One of the main attractions in Auckland (New Zealand's biggest city) is the Sky Tower. The Sky Tower allows you to have amazing panoramic views over the whole city and is as well a great photographic subject to shoot from outside.
The first thing you see when arriving in Auckland is the huge Sky Tower dominating the city. As in many cities where you can find these very high towers, the first thing you want to do is go up to the top of this construction and admire a panoramic aerial view of the city and it’s surroundings. And that’s what we did during our stay in Auckland!
The Sky Tower is located in the center of Auckland, just at the corner from Victoria and Federal Street, you really can’t miss it. It’s part of a bigger complex called “Sky City” with two restaurants, a hotel, and the biggest casino of New Zealand. It was built from 1994 to 1997 and with it’s 328m height, it’s the biggest tower in the southern hemisphere! Used for telecommunications, it also offers different possibilities for the visitors.
The first step is the 182m high “Sky Lounge” with a Café and Bar, and a main observation level at 186m. There you have some parts of the floor made out of glass (it’s said to be as thick as the rest of the floor and unbreakable, but scary indeed when you walk on it…), so you have the whole city at your feet and can feel well that 186 meter is very high… If you want to see more, there is an orbit revolving restaurant just above, at 190m, and an Observatory Buffet Restaurant at 194m! But the top of the top is not reached yet and you can go up to the “Sky Deck” and it’s 220 meters from above the ground! The views over the whole Auckland area are really impressive (it is said that you can see as far as 80 km all around) and when the weather is sunny and clear, you can notice how big Auckland is.
And if you really want to explore new sensations with a strong adrenalin push you can choose the “Skywalk” and “Skyjump” options (as shown in the pictures n°9 & 10 in the above gallery and n°2 in the first gallery). That means that you’ll go outside the tower on an open air platform at 194m and walk around the tower. Of course, you’ll be equipped, secured, and guided when you go there. After this little roundwalk, you can choose to jump from the tower, totally secured, guided, and attached to big cables bringing you down to the ground. To be honest, we didn’t go through with this as we get a bit frightened by this kind of thing.
A last interesting thing about the Sky Tower, seen form the outside and by night: it’s illuminated with great colors and is perfect for some lomographic long exposures. The colors of the lights can change because they’re used to promote different causes: Christmas is green and red, St Patrick’s day is full green, Chinese New Year is red and gold, during the Rallye of New Zealand the tower is red, green and white and when we were there it was red and blue, that means the “Matariki” to celebrate what the Maori’s consider as the beginning of their New Year (it was the beginning of July).
And to finish, some funny facts about the tower as written on the official visitor’s brochure:
- The Sky Tower is as tall as 37 buses laid end-to-end
- The Sky Tower weighs the same as 6,000 elephants
- The equivalent of 8 765 903 gumboots full of concrete were used to build the Sky Tower
- At a normal pace, it would take someone about 24 minutes to climb the 1,029 steps to the main observation level… but with the lift it takes only 40 seconds ;)
More info on http://www.skycityauckland.co.nz