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The best of Auckland

Thousands of rugby fans are set to descend on Auckland this evening for the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup. For those who find rugby as interesting as watching paint dry, don’t fret, there are plenty of entertainment options. MiNDFOOD reports.

1.    Sail the Hauraki Gulf

Experience the thrill of sailing a real America’s Cup yacht in the beautiful harbour. Take the helm, put in the hard yards on the grinders or sit back, relax and enjoy the magnificent views of Rangitoto Island in this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

2.    Dine at the new Wynyard Quarter

A multi-million-dollar regeneration project in the heart of the Auckland waterfront, the Wynyard Quarter offers a range of dining opportunities amidst a large public plaza featuring fantastic art, access to the water’s edge and an events centre. Jump aboard the historic tram or walk across the Wynyard Crossing footbridge to the Viaduct Harbour where you will find bustling bars and restaurants.

3.    Head up the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest building … and throw yourself off

In the heart of the city you will find the Sky Tower. Offering breathtaking panoramic views stretching 80 kilometres, visitors travel up a glass-fronted lift to three viewing platforms where they will experience the best views in the city. Thrill seekers can opt for the SkyWalk, around the perimeter of the building and if that is not enough, can throw themselves off the edge in the SkyJump. Safety harnesses included!

4.    Explore the volcanic cones

If you want a view of the city, but heights aren’t your thing, you can climb any number of volcanic cones dotted around the region. Mount Eden and One Tree Hill provide panoramic views of the city and plenty of information explaining the historic use of the cones. Then, head down from Mount Eden to find a vibrant village main street with coffee shops, bakeries and restaurants.

5.    Visit the rugged west coast beaches

Within a short drive of Auckland city, you will find rugged black sand beaches including Piha, Bethells, Muriwai, and Karekare. Their stark beauty has seen them used as the backdrop for Hollywood films, television commercials and famous artworks. But don’t let their beauty fool you; the surf is notoriously dangerous so always swim between the flags.

6.    Ferry to historic Devonport

Take the short ferry ride from the Downtown ferry terminal to historic Devonport. Boutique shops, buzzing cafes and beautiful beaches lend a vibrant atmosphere to this seaside town. Climb nearby Mount Victoria for the best views back to the city.

7.    Ski in the spring time

If you can’t make it to New Zealand’s ski fields but are still keen to hit the slopes, head north of the city to Snowplanet. Featuring a 200-metre long slope, a terrain park with jumps and rails plus a ski line and beginner’s area, visitors can have a lesson or simply watch on from the glistening alpine-style cafe below.

8.    Scare yourself silly

Not for the faint of heart, Spookers Haunted Scream Park just south of Auckland features a haunted house, a freaky forest and many other equally scary attractions. Some experiences are rated R-16 so head to their website first.

9.    Have an Antarctic adventure

For family fun, try Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World. Featuring the Antarctic Encounter where you can see a colony of king penguins, Seahorse Kingdom filled with magnificent seahorses from around the world and an underwater glass walkway providing an up-close view of sharks, stingrays and dozens of fish. 

10.    Experience local hospitality

No visit to Auckland would be complete without experiencing the city from a Maori perspective. Immerse yourself in New Zealand’s indigenous culture with a tour of the city with Maori leaders who will explain the area’s rich cultural heritage.

For more information head to Tourism Auckland’s website.

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