TOP TOURS | TO TOP PLACES | FOR TOP PEOPLE
Your tour begins by driving up Queen St, the major commercial thoroughfare in the Auckland CBD. View various prominent buildings of the Victorian, Edwardian Baroque and Neo-Classical style.
Albert Park, opposite Auckland University on Princess St, is one of the country’s best kept Victorian parks, with its various notable oak trees, Moreton Bay fig and Mexican washingtonia palms. Chance for a walk around if desired. Further along Princess St are some fine examples of kauri wooden residences dating from the 1870’s, built for wealthy merchants. Onto The Auckland Domain, where the new city was established in 1840, when Lieutenant Governor Hobson met with the Ngati Whatua tribe and 200 acres were reserved around the volcanic cone, to become New Zealand’s first park. The Neoclassical War Memorial Museum, 1929, commemorates all theaters of war New Zealand has fought in, as well as containing the largest collection of Polynesian artifacts from the South Pacific region. We visit the nearby Winter Gardens, dating from 1921, the cool house with its ever changing displays of annuals and perennials, while the tropical house 1929, is heated, providing constant warmth to a lush population of palms, cycads, bromeliads, orchids and many other exotic plants.
Next stop, Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill. The park is renowned for its landscape design and wide variety of mature trees. It is also a working farm with sheep and cattle grazing in the heart of the city.
We drive up to the summit of the 183m volcanic cone, with many interesting geological features of this once magnificent pre European Maori fortification (pa) still evident. The view is spectacular, as the fourth largest city in the world (area wise) spreads as far as the eye can see, and view just how narrow it is between the harbours. Continuing through the suburbs to Orakei and the cliff top scenic Paratai Dr, showcasing multi million dollar homes with multi million dollar views. Tamaki Dr, along Auckland’s waterfront takes us past various bays, stopping at Mission Bay for a wander around the grounds and along the beach of the glistening Waitamata waters. Next door is St Heliers, one of Auckland’s most beautiful and affluent suburbs, named after the capital of Jersey, in the Channel Island’s. Achillies Point on the headland at the eastern end of St Heliers gives us an elevated view from the platform to the numerous island’s, and further down the coast to the entrance of the Tamaki River estuary. We take a break here for lunch, at one of the many cafés either in St Helier's or Mission Bay.
Heading back into the city along Tamaki Dr, we divert up to Bastion Pt, a promontory of historical importance to both Maori and Europeans. On through some back streets of old Ponsonby, with its beautifully restored 20th century wooden kauri villa’s. Curran St approach to the Harbour Bridge takes us beside the Upper Waitamata Harbour and underneath the bridge to Westhaven Marina, containing over 1800 boats and home to the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron, founded in 1859. The iconic box truss design Auckland Harbour Bridge, was the last of its type when opened in May 1959, taking us to Devonport, New Zealand’s oldest and very quaint sea side suburb. We’ll visit Mt Victoria with its expansive views, Cheltenham Beach, drive along King Edward Parade with its beautiful villas, some built for shipping merchants to watch their vessels arriving from Europe. The tour ends here and so we head back into the city .