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Auckland Attractions, Auckland

Auckland Zoo This is the best chance to spot a real Kiwi, the native bird that is, although as it is nocturnal it is sometimes hard to spot. Auckland Zoo has New Zealand's largest collection of animals and is recognised as one of the most progressive zoos in the world. There is a pridelands area where the wild animals appear to be roaming free, as well as a rainforest walk that has plenty of mischievous monkeys. In Western Springs is Auckland Zoo, set in spacious grounds. he zoo is located in Western Springs, 4km west of Auckland at Motions Road. Auckland Art Gallery The Auckland Art Gallery, at the southeast corner of Albert Park, is a must. There are over 12,000 works of art in the Auckland Art Gallery, with an emphasis on New Zealand works, but with plenty of international art too. This is the largest collection in the country. The earliest New Zealand works date from the time of Captain Cook, some of whose companions painted remarkable views of different parts of New Zealand. Waiheke Island Waiheke Island is a picturesque island located nineteen kilometres from Auckland . The ferry journey takes approximately 45 minutes and ferries generally operate hourly from the ferry terminal, docking at Matiatia Wharf on Waiheke Island. Waiheke, a popular holiday island, is densely populated, with over 5000 inhabitants, many of who commute daily to work in Auckland. The island offers beautiful sandy beaches, ocean kayaking, fishing, bush walks, vineyards and wineries, olive groves, mountain biking and horse riding. There are also Second World War fortifications and tunnels. The main town is Oneroa. It is not necessary to limit a visit to a day trip, for there is plenty of accommodation available on the island, including two backpackers hostels and a wide range of more opulent options. Tiritiri Matangi Island This island is a sanctuary for rare bird species and here you can view some of New Zealand's native birds in their natural habitat. The little island of Tiritiri Matangi (207ha) lies off Whangaparaoa and has a lighthouse. Formerly grazing land, it is now a nature reserve, to which natural forest is gradually returning. There are many walking tracks here and a whole day could be spent exploring the island. A ferry service does run to the island. The dramatic Piha lagoon is a traditional retreat for city people. North of Piha beach, walking trails lead to lookouts over the Tasman Sea on Te Waha Point and Fisherman's Rock Point. 60 minutes drive from central Auckland. From the suburb of Glen Eden take West Coast Road and turn right onto Scenic Drive. Turn left onto Piha Road. The option is through Titirangi to Scenic Drive and Piha Road. Karekare Beach A beautiful surf beach hemmed in by high promontories at either end, with good walking tracks along the cliff-tops overlooking the Tasman Sea. 60 minutes drive from central Auckland. Head west to the suburb of Glen Eden. Take West Coast Road and turn right onto Scenic Drive. Turn left onto Piha Road and follow it to Karekare Road. These beaches are inviting but rough. Be careful in the water and on the rocks. The opening scenes of Jane Campion's film The Piano were shot here. Muriwai The longest of Auckland's west coast beaches (50 kilometres), Muriwai is part of an 183-hectare regional park catering for swimmers, surfers, golfers, birdwatchers and bushwalkers. The rocks of Muriwai belong to the gannets, fur seals and terns. From September to March the birds settle on the point and the rocky pillar that rises beside it. 50 minutes drive from central Auckland. Take the North-Western motorway. hollow Route 16 through Kumeu to Waimauku, and turn left onto Muriwai Road, which runs into Motutara Road. There are many pleasant grassy picnic spots with shade, a playground and even a golf course at Muriwai.

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