If you are traveling to the opposite hemisphere and New Zealand in particular, think about making Auckland your destination. Many travelers make a special point of vacationing to places with contrasting weather to what they experience “at home.” If you are a cool weather lover, New Zealand when the states are steamy and hot is delightful. At the other end of the spectrum, New Zealand will offer some warmth when the snow and ice are getting depressing in many parts of the United States.
Over a million permanent residents call Auckland (New Zealand’s most populated city) home. Many visitors make the city a prime destination for enjoying the nightlife that is popular here. If you have other vacation agendas than nightlife, however, there is an abundance of activities for you no matter what you want to see and do.
For something different to do, check out the Victoria Park Market. This is the place to visit at meal times because you will find a number of restaurants and cafes. The best part to many visitors is the international food court where you will be able to choose from various ethnic cuisines. The Park Market is open every day of the week from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. In addition to being able to get some fabulous food, this is a good place to do a lot of the shopping that you will want to do in Auckland.
If you are staying in Auckland, there will be no way that you could miss seeing the Sky Tower. You won’t be able to miss it because it is the tallest tower building found in all of the Southern Hemisphere. You may want to stay at a hotel in the tower (yes, there are some there, as well as a theater) or perhaps you want to try out one of the restaurants in the Sky Tower. For still more entertainment, there are casinos in the tower also.
Take a moment while you are visiting the Sky Tower to peek at the spectacular views offered from the heights of this incredible structure. If it is a clear day, you will be able to see about 50 miles in any direction that you care to look. There is another activity at the tower that is not for the timid. If you are absolutely sure that you can handle it, there is a wire jump (base-jump) that you can do. It is not like bungee because you will not be bouncing but the height of the jump is more than six hundred feet, so be very sure that it will be something you will enjoy. There is no turning back once you take that plunge.
If you enjoy spending time with animals or if you are traveling with children, you may want to plan part of a day to visit the Auckland Zoo. The zoo is divided into sections that include (1) the Pridelands, (2) the Wetlands, (3) the Rainforest, (4) the Aviary, (5) the Asian Elephants, and other areas. You will be able to see customary zoo animals such as zebras, giraffes, lions, etc. as well as monkeys big and small, penguins, sea lions, and many other animals and birds.
If the zoo doesn’t offer enough wildlife for you, try Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter to see underwater creatures, penguins, and huge tanks filled with thousands of underwater inhabitants.
One area of Auckland that shouldn’t be missed is the Volcanic Field. There are about fifty volcanoes here that are now inactive. One of them, Mount Eden lies directly inside of Auckland so if you think you are snapping a picture of “just a mountain” it may surprise you to know that it is actually one of the volcanic peaks.
If you are interested in the galaxies and outer space topics, one of the volcano areas (One Tree Hill volcano) is where to find the Stardome Observatory. This is a planetarium that is very interesting to see with its 360 degree construction.
A few other things to do in and near Auckland include taking a ferry to one of the islands that are found rather close to the city (research these offerings, though, to make sure you know what you will be doing, when you will be picked up, etc.); one of the various museums; or a drive to Howick Historical Village which is found about half an hour away from the city.