If you're short on time, hop aboard the AuklandExplorer Bus and take in as much as you can.
Auckland MultiPass -- Get four of Auckland's leading attractions for one unbelievable price -- a discount of over 25%. Sky Tower,Kelly Tarlton's,Fullers Auckland, and Rainbow's End have combined for this great offer, which can be used over a 2-week period and includes a pass to revisit whichever attraction you liked the best. Purchase the pass from any one of the included attractions, from an i-SITE Visitor Centre, or online at www.multipass.aucklandnz.com. It costs NZ$109 for adults and NZ$55 for children ages 5 to 15. Also pick up Tourism Auckland's Hot Deals Auckland brochure, which details a wide range of special packages. It's available from Auckland i-SITE Visitor Centres (tel. 0800/282-552 in NZ, or 09/367-6009; www.aucklandnz.com).
Photo Ops -- Of course you can't beat the 360-degree view from Sky Tower, and once you've seen that, all other views seem to pale by comparison -- with the exception perhaps of shots taken on your Auckland Bridge Climb. An old favorite is One Tree Hill, accessible through the very pretty Cornwall Park. The obelisk is visible from everywhere in the city. Like Mount Eden, it was once a Maori pa (fort) dating from the 14th century. The "one tree" that dominated its profile was, sadly, damaged by a Maori activist in 1996; it has been replaced by a grove of small trees that have yet to reach a significant height. Mount Eden is an extinct volcano and Auckland's highest natural point. It boasts terrific views of the city, the harbor, and Hauraki Gulf. North Head Maritime Park in Devonport offers a different perspective -- looking back at the city from North Shore. You'll get great photos of the cityscape from here.
The Viaduct Harbour
After a 152-year history of the America's Cup, this village was created to support syndicates, corporations, superyachts, and the public together in one venue. Auckland's Viaduct Basin, more commonly called "The Viaduct," is a glistening creation that includes new apartment blocks, hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, markets, and every facility an earnest yachtie could ever want.
Between October 1999 and March 2000, and again from October 2002 to March 2003, the village was the place to soak up the excitement of the America's Cup challenge. Millions of visitors crammed in over the two periods, along with more than 2,000 competitors and team personnel, plus 200 international media representatives during each challenge. In addition to the America's Cup action, the village played host to up to 80 superyachts on each occasion, the largest gatherings in the Southern Hemisphere, turning Auckland into a Pacific Monte Carlo. Superyachts are luxury motor and sailing vessels in excess of 30m (98 ft.) long, ranging in value from NZ$4 million to over NZ$40 million. Viaduct Harbour can accommodate 88 superyachts of up to 50m (165 ft.).
Visitors can experience grand-prix sailing on an authentic America's Cup yacht, NZL 40or NZL 41, built for the 1995 San Diego Challenge. You can be as involved as you want in the crewing action, no sailing experience required. For information on the daily sailings from Viaduct Harbour, call Explore NZ (tel. 0800/397-567 in NZ, or 09/359-5987; www.explorenz.co.nz). The price per person is NZ$160 for 2 hours of sailing, and NZ$210 for a 3-hour race. Lower rates available for children ages 10 to 15; children 9 and under are not permitted. Sailing usually begins at 2pm depending on tides.
The Viaduct Basin development has changed the face of Auckland forever, providing a fistful of fabulous restaurants, clubs, and bars that have endured -- despite the fact that Team New Zealand relinquished the America's Cup in the 2002-03 challenge. It is a marvelous place to explore, and given that some of Auckland's best eateries are here, you'd be silly to miss it.
Viaduct Harbour has also been a stopover point in the epic Volvo Ocean Race (formerly the Whitbread Round-the-World Race).
Walking over Water
Bring on the nerves of steel for Auckland Bungy & Bridge Climb, 105 Curran St., Westhaven Reserve, Herne Bay (tel. 09/360-7748; www.bungy.co.nz). Based on a concept similar to the successful Sydney activity, walkers are guided underneath and over the top of Auckland Harbour Bridge. The 1 1/2-hour adventure begins with a full briefing by a professional guide at the base complex. Guests are then fitted with overgarments, radio headsets, and safety harnesses. It's achievable for people of almost all ages and all fitness levels, but you must be age 8 and over and preferably not have a fear of heights. The walk costs NZ$120 for adults and NZ$80 for children 7 to 15, and NZ$305 for families. Discounts for seniors are available. A bungy jump is NZ$150 for adults, NZ$120 from children 10 to 15. You can take a bus or a short walk from city hotels; complimentary transport is available from outside the National maritime Museum, Viaduct Harbour. There's limited parking at the site.
The Gallery Guide
The bimonthly booklet, The Auckland Gallery Guide,which includes information about leading galleries and their exhibitions, is available free from information centers and art galleries. Its user-friendly maps are a great help. For galleries and exhibitions, call tel. 09/378-4070 or fax 09/378-4063.
Especially for Kids
Most of Auckland's major attractions -- Kelly Tarlton's, the Discovery Centre at Auckland Museum, the Auckland Zoo, Sky Tower, Snowplanet, Butterfly Creek, and the Museum of Transport & Technology -- will give the kids hours of fun. Here's another chance for family fun.
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.