Auckland Tourist Attractions

Auckland lies on a narrow isthmus, occupied by numerous volcanic cones, between Manukau Harbour and Waitemata Harbour. The 260m high volcanic island of Rangitoto separates Waitemata Harbour from the wide expanse of the Hauraki Gulf with its scattering of islands. To the southwest are the Waitakere Ranges.

Since its foundation over 150 years ago the city has extended far to the north and the south. In 1891 Rudyard Kipling called Auckland 'last, loneliest, loveliest, exquisite, apart'; but today it is hard to see any boundary between the city and the surrounding country. Villages that were once a long way from the town are now suburbs and outlying districts of the city with their own shopping and administrative centers. Outside the city center, the central business district of Auckland, the residential areas follow the usual New Zealand pattern of detached family houses with small gardens.

City Center

City CenterCity Center

Auckland Museum and Institute (War Memorial Museum)

Auckland Museum and Institute (War Memorial Museum)Auckland Museum and Institute (War Memorial Museum)

On the highest point in the Auckland Domain is the imposing War Memorial Museum. From the steps in front of the museum there are magnificent views over the city center and Waitemata Harbour.

This neoclassical building was erected in 1929 as a memorial to the New Zealand soldiers who fell in the first world war and to house the collections of the Auckland Museum, originally established in 1852. Extensions were added in the 1960s.

The War Memorial Hall commemorates the dead from all the wars in which New Zealand soldiers fought.

The museum itself contains rich collections of material on the natural and cultural history of the south Pacific and the history of the city of Auckland.

The Maori Court, a richly decorated meeting house of 1878, came from the Thames region. The magnificent Maori doorway came from Rotorua. There is also a fine storehouse with carved decoration. Of particular note is a 25m long canoe dating from about 1836, in which Maori warriors once sailed in Manukau Harbour. There are also fine portraits of Maori chiefs by CF Goldie.

On the first floor are collections of geology, natural history, flora and fauna (particularly birds and marine mammals, including a reconstruction of a giant moa) and the seafaring history of New Zealand. Also of interest are craft products (silver, ceramics, glass), old furniture and coins.

Attached to the museum is a popular planetarium.

Address: Auckland War Memorial Museum, Private Bag 92 018, New Zealand

Outer Districts

Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World

Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater WorldKelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World Bruce Tuten
East of Hobson Bay, in the Orakei district is Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World, a popular tourist attraction since 1985. Visitors walk in long acrylic tunnels through huge tanks in which they can observe large numbers of fish of all sizes, including sharks and rays. There is a display devoted to the underwater explorations of Kelly Tarlton (1935-85), in the course of which he studied the marine fauna of the south Pacific and investigated wrecks lying off the coasts of New Zealand. In Antarctic Encounter, a reconstructed research station with a small colony of penguins, visitors can experience within a Snow Cat the difficult conditions under which scientists work in Antarctica.
Official site:
Address: 23 Tamaki Drive, New Zealand

Mount Eden

Mount EdenMount Eden
This 196m high volcanic cone (called after the Earl of Auckland's family name) on the south side of the city, from which there are fine views of the surrounding area, was the most southerly point of the site acquired from the Maoris in 1840 for the building of the new capital. There are slight traces of the Maori fortifications, which may date from the 16th C Nearby is Eden Garden, with fine mature trees.

One Tree Hill

One Tree HillOne Tree Hill Natalia V
Further south is another volcanic cone, One Tree Hill (183m), one of the city's finest viewpoints. At the top are the ramparts of a Maori pa (17th-18th C.) that once occupied the site and could accommodate up to 4000 people. On the highest point of the hill there once stood a sacred totara tree, which was ruthlessly felled by the first European settlers.
John Logan Campbell, the true founder of Auckland, established a large farm on One Tree Hill in the late 1830s. On the occasion of a royal visit in 1901 he presented much of his land to the nation as Cornwall Park.

Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT)

Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT)Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) Phillip Capper
This museum, in the Western Springs district is devoted to the history of technology and transport in New Zealand. Its prize exhibits relate to the aviation pioneer Richard Pearse (1877-1953), who made his first flights about the same time as the Wright brothers. Other items include old coaches, railroad rolling stock, trams and vintage cars, collections of material on printing, photography and calculating machines. Between the museum and the nearby zoo runs an old-time tram.
Official site:
Address: Great North Road, Box 44-114, New Zealand


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