragon.
Kelly Tarlton’s underground Antarctic penguin enclosure will undergo a full transformation to provide customers with a more personal encounter with the penguins
ZEST NEW ZEALAND FOOD TOURS
Auckland has two new gourmet walking food tours — Ponsonby Gourmet Walk and Auckland City Tastes. The first lets visitors experience the cafe culture and gourmet delights of the charming inner city suburb of historic Ponsonby, well-known for its delicious eateries.
Auckland City Tastes is a culinary adventure that introduces two of the city’s most vibrant inner city foodie locations — Viaduct Harbour and Britomart Precinct.
There are two new luxury golf tours by Island Passage - The Floating Golf Club (www.golfescape.co.nz) - 3D/2N Auckland Golf Escape, including Formosa and Gulf Harbour Country Club and 7D/6N. Auckland Golf Escape includes a choice of five golf courses.
For tailor-made golf tours, Golf Vacations New Zealand Ltd (www.nzgolfvacations.co.nz) offers day and short tours at a number of Auckland region's top golf courses, including Gulf Harbour, Formosa, Muriwai, South Head, Warkworth and Omaha.
ROTOROA ISLAND (www.rotoroa.org.nz)
The island is a new day-trip destination in Hauraki Gulf which is just over an hour’s ferry ride from Auckland. It is a heritage and conservation park for visitors to enjoy history, nature, the arts and beautiful beaches.
Last year, the island was opened to the public for the first time in over 100 years. It was previously used by The Salvation Army as a rehabilitation facility for alcoholics.
TE WAO NUI (www.aucklandzoo.co.nz/whats-happening/te-wao-nui.aspx)
This is Auckland Zoo’s most significant project since it opened 85 years ago. The unique New Zealand precinct, Nui, takes up one fifth of the zoo’s 17ha footprint and there are six wildlife habitats — coast, wetlands, high country, night, forest and islands. This area is home to over 100 New Zealand native plant species and around 60 different animal species
TIME UNLIMITED - AUCKLAND SOUTH VOLCANO TOUR (www.newzealandtours.travel/TIME-Unlimited-Tours)
This four-hour experience showcases some of the many beautiful landmarks south of the city. It includes the volcanic peaks of Mangere Mountain and the famous One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie) in Cornwall Park. Visitors are also taken to lesser known places in Manukau Harbour like the Ambury Regional Park with its delightful coastal scenery and wide range of farm animals.