Auckland, New Zealand
AFAR: Auckland Museum, Aquarium & Sky Tower
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This delightful excursion visits three of Auckland’s most popular attractions and begins with a drive along the picturesque waterfront route.
At Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium, view a life-size recreation of Captain Robert Scott’s 1911 Antarctic hut on the shores of McMurdo Sound. The facility is also home to New Zealand’s only sub-Antarctic penguins, offering a rare opportunity to see these magnificent birds up close in their icy domain. You will be within arm’s length of the 80-strong colony of king and Gentoo penguins so you can watch their playful antics on the snow and their elegant underwater ‘flight’. Travel through a clear, acrylic aquarium tunnel on a moving walkway as schools of fish and sharks swim around and above you. A special highlight is Stingray Bay, where you’ll see these magnificent creatures swimming gracefully in front of you, with their six-foot wingspan and long barbed tails.
A drive through Parnell Village brings you to the Auckland Domain -- a sprawling in-city park and an idyllic retreat. Within the park lies the Auckland War Memorial Museum -- a beautiful neo-Classical building with a surprising modern twist -- housing an impressive collection of Maori and Pacific Island artifacts. A local guide will share his/her knowledge with you about the country and how its rich cultural heritage has shaped the nation. You will also have time to stroll through the Auckland Domain Winter Gardens. Rare and spectacular plants in an ever-changing display can be seen in each of the two barrel-vaulted Victorian style glass houses which face out on to an extensive courtyard and sunken pool.
Return to downtown Auckland and head to the famous Sky Tower. Take the elevator to the main observation deck for panoramic views over Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf. On a clear day, Great Barrier Island, some 60 miles away, can be seen. The Sky Tower is the tallest building in the southern hemisphere at 1,072 feet.
The drive back to the ship takes you past some of the iconic Auckland sights including Silo Park, the Fish Market and the Viaduct area.