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Home to over 100 species and thousands of animals, the Auckland Zoo has committed itself to improve the living conditions of one of New Zealand's largest collection of native and exotic animal species. Visitors can marvel at the rare white rhinos and zebras on the Pridelands, or observe their favorite animals at one of the many zoo tracks, such as the Australia Bush Track or the South America Rainforest Track. Safari nights, photography workshops and specially designed experiences make for an enriching visit. The zoo also has outreach and educational programs for both visitors and local groups and is available for corporate and private functions.
One of New Zealand's earliest museums, the Auckland War Memorial Museum houses some of the country's largest collection of Maori and Pacific Island taonga (treasures), as well as a heritage library. It also has fantastic interactive discovery centers for children, as well as the Scars on the Heart exhibition of New Zealand war history. A 20-minute Maori cultural performance featuring songs, poi dances, stick games, a weaponry display and haka also takes place here. The steps of the Auckland War Memorial Museum offer splendid views over the Cenotaph forecourt to the Domain, the city, the Waitemata Harbour, and beyond.
At 260 meters (850 feet), Rangitoto is Auckland's largest and youngest volcano. It last erupted over 600 years ago and is covered in regenerating forests and barren lava flows. Views from the summit are incredible on a clear day, with vistas to Kawau Island to the north and Great Barrier and Little Barrier to the north-east. Access to this volcanic island is provided by ferry and a 45-minute walk up the well-maintained track leads to the summit. A tractor and trailer, booked in conjunction with the ferry, also goes up to the summit.
The sky-piercing Sky Tower is known to be one of the tallest man-made structures in New Zealand, and is a part of the SkyCity Auckland casino complex. To be able to best experience the view from the top, visitors are provided with not one, but two observation decks that offer sweeping views of the city's skyline. The first is at a height of 186 meters (610 feet), while the Skydeck is perched on the 60th floor, exactly below the main antenna, and offers unrestricted views of Auckland. The Sky Tower also features restaurants, bars and thrilling activities such as the Sky Walk and Sky Jump. The Sky Walk involves strolling a platform that encircles the tower at a height of 192 meters (629 feet), whereas the Sky Jump is for true adventurers, offering visitors a chance to leap off the Sky Tower while safely suspended by a wire.
The brainchild of marine archaeologist Kelly Tarlton, this wonderful aquarium features underwater passageways that allow you to observe diverse sea life in gigantic tanks. Large sharks, gliding stingrays and many species of fish found in New Zealand's waters are above and beside you as the moving floor carries you along. Feeding time is an especially exciting experience that visitors must not miss. The Antarctic Ice Adventure display features live penguins and a recreation of life on the great southern continent, whereas Turtle Bay houses rehabilitated turtles in a large acrylic tank. Visitors should ideally allow up to two hours to fully appreciate these combined attractions.
Just a short walk east from the city center, Auckland Domain is among New Zealand's oldest municipal parks. Founded in 1843, the Domain features the Auckland War Memorial Museum, an outdoor fernery and the splendid Wintergardens, a band rotunda, sculptures, lush lawns, kiosks and more. Additionally, the park is home to numerous notable memorials. Apart from inviting leisurely pursuits, the Domain also serves as a venue for prominent events such as Christmas in the Park, during which spectators come together for a night of music and fireworks.
One of the largest and most important stadiums in New Zealand, Eden Park has played host to many sporting events ever since its inception. The stadium hosts rugby during winters and cricket during summers. Having served as a venue for several cricket tournaments, including the World Cups of 1992 and 2015, the stadium also enables visitors to explore its expansive premises and all they have to offer through informative tours and ziplining excursions. Apart from hosting various sporting events, the stadium is also utilized for numerous cultural, social and entertainment purposes.
The Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki houses and displays the largest and most comprehensive collection of New Zealand and international art in the country. First opened in 1888, this Victorian-esque building is built in the French Chateau style. The various temporary and permanent exhibitions at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki feature artworks that span numerous periods and art mediums. This extraordinary art gallery is home to timeless works of art attributed to native as well as international artists. The gallery also boasts other amenities such as a library, a shop and a café.
Surrounded by the water, Waiheke Island is known to be the second-largest island of the Hauraki Gulf. With an abundance of caves, the island branches into several peninsulas, breaking up the coast into a series of bays. The island's beaches are spotless and a popular choice for family picnics. Visitors may also wander around the island along the various trails that riddle its cliffs and slopes. Waiheke houses many art galleries and sports facilities, as well as a cinema, a theater and various wineries. Waiheke Island's prime attractions include the Whakanewha Regional Park, the Waiheke Community Art Gallery, the Oneroa Bay, Onetangi Beach and the Cascades Waterfall.
One of the tallest cones in the Auckland volcanic field, Mount Eden measures 196 meters (643.04 feet) and is one of the most majestic natural landmarks in the region. Known in Maori as Maungawhau, Mount Eden features an expansive crater, which evokes a sense of awe in visitors. Several historical and cultural sites are located in the vicinity, and a scenic garden sprawls over the volcano's sloping inclines. Towering over the landscape, Mount Eden enables visitors to soak in the scenery unfurling for miles around, its summit offering extensive views of Auckland and the glistening Hauraki Gulf. Guided tours of the area are also available.