Auckland: Sky Tower, Harbour, Etc.

An Auckland street scene
An Auckland street scene

When Robert B. Sherman, a Disney composer, authored It’s a Small World (After All) for Disney he obviously never travelled from Toronto, Canada to Auckland, New Zealand. I’m in Auckland now. About 28 hours elapsed from the time I left my home in Toronto to the time I arrived at my hotel in Auckland. That included a five-hour flight from Toronto to Vancouver, Canada, followed by a more than 14-hour flight from Vancouver to Auckland.

I’m here to tell you it’s not a small world after all. It’s a big one. A damned big one. And now I’m exhausted.

Auckland, New Zealand

I said “Auckland, New Zealand” above because I don’t know if there are any other Aucklands elsewhere in the world. And I’m too lazy to look it up. If there are any others, I’m not in them. But you probably figured that out from the fact that I added the New Zealand in there. Clever of me—and you—wasn’t it?

I know there are other Torontos and Vancouvers. Obviously, I meant the Canadian ones. Hence the “Canada” after the first mention of each of them above. See how that works?

The aforementioned 28 or so travel hours from Toronto to Auckland included a more than four-hour layover in Vancouver. I could have booked a shorter layover but it’s winter in Canada. Travel plans are more likely to be stymied in Canada in winter due to the weather than in, say, summer or than in, say, Arizona.

We’re hearty folk in Canada. (Although, I’m not hearty enough that I’m not eager to flee in the winter occasionally.) But the planes that fly here aren’t heartier than the planes that fly elsewhere. Pity. Therefore, winter travel in Canada can be iffy.

Air Canada flies only one flight a day between Vancouver and Auckland and it flies that route only four times a week. Thus, I didn’t want to miss my flight. Hence, the longer layover.

Wouldn’t you know it? I had a few bad experiences with delayed Air Canada flights on my last few trips, but this was the flight it managed to fly on time. Not only that, but the Air Canada app allows me to track the in-bound flights that will turn into my flights. Using that feature, I learned that my Vancouver to Auckland flight was a flight from Toronto to Vancouver that left later than the one I took. Had I known that, I would have booked that Toronto to Vancouver flight knowing that I couldn’t be late for the Auckland leg. My mazel.

But I’m here. In Auckland. Tired. But here.

Addled by fatigue, I didn’t do much this first day here. I took an elevator ride up the Auckland Sky Tower to take in the lay of the land from up high and wandered over to the harbour.

Auckland Sky Tower

Auckland Sky Tower as seen from Auckland harbour
Auckland Sky Tower as seen from Auckland harbour

The Auckland Sky Tower is a tower. Duh.

You can take an elevator up to the lower of two observation decks. I did. You can also take another elevator from there up to an even higher observation deck. I did.

The views from the two observation decks are impressive, if you like that kind of thing. I did.

There is at least one full-service restaurant (maybe more, I’m not sure) at a different level of the tower. I didn’t go there.

And there’s a café one level below the lower observation deck. Among other items, the café serves wine and banana cake. I’ll leave you to guess how I know that.

Here are some photos from the observation decks:

Glass Floor

I overcame one of my great fears today by walking on one of the sections of glass floor in the lower observation deck.

I have a tremendous fear of heights. Actually, it’s not tremendous. It’s terrible. But you know what I mean.

Even just the first step of a step ladder scares the heck out of me. That fear does have some bounds. For example, I can look out a window in a tall building, usually without any qualms. But if you put that window on the floor and expect me to walk on it, um, er, nope.

Standing on a glass floor at the Auckland Sky Tower
Standing on a glass floor at the Auckland Sky Tower

I’ve been in other towers with glass floors and I couldn’t do it. The CN Tower back home in Toronto has one. I haven’t been there for a number of years, but during the few times I’ve visited the CN Tower I’ve never been able to walk on the glass floor.

I was in Tokyo before I started writing this blog. There, I went up the Tokyo Skytree tower. It also has a section of glass floor. When there, I said to myself, “This is crazy. They engineer these things to be able to hold several times the weight that can possibly stand on it. I can do this.”

I was wrong. No, I couldn’t. As I got to the edge of the section of glass floor my heart started pounding and I began to hyperventilate. I had to back off.

True, the Auckland Sky Tower is not as high as Toronto’s CN Tower or the Tokyo Skytree, but a fall would still be fatal. In fact, a cat with nine lives would use them all up several times over from a single fall. Nevertheless, I managed to walk across one of the sections of glass floor at the Auckland Sky Tower. Yay, me.

Auckland Harbour

The Auckland harbour
The Auckland harbour

From the Sky Tower I walked over to Auckland’s harbour. I didn’t roam the full extent of the harbour. It’s big.

There are marinas for pleasure crafts, berths for large cruise ships, ferry docks, and cargo facilities.

Some sections are lined with lively bars and restaurants. Lined on the land side, not the water side, that is. But, you’re smart. You probably figured that out all on your own.

The commercial activity made for lively and welcoming areas.

Also the Auckland harbour
Also the Auckland harbour
The Auckland harbour as well
The Auckland harbour as well

Buskers

Speaking of lively, at the base of the Sky Tower and particularly in the harbour area, as well as on my walks to them, I came across a number of buskers. I didn’t stay for any of their performances, but my impressions as I passed were that most of them were pretty good.

I thought, “Isn’t this great? What a dynamic, entertaining city!”

Then, in the harbour district, I saw a sign telling me that there is an international buskers festival on now in Auckland. Then I thought, “That’s it? There’s a busker festival on and there aren’t more buskers than this? What’s up with that?”

Expectations cloud our evaluations. Or at least they do mine. But I’m a seasoned curmudgeon. So maybe it’s just me.

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