Some of my Kiwi friends have proclaimed Auckland to be the most boring city in New Zealand.
Sure it doesn’t have glow worm caves, enormous snow peaked mountains, or fantastic beaches, like other parts of New Zealand. But we had a day to kill there as a layover, and the weather was smashing: perfect blue skies, no wind, and 20 degrees Celsius.
So what do you do when you only have 24 hours in Auckland, and more than half of that is spent sleeping and getting to and from the airport?
Not straining ourselves (it was the first leg of our honeymoon trip, after all), we decided to visit two attractions that we could get to easily: Auckland Sky Tower and Auckland Viaduct.
Auckland Sky Tower
Sky Tower is part of Auckland’s SkyCity Casino complex. It includes a couple of restaurants, including a revolving restaurant and a buffet, a café, and three floors of observation decks.
Despite being the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere, Sky Tower is less impressive size-wise than Toronto’s CN Tower. It measures 328 metres (1,076 ft) from ground level to the top of the mast. But what it lacks in size (yes, let the phallic jokes commence), it makes up for in spectacular scenery – each of the observation decks provides 360 degree views of the city.
And it wouldn’t be a huge tower without a glass floor. I have a strange aversion to glass floors, yet I always do my best to be brave and stand on them. North Nomad shares this aversion, but to avoid sweaty palms, he leaves me to stand and he takes a photo.
Apparently I have no need to fear the glass – it’s 38 mm (1.5 inch) thick, and as thick and strong as the cement floors throughout the tower that we stand on.
For the fearless, there’s the Skyjump, a 192-metre (630 foot) jump from the observation deck, where a jumper can reach 85 km/h (53 mph).
Sky Tower isn’t just a place for pretty views. Aside from being an observational tower, it’s also a telecommunications tower.
Auckland Tower location: corner of Victoria and Federal Streets in Auckland’s Central Business District.
Cost: SINGLE ENTRY Adult $28.00 Child (6-14 years) $11.00 Children 5 years and under are free FAMILY 2 adults and 2 children (6-14 years) $61.00 Each additional child (6–14 years) $9.00 CONCESSION Senior Citizens $22.00 Students (valid ID required) $20.00
Opening Hours: 365 days a year (weather permitting) May to September Daily 9am – 10pm (last tickets sold at 9.30pm) October to April Sun to Thu 8.30am-10.30pm (last tickets sold at 10pm) Fri & Sat 8.30am-11.30pm (last tickets sold at 11pm)
The Viaduct Harbour sits in the middle of Auckland’s CBD and is home to 150 marina berths, residential complexes, dining and drinking options, and commercial areas. Previously a commercial harbour, there are now over 30 bars and restaurants in the Viaduct area, and it’s a pretty place to sit and watch the world go by on a sunny day.
We stayed at The Hilton in Auckland, which was part of this viaduct area.
Even though we didn’t eat or drink at the Viaduct, we spent a good couple of hours wandering around, looking at the bars, restaurants, the street performances, the pop-up kid’s library, and the expensive looking boats.
If we’d had longer in the area, a cruise would have been a nice way to while away the day.
Location: Harbourfront, Auckland’s Central Business District
You can connect with South Nomad, Jessica, over at Google+.