New Zealand: A Short Survey of Auckland

Auckland is the transport hub of New Zealand. Most people will start their journey here. As the most populous city, Auckland has lots to do. The most often featured attraction is the Sky Tower. Its revolving restaurant is probably the most attractive part of the tower for me. It would certainly remind us of our trip to Top of Waikiki. Maungawhau, the dormant volcano that is also the highest natural point in the region, would also provide a call back to our Hawaiian vacation and its Diamond Head walk.

Getting Started

I always like to start with an orientation tour of some sort when I arrive in a new country. The two activities that caught my eye in Auckland are the Auckland Explorer Bus, a hop-on, hop-off tour, and the Aucky Walky tour.

Most hop-on, hop-off buses are worth the money. They give you a little history and take you to several of the top tourist attractions. Yes, they are touristy, but for a quick look at a new place, and a view in the sun, a bus is hard to beat.

The Aucky Walky tour, however, looks amazing. Walk around the city and learn history and legends? That seems like a deal. However, the food tour looks like it’s right up my alley. Even the regular tour has a tasting. How can you go wrong with food?

Where Are the Penguins?

Tiritiri Matangi Island is a birdwatcher’s paradise and is said to have “Little Penguins.” There’s a ferry that goes to the island, and it will probably have a lot of good photo opportunities even if we don’t find the penguins.

Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s has a large colony of King and Gentoo penguins. Neither species is native to New Zealand. If we want to get up close and personal, there’s an option to do so.

The Auckland Zoo has penguins that have been rescued and are unable to be returned to the wild. I don’t usually go to zoos, but these penguins wouldn’t survive without the Auckland Zoo.

Where to Eat?

Swashbucklers Bar is known for its seafood and sunsets. I’m not a fan of seafood normally, but New Zealand is close enough to the water that its fish selection should taste as good as Hawaii’s or Alaska’s. The White Lady is an extra long bus known for its burgers. No place to sit, but the food is supposed to be so good that you won’t care. There’s also the authentic hangi place mentioned in the below video.

Other Considerations

Two museums that could be interesting are the New Zealand Maritime Museum, which has interactive exhibits, and the Auckland Museum, with its Maori artifacts. On the water, we could go whale and dolphin watching or kayaking to Goat Island. Muriwai Beach has a gannet colony, and Rangitoto Island is another dormant volcano. Perhaps, the most interesting activity would be to take five hours to walk across the country. Apparently, there’s a path at the narrowest part of the country in Auckland that allows you to do just that.

I’m going to continue doing research, but if you have some hints and tips, feel free to leave them in the comments.

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