Explore Auckland: A Virtual and Accessible Tour
This week we are journeying to Auckland, one of New Zealand’s most culturally rich cities. Home to a variety of sites, Auckland has a beautiful skyline, a host of restaurants, a vibrant Maori community, and an engaging art scene. To explore this captivating city, keep on reading!
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Visit the Museums and Sites
A popular attraction among visitors, the Sky Tower is a telecommunications and observation tower that has become an iconic piece of Auckland architecture. Activities at the Sky Tower include: dining at New Zealand’s only revolving restaurant, taking in the incredible views, and even participating in the “SkyJump”, where visitors can jump from the observation deck. For more information about the Sky Tower, access a blog from Veena World here and a blog from Enidhi India Travel Blog here. The video at the link here also captures the wonders of the tower, and comes with auto-generated captions.
The Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki is another well-visited attraction, and serves as the principal public gallery in Auckland. From collections featuring national art to hosting traveling international exhibitions, the gallery is simply the largest art institution in New Zealand. To take a virtual tour of some of the exhibitions in the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, click on the link here. The tours come with audio guides, videos, room navigation, and more.
Showcasing New Zealand’s military past, the Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira is a highly important and educational space. The museum holds collections that mostly concentrate on New Zealand’s war history and its natural history, as well as works from local and international artists. For a virtual exhibition tour, click on the link here, and access photos and audio guides.
One of the oldest and largest parks in Auckland is the Auckland Domain, or Pukekawa in Maori. The park was developed around the core of an extinct volcano, and its residents and tourists frequent the area for its sports fields, cricket pavilion, the Domain Wintergardens, and sacred tōtara tree. To access more information about the Auckland Domain, read a blog from Dossier Blog at the link here and watch a video with auto-generated captions here.
A blast to the past is found at Howick Historical Village, which serves as a living museum of colonial life in Auckland. The museum uses surviving buildings from the village –– real homes as they appeared in the mid to late 1800s –– to portray what life was like in New Zealand long, long ago. Read a blog from Nom Nom Panda describing the village at the link here, and watch a video about Howick Historical Village at the link here. The video comes with auto-generated captions.
Queen Street is another highly visited part of Auckland, it being the main population center in the city after all. With local and international shops, busy restaurants, and various sources of entertainment, Queen Street is a great way for tourists to experience all that Auckland has to offer. To learn more about Queen Street, watch a video at the link here and read a blog from Albom Adventures here. The video comes with auto-generated captions.
Tune in to Shows and Movies About Auckland and New Zealand
Auckland –– and New Zealand in general –– serves as the backdrop for many TV shows and movies. Accessible films and TV shows on Auckland specifically were difficult to find, so we turned our attention more broadly to New Zealand.
Full of laughs and biting cynicism, “The Breaker Upperers” is a film about two women who create an agency that helps to break up couples for the right price. However, when one of the friends takes a step away from the business, things begin to unravel. The movie is available on Netflix at the link here, and it comes with closed captions and audio description.
“Housebound” is another comedy flick, though with a considerable dose of horror. When a would-be thief is placed on house arrest and forced to live with her estranged mother, she suspects that evil spirits may have taken possession over her family home. To watch the film on Tubi, click on the link here. The film comes with closed captions.
A highly rated recent movie, “Dawn Raid” tells the story of the iconic New Zealand music label Dawn Raid Entertainment. “Dawn Raid” examines the rise, fall, and rebirth of the label and its founders Brotha D and Andy Murnane, as well as its impact on the New Zealand music scene. The film is available on AppleTV at the link here, and it comes with closed captions and audio description.
A notable aspect of life in New Zealand is its closeness with breathtaking landscapes and wildlife. “The Incredible Coastlines of Auckland” is a documentary that explores just that, where viewers can follow photographer and conservationist Craig Potton and his journey into the nature of Auckland. To watch the film, click on the link here, and it comes with auto-generated captions.
