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Top Things to Do in Auckland

Known as "The City of Sails", Auckland offers water activities of every kind - sailing, jet boating, water skiing, surfing, windsurfing, snorkelling and diving. But that's not all, you can jump off the Sky Tower, go cayoning, horse trekking or mountain biking.

Here are 10 of the top things to do in Auckland.

1. Stand on a Glass Observation Deck or Jump off the Sky Tower

Jumping off the Sky Tower. Copyright: Mark Downey

The Sky Tower is an iconic attraction in Auckland - the tallest free standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere! Located in the Auckland CBD, the Sky Tower is more than just a telecommunications building. Inside you'll find the SKYCITY Auckland casino complex and several restaurants and cafes - including a revolving restaurant located some 190 meters off the ground, turning 360 degrees once every hour.

There are three observation decks at different heights, each providing awesome 360 degree views of the surrounding city. The main observation level has thick glass sections of floor that you can walk out on and see straight to the ground!

For an exciting adventure thrill, the SkyJump is a 192-metre cable-controlled jump from one of the observation decks. Jumpers can reach speeds of up to 85 kilometres per hour!

2. Visit the Auckland Zoo

Don't miss a trip to the Auckland Zoo! See a huge collection of animals such as tigers, snakes, elephants, giraffes and much more.

3. Visit Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium

See sea life come to life with Kelly Tarlton's SEA LIFE Aquarium. Browse over 30 live animal exhibits, from over 80 different species in spectacular habitat displays. This amazing aquarium includes the world's largest Antarctic penguin colony exhibit as well as amazing underwater viewing tunnels.

4. Explore the Glenfern Sanctuary

Glenfern Sanctuary is a must for wildlife enthusiasts. The sanctuary is a predator controlled area located on Great Barrier Island, where threatened and endangered species are able to thrive. Take a guided or self-guided walk to discover the protected bush and animals.

5. Ski, Snowboard, Toboggan or Snow Tube at Snowplanet

Located only 20 minutes north of Auckland, Snowplanet is New Zealand's first and only all-year indoor snow resort. Here you can experience the thrill of skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and tobogganing. Fun for all ages!

6. Take the Family and Play at Rainbows End

Rainbows End is a fun family theme park, offering hours and hours of non-stop fun and excitement!

Rides include the Corkscrew Coaster, Goldrush, Enchanted Forest Log Flume, Fearfall, Motion Master, Pirate Ship, Scorpion Karts, Bumper Boats and heaps more!

7. Explore Waiheke Island

View through the vineyards on Waiheke Island with Auckland City in the distance. Copyright: Miles Holden

Waiheke Island is a small island - but none-the-less the most populated and second-largest island - in the Hauraki Gulf, just off the coast of Auckland City.

Accessed by a short ferry ride departing from the ferry terminal in Matiatia Bay, this beautiful island is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful white-sand beaches, stunning walkways, sprawling olive groves and lush vineyards.

Oneroa Beach and Onetangi Beach are two of Waiheke Island's best beaches with sheltered coves perfect for swimming. Read more about Waiheke Island.

8. Walk Rangitoto Island

Rangitoto Island is a volcanic island nestled in the Hauraki Gulf about 8 kilometres northeast of Auckland City.

Rangitoto Island Scenic Reserve is the youngest volcano in the Auckland volcanic field. It is home to a pohutukawa forest and some unique plantlife.

There are a range of beautiful walks around the island, The summit offers magnificent views of the Hauraki Gulf, the Waitemata Harbour and Auckland City.

9. Surf at Muriwai Beach or Piha Beach

Piha Beach near Auckland, New Zealand. Copyright: Scott Venning

About a 40 minute drive from Auckland, the black sand beaches of Muriwai Beach and Piha Beach are a surfers dream. These beautiful iron-sand beaches offer miles of black sand beaches, great swimming, stunning ocean views, gannet colonies, and great surfing.

Both Muriwai Beach and Piha Beach have dangerous rips and rocks, so ensure you swim only between the flags on patrolled beaches. The New Zealand reality show Piha Rescue is filmed here on Piha Beach and depicts the constant battle the lifeguards face of keeping surfers and swimmers safe in the water.

10. Take in the Maori Culture

Maori culture performance. Copyright: James Heremaia

Experience New Zealand's unique Maori culture with a visit to the Auckland Musuem.

Home to more than 1000 Maori treasures, the Auckland Museum features Maori artefacts, a waka and a full scale marae (Maori meeting house). Watch a Maori cultural performance that will take you on a journey through the story of Auckland and New Zealand. This vibrant song and dance show is sure to get your heart racing as it culminates in the traditional world famous haka.

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