Auckland Museum Admission with Highlights Tour
Auckland, New Zealand
- Highlights tour: A good guide is the difference between seeing and understanding, and there's no better way to appreciate the museum's treasures than with a staff guide who takes you through it comfortably in an hour – including background on the museum itself, a designated national landmark.
- Natural history: Understand how New Zealand evolved over eons, developing its unique biodiversity in a geographically isolated volcanic zone where two tectonic plates collide.
- War and peace: The national character was forged in the fires of war, as you'll see in the museum's honor rolls, medal displays, and halls of memory. Exhibits like the poignant "Scars on the Heart" dramatize the human cost of war, while weapon displays showcase the deadly tools – including a Japanese Zero and RAF Spitfire.
- Culture: Understanding New Zealand means understanding Aotearoa, as the original inhabitants called it. The museum houses an extensive collection of Maori art and artifacts; galleries trace arduous journeys from far-off islands and centuries of ancestral lineage, lending a powerful spiritual element to your experience.
About This Auckland Tour
Explaining New Zealand is no easy task.
It packs a lot into just 104,000 square miles: glaciers, seething volcanoes, snowy peaks, rolling hills, open grasslands, limestone caves, rainforests and wetlands, arid plateaus, cool blue lakes, warm emerald lakes, and boiling pools of mud.
How does all that happen? Well, it took about 100 million years. And this guided tour sums it up pretty well, in an hour. It takes you back to the ancient Gondwana supercontinent, and the only slightly less ancient submerged continent of Zealandia. It covers the repercussions of life at the busy intersection of the Pacific and Indo-Australian plates, where new land is continually squeezed up from molten depths – only to be worn away by wind and rain. (Lava, rinse, repeat. For 100 million years.)
It's all very scientific, but explained in ordinary language by your guide and demonstrated superbly in displays that include a walk-in cave lined by glowing worms and a three-story tree inhabited by native birds. Plus dinosaur skeletons.
This tour also covers Maori culture, and the Maori have their own explanations for New Zealand. The land they call Aotearoa emerged from the womb of the earth mother, who lives underwater. It was split into the North and South islands by a Polynesian chief who arrived around the year 1400. (Or 925; accounts vary.)
Those volcanoes and boiling mud pools? A Maori warrior got cold and called to his sisters in Polynesia; they traveled underneath the sea in the form of fire to warm him up, and still lie below. The North Island's scattered mountains once clustered together, but fought over a maiden mountain; the losers were told to take a hike. Lakes were scooped out by water spirits, with a contribution from a tribesman named Rakaihautu.
Less scientific, perhaps, but as we said: Explaining New Zealand is no easy task.
That three-story tree mentioned above is a kauri, which plays an important role in Maori culture. To avoid cutting one down, an artificial trunk was clad in kauri bark; the leaves were collected in a grove, then freeze-dried, painted, and painstakingly glued on. As you'll see from the viewing platform, the results are convincing: Kingfishers, parakeets, moreporks, and other native birds dwell happily in the canopy, and kiwis cavort below.
Please make your way to the Auckland Domain, Parnell, Auckland to begin your tour.
A wheelchair ramp is located at the two main entrances. There is also wheelchair access to our Auditorium. Wheelchairs may be borrowed from the bag check desk in the Grand Foyer, and the Atrium information desk if needed.
This tour is suitable for travelers with limited mobility, able to get in and out of the transport without assistance. It is not fully wheelchair accessible. Participation in any activity at any stop is at each person's discretion.
Cultural, Family Friendly, Walking Tour
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Non-refundable if canceled within 24 hours of requested services.
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