For a more modern take on crime stories, “The Brokenwood Mysteries” follows Detective Inspector Mike Shepard as he investigates murders in a New Zealand country town. Though the town of Brokenwood is small, the mysteries it holds are vast and consuming. To access the show, click on the link here. Each episode can be found on the Roku channel and comes with closed captions.
“800 Words” is a well-rated comedy-drama series about fatherhood, family, and a new life. After becoming a widowed father, George Turner quits his job as an 800 word columnist for a Sydney newspaper and moves his family to a remote town in New Zealand, where both challenges and friendship await. The series can be found on the Roku Channel at the link here, and each episode comes with closed captions.
Get Lost in Books About Auckland and New Zealand
Both Auckland and New Zealand are popular subject matters for authors around the world. Accessible books on Auckland specifically were difficult to find, so again, we turned our attention more broadly to New Zealand.
“Once Were Warriors” by Alan Duff is a harrowing yet poignant commentary on the sorrows of the Maori people after the English conquest of New Zealand. Following the story of Maori woman Beth Heke, Duff touches on familial upheaval and the small yet important remains of a rich indigenous culture. To read “Once Were Warriors”, which is available on Amazon, click on the link here. The book has a Kindle and audiobook version.
Now a feature film, “In My Father’s Den” by Maurice Gee examines how tragedy can re-open old wounds. After a young girl is found brutally murdered, her mentor, Paul Prior, is suspected to be the killer. The search for the real murderer forces Prior to take a look back at his past, where frightening secrets would soon be brought to light. “In My Father’s Den” is available on Amazon at the link here, and the book has a Kindle and audiobook version.
“The Luminaries” is another gripping mystery, though taking place in the 19th century New Zealand goldfields. Walter Moody has come to make his fortune here and stumbles upon a gathering of men who have met to secretly discuss a series of unsolved crimes. What he would learn would change everything. To read the book, click on the link here. “The Luminaries” can be found on Amazon, and has a Kindle and audiobook version.
Offering a full narrative of New Zealand’s past, “The Penguin History of New Zealand” by Michael King tells the story of how contemporary New Zealand came to be. From the Maori civilization to English colonization to New Zealand’s adoption of a full democracy, the history of New Zealand is definitely one to pay close attention to. The book is available on Amazon at the link here, and has a Kindle and audiobook version.
A truly novel non-fiction tale, “Squashed Possums: Off the Beaten Track in New Zealand” by Jonathan Tindale explores Jon’s own experience living in the New Zealand wildlife for four seasons –– in a lone caravan (really, an RV). Jon’s travels with his caravan lead him to reversing off the edge of a cliff, meeting a Maori chef who survived 9/11, and other engaging stories. The book is available on Amazon at the link here, and has a Kindle and audiobook version.
Bring Auckland to Your Kitchen
Auckland is home to an engaging history, lively communities, and most importantly, delicious food. From traditional recipes to modern takes on New Zealand cuisine, the following vegan and gluten free dishes are sure to get your mouth watering.
A popular snack among kiwis, or New Zealand residents, are Southland cheese rolls. These easy to make rolls elevate white bread with cheese spread, and are visually appealing too. For a vegan Southland cheese rolls recipe, use the link here. To make them gluten free, use a gluten free bread of your choice.
Boil ups are a classic, tasty Maori meal, usually featuring bone broth, greens, potatoes, and little flour dumplings known as “doughboys”. Both comforting and filling, a boil up is a great way to get vegetables and proteins in your diet. A vegan version of the dish is also available at the link here. To make the recipe gluten free, simply use a gluten free flour of your choice, like oat flour or rice flour.
Probably the most well-known New Zealand dessert, afghan cookies are chocolatey, crunchy, and will have you grabbing seconds for sure! Though they are generally small in size, these pack a flavor punch with rich cacao and their quintessential walnut topping. For a vegan and gluten free recipe, click the link here, and enjoy!
Where to Next?
Thanks for wandering Auckland with us virtually. Join us next time as we explore Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.