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Alberton -- 100 Mount Albert Rd. (tel. 09/846-7367; fax 09/846-1919; www.alberton.co.nz), is perhaps the finest of all Auckland's historic homes that are open to the public. The once-simple farmhouse, built in 1863, grew into the fairy-tale mansion that stands today. Owned by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, it provides an intimate glimpse into Victorian life. It's open Wednesday through Sunday, 10:30am to 4pm (closed Good Friday and Dec 25); admission is NZ$8.50 for adults, free for children.

Ewelme Cottage --  14 Ayr St., Parnell (tel./fax 09/379-0202; www.historic.org.nz), was built for the Rev. Vicesimus Lush from 1863 to 1864 and named for Ewelme Village in England. The roomy kauricottage is authentically preserved, right down to its 19th-century wallpaper. It contains an important collection of more than 800 books. Admission is NZ$7.50 adults, free for accompanied children. It's open Sunday only, 10:30am to 4:30pm (closed Dec 25).

Highwic -- 40 Gillies Ave., Epsom. (tel. 09/524-5729; www.highwic.co.nz), is one of New Zealand's finest Gothic Revival houses. Built in 1862, it gained additions modeled from an American pattern book in 1873. Its distinctive architecture and gardens offer insight into the lives of the wealthy Victorian family who retained possession of it until 1978. Admission is NZ$8.50 adults, free for accompanied children. It's open Wednesday through Sunday 10:30am to 4:30pm (closed Good Friday and Dec 25).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.