Sometimes, to properly appreciate a city, you need to see its setting. Often the easiest way to do that is by taking to the sky. But if you didn’t have a window seat on your way into Auckland, don’t worry. The Auckland Sky Tower is perfectly situated to give you arguably the most stunning views on North Island.
The Auckland Sky Tower is 328 metres high, making it the tallest manmade structure in New Zealand and, until Australia 108 is completed in Melbourne, the tallest in the Southern Hemisphere as well. Unsurprisingly, therefore, it takes centre stage on any skyline panorama. On a clear day, it’s possible to see over fifty miles in each direction, but even when the visibility isn’t so good, climbing Auckland Sky Tower is still worth the trip.
Plenty of landmarks to spot
Stretching out in front of you through the floor to ceiling glass lies the Hauraki Gulf where it’s easy to pick out historic Devonport and in the distance, Waiheke Island. Land side, you can get a good view of the volcanic hills on which Auckland, New Zealand is built, such as the lush green Mount Eden. A dormant volcano known as Maungawhau in Maori, it rises to a height of 196 metres, about the same height as the observation deck on which you stand. Closer to the Auckland Sky Tower itself, you are in the perfect position for people watching: check out the yachts in the marina or office workers talking on their phones as they scurry along the city streets below you.
Adrenaline rush at the Auckland Sky Tower
From the lobby, visitors ascend to the viewing platform in a glass-fronted lift, not for the faint hearted, but you can always close your eyes! For a greater adrenaline rush, consider participating in the Sky Walk. Daredevils inch along a narrow walkway around the outside of the tower 192 metres above the city streets. Roped together and clad in orange jumpsuits, they’re hard to miss and are a visitor attraction themselves for those the other side of the glass. Accompanied by an experienced guide, it is perfectly safe and a memorable way of seeing Auckland’s sights.
For some, even the Sky Walk isn’t a big enough thrill. Instead of walking the ledge, some adventurous travellers opt to throw themselves off. Sky Jump is an exhilarating cable-guided fall that can see some jumpers reaching speeds of over fifty miles per hour. The cable ensures that a gust of wind can’t whack the jumper into the concrete of the tower, making it the fastest and most thrilling way to descend from 192 metres above the pavement. Time it well, and your friends can get a great photo of you from inside as you fall past the window. Don’t forget to stop by at the bottom as well to watch the jumpers reach the net.
Dinner in the clouds
If all this is too extreme, Peter Gordon’s Sugar Club restaurant offers a more genteel experience. Alternatively, you can dine at Orbit, the only revolving restaurant in the country, where you can enjoy a meal with a backdrop of 360 degrees of views. However you decide to experience it, Auckland Sky Tower is a must on any traveller’s itinerary.