Auckland

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Auckland Botanic Gardens

These beautiful gardens were eight years in the making before opening to the public in 1982. They cover 64 hectares (160 acres) and contain more than 10,000 individual plants, along with a lake, a nature trail, a library and an attractive outdoor cafe. Plants are well labelled for the enthusiast and pathways clearly signposted for visitors who only wish to walk in pleasant surroundings. The Auckland Botanic Gardens are also home to the Ellerslie Flower show.

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Auckland Botanic Gardens
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Harbour Bridge Climb & Bungy

This hair-raising adventure activity in the city involves getting kitted out in overalls and a harness and then walking across the upper girders of the Auckland Harbour Bridge, 65m (213ft) above the harbour, with the traffic rushing along on the road below. The views are spectacular, although this is not for the faint hearted. Equally unappealing to the timid is the bridge bungy run by A J Hackett, father of throwing yourself off things with elastic fastened round your ankles.

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Harbour Bridge Climb & Bungy
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Hauraki Gulf Islands

The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park contains 47 islands, some just a few minutes' sail away from Auckland. Not all can be visited, as some are nature reserves closed to the general public, although others are devoted to human pleasures, with all the usual holiday facilities.

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Hauraki Gulf Islands
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Kelly Tarltons Antarctic Encounter And Underwater World

Kelly Tarlton was a local diver who designed this centre so non-divers could experience the underwater world that he found so fascinating. The perspex walk-through tunnels of Underwater World were the first to give visitors the illusion of walking underwater, for close encounters with sharks, rays and other creatures of the deep. The additional Antarctic Encounter includes a reconstruction of the hut in which Captain Scott and his expedition perished. There's also modern-day studies of life on Earth's frozen continent and a Disney-like ride on the Snow Cat through artificial icebergs and snow drifts, and past sub-Antarctic penguins.

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Kelly Tarltons Antarctic Encounter And Underwater World
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Tiritiri Matangi Island

Walkers with a nose for New Zealand wildlife will enjoy Tiritiri Matangi Island, some 30km (19 miles) north, a re-stocked and re-forested sanctuary for many rare species of native bird. Fullers runs ferries to the island. Once there, the Department of Conservation (DOC) guides on the beach impart bush and bird lore for a small charge. Visitors should not forget to take lunch, because there is nowhere to buy any.

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Tiritiri Matangi Island
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