AUCKLAND EXPLORER TOUR

Discover the City of Sails from its iconic landmarks to its vibrant history… $119 per adult, children under 12 years $59 each.

First stop is Mount Eden. At 196 metres above sea level Mt Eden is the highest of all the volcanic cones in Auckland and provides spectacular views in all directions over the city including the Waitemata and Manukau harbours, the Waitakere Ranges and Rangitoto Island.

Then we head out to the Waitakere Ranges via the aptly named Scenic Drive. The Waitakere Ranges are covered in 160 square kilometers of native forest and are famed for their breathtaking vistas. We call in to the Arataki Visitors Centre which has an impressive panoramic view of the Manukau Harbour. Carvings created by local Iwi (tribe) Te Kawerau a Maki are another main feature of Arataki. A 12 metre pou (guardian post), carved by the people of Te Kawerau a Maki and depicting their ancestors, stands at the entrance to the visitor centre. The Centre also provides displays of the local flora, fauna and geology.

Piha is New Zealand’s most famous surf beach with a population of about 600. Piha is a black sand beach due to the high iron content which is of volcanic origin. The area is renowned for its natural beauty and is a highly popular day-trip destination for Aucklanders.

An easy 30 minute guided walk takes you through pristine rainforest where the call of the Tui bird is frequently heard  Along the way you will come across an impressive patch of nikau palms, giant silver tree ferns and New Zealand’s famous kauri trees. This walk is a great introduction to the majestic nature of the Waitakere Ranges and brings you to a scenic 3-tiered waterfall which drops a total of 40 metres.

The Auckland Harbour Bridge is the longest road bridge in the North Island with a length of 1,020 metres, a main span length of 244 metres and a height of 43 metres. Nicknamed the “coathanger” due to its shape, the bridge took four years to build and was completed in April 1959.

North Head is a volcanic cone that used to be a coastal defence installation. During the 1890’s a labyrinth of bunkers and tunnels was dug deep into the volcanic cone, mostly by prisoners supervised by the military. You will also see some of the few disappearing gun emplacements remaining in the world which were built in 1885. The complex of tunnels, guns, searchlights and other fortifications make this a fascinating area to explore. There are also commanding panoramic views over the harbour and the Hauraki Gulf.

Last stop is Devonport which is one of the earliest settled areas of Auckland where you will discover many examples of period architecture. The beautifully restored homes, some built 150 years ago, include styles such as Victorian, Colonial, Georgian, Bungalows and huge Villas. As an option you can leave the tour here to explore the heritage of Devonport which has a village-like atmosphere with its cafes, art galleries, elegant villas and interesting boutique shops. In your own time (at your own cost of $5-70 per adult one way) you can do a short harbour cruise from Devonport back to Auckland city.

Details:

Operates:   Monday and Wednesday and Friday every week. Minimum 4 people to operate. Moderate walking ability required. Maximum 10 people but groups catered for by request.

Price:   $119 per adult, children under 12 years $59 each.

Times:   Pick-up/drop-off at all inner city accommodations approximately 9am and return 5pm.

Bring:   Lunch, appropriate footwear, a camera.