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City Tour - Auckland, NZ - The City of Sails
by Roy Witman © 2009

Similar in many respects to Hawaii; Auckland, New Zealand is an absolute paradise waiting to be explored. Named the “City of Sails,” Auckland consists of over 50 islands and is surrounded by water. Here you'll find Polynesian culture, exciting water sports, dormant volcanoes, rainforests and a thrill a minute!

Floating amid the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Auckland is surrounded by three harbors: Waitemata, Manukau and Kaipara. With inhabitants originating from Europe, China, Pacific Islands and India, this city is a melting pot of culture and cuisine just waiting to be explored.

The Great Outdoors

Just as in Hawaii, this entire region is dotted with volcanic cones, which offer beautiful scenery and a chance for adventure. Travel with a tour guide across the desert as you make your way to scale the side of a massive volcano. Once you've reached the summit, you'll be rewarded with exceptional views as well as an exploration opportunity that few people have.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you'll also find rainforests in Auckland. Bush walks are plentiful in the Waitakere and Hunua Ranges, a large part of which is protected regional park area. Take part in professionally led, scenic treks that intertwine through some of the most beautiful natural settings in the world.

World-Class Sailing

If you prefer sea to shore, you're in good company! Head out sailing on your own or hop aboard an actual America's Cup Grand Prix racer as a crewmember. You'll compete against others in a mini- race designed to be similar to the legendary America's Cup.

Rather sit back and take it easy? Set sail on a dolphin and whale safari where you'll encounter some of the 22 species of dolphins in this area in their natural habitat. Spot enormous whales at sea, feel the wind in your face and take photos that are sure to impress your friends back home.

Other water tours take you on volcano explorations, vineyard discoveries and harbor cruises just to name a few.

Rainbow's End

It's nonstop action for kids of all ages! Rainbow's End is Auckland's premier theme park featuring excitement at every turn. You'll encounter over 23 acres of roller coasters and rides including Fear Fall that lifts you 18-storeys high then plummets you to the ground at a speed of almost 50 miles per hour (80 kph)! You'll also find water rides, a log flume and lots of refreshments that are perfect for hot, sunny days. There's even a mini-park for the tiny tikes so they can join in the fun.

Electric Nightlife

If nightlife is what excites you, Auckland won't disappoint. Head out to Prince's Wharf and the ever- popular Minus 5. This ice bar is completely frozen! Tables, chairs, glasses- everything is made of ice. If you seek something you can warm up to, visit Karangahape Road (known as K Road) where the city's only casino can be found. You'll also discover live entertainment and other excitement.

With so much to do, including the Botanic Gardens, Sky City bungee jump, Auckland bridge walk and more, you'll wish you'd planned a longer stay. Ask your travel agent for details about exciting Auckland, New Zealand tours and cruises that you and your family will love.