The chance to see eight of the world’s best international players and teams competing in the Owen G Glenn FIH Men’s Champions Trophy is enough to tempt most people to the dazzling city of Auckland, situated on New Zealand’s North Island. However, if you need do feel like you need a little extra incentive, we have just the thing for you. Hockey New Zealand has very kindly put together an insider’s guide to the city, giving you ten fantastic things to do away from the hockey stadium.
1: Sky Tower
The Sky Tower is an Auckland landmark that attracts thousands of visitors each year. At 328 metres it’s New Zealand’s tallest structure and higher than the Eiffel tower in Paris. The Sky Tower also offers popular adventure activities such as SkyJump and SkyWalk, where visitors have the opportunity to jump off the tower or walk around the outside with no handrails on either side. Both are sure-fire ways to get the pulse racing. www.skycityauckland.co.nz
Experience a unique opportunity to participate as crew on an actual America’s Cup yacht. Take the helm, exert energy on the grinders or simply sit back and enjoy a ride as we sail the beautiful Waitemata Harbour. www.explorenz.co.nz
3: Waiheke Island
Take the ferry to Waiheke Island and explore this boutique island of vineyards, olive groves, cafes and restaurants. Located just 35-minutes by ferry from downtown Auckland, Waiheke is one of the jewels in Auckland’s crown. There are a great range of activities on Waiheke, including mountain biking, sea kayaking, olive tasting, vineyard tours and much more. Some of New Zealand’s best red wines come from Waiheke, where hot dry summers and stony soils provide ideal growing conditions. www.waihekenz.com
4: 4Track Adventures
Climb aboard a 300cc four-wheel motorbike and head for the dunes. 4Track Adventures leads rides through the Woodhill Forest to Muriwai, a wild west coast beach. One and two hour rides are available daily. Other options include three hour rides, helicopter/quad bike combined safaris and twilight rides during summer months. www.4trackadventures.co.nz
5: Pakiri Beach Horse Rides
Pakiri Beach Horse Rides offer superb horse riding on 14 miles of white sand Pacific beach and through native bush and farmland. Rides are from one and two hours, half and full day, as well as extended multi day rides. www.horseride-nz.co.nz
6: West Coast beaches
With its pristine native bush, coastal rainforest and rugged black sand beaches, Auckland's west coast is a natural playground for visitors to explore. With hundreds of walking tracks and some of New Zealand's best surf beaches, it's easy to get active and discover the natural beauty - and it's all within a 40-minute drive from downtown Auckland. Piha is one of Auckland's most famous west coast black sand beaches and a popular spot for swimmers and surfers. Surrounded by rugged cliffs and with the majestic Lion Rock standing guard over the beach, the scenery is awe-inspiring. www.aucklandnz.com/index.php/content_B/?L1=36&L2=25&L3=&id=333
7: Auckland Harbour Bridge Bungy
Auckland is home to the world’s first harbour bridge bungy jump. This personal challenge is situated directly under the bridge at Pier two, where jumpers leap over the Waitemata Harbour and enjoy the classic kiwi experience of bungy jumping. The operation uses the very latest in adventure technology – with a purpose built jump pod and jumper retrieval system to ensure maximum safety and comfort for jumpers. There are a number of bungy options, including the favourite ‘water touch’. www.bungy.co.nz
8: Auckland Museum
Discover the history of New Zealand and its people at the stylishly revamped Auckland War Memorial Museum. Overlooking the Waitemata Harbour and occupying one of New Zealand's finest heritage buildings, the Auckland War Memorial Museum is the cultural and spiritual touchstone for New Zealanders. The Museum is the first stop for anyone wishing to gain an insight into New Zealand and its people. It houses priceless Maori treasures, amazing natural history and an ever-changing feast of local and international exhibitions. www.aucklandmuseum.com
9: Auckland’s Whale and Dolphin Safari
Watch the dolphins and whales in the Hauraki Gulf and learn about their behaviour, biology, myths and legends. The Hauraki Gulf is one of the world’s richest habitats for marine mammals. Whale & Dolphin Safari offer a guaranteed viewing of dolphins or whales, as well as many other captivating animals on every trip. www.explorenz.co.nz
10: Rangitoto Island
Take the ferry over to Auckand's iconic Rangitoto Island and walk through the world's largest pohutukawa forest. The youngest of the islands in the Hauraki Gulf, Rangitoto emerged from the sea around 700 years ago in a series of volcanic explosions. The Island spans 2311 hectares and supports over 200 species of moss, plants and trees including the largest Pohutukawa forest in the world. Rangitoto is also well known for the seven lava caves on the island and its unique rock surface. Fullers and 360 Discovery ferries run daily trips to the island and visitors have the option of walking to the top (approximately one hour) or jumping onboard the Volcanic Explorer road train to the summit. Whichever way you go – the 360 degree view from the top is outstanding. More information about Rangitoto Island can be found by clicking the following link: http://haurakigulf.aucklandnz.com/islands/rangitoto.html
The Owen G Glenn FIH Men's Champions Trophy takes place in Auckland from Saturday 3rd until Sunday 11th December 2011. The event will feature world champions Australia, Olympic and current European champions Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Great Britain, Pakistan, Korea and host nation New Zealand. Tickets for the tournament will go on sale at the end of the month at www.ticketmaster.co.nz .
To read an exclusive interview with Hockey NZ Chief Executive Officer Hilary Poole, please click here.
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