Auckland Wonders: Bird Refuge, Garden Tour, Museum, and Aquarium
Tour Participation Requirements
You don't have to be a bird watcher to marvel at the graceful dive bomb of a hungry gannet. Their dramatic plummet, headlong from almost 100 feet above the sea, can reach speeds of up to 90 miles per hour. Then, just before entry, their black-tipped wings stretch backward and they enter the water at such great speeds that their lower necks puff into personal "air bags" that inflate to ease the impact. Talk about showing off!
Given this display of grandeur, it's not surprising the gannet is one of nature's most impressive sea birds. Since the 1970s, thousands have been nesting along New Zealand's craggy west coast to frolic on black sand beaches and feed on fish in the Tasman Sea. Today, their home is the Takapu Refuge Colony at windswept Muriwai Beach, where you have an open invitation to visit.
The nests there and on the off-shore islands are crammed so close together it's like watching the frantic but efficient work that takes place in a beehive. The gannets take off and land with great precision, avoiding the pointy beaks of their fellow birds. And rumor has it that they display a flurry of courting rituals, from solo dances to presenting seaweed to the object of their affection.
Freshly inspired, enjoy the gorgeous scenery as you ride across the Grafton Bridge – one of the world's longest spans – and into sightseeing heaven with your visit to the park, conservatory, museum, and aquarium. This is your day to soar like a gannet.
It's a bird, it's a fruit… it's a human!
Don't be confused by the word "kiwi." It has multiple meanings, the most common being the small green fruit that grows here in abundance (and tops many a pavlova). Locals generally use the term Kiwi to refer to a native New Zealander (of the human kind!) – a name most are proud to use. Then there's the small, endangered Kiwi bird that, ironically, has been incorporated into the logo of the Royal New Zealand Air Force despite the fact that it cannot fly. Go figure!
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.