The CIty of Sails ~ Auckland

 New Zealand is part of the Pacific Ocean Ring of Fire and has been and continues to be subjected to volcanic activity. The Maori settled here about 1350 and valued the rich and fertile land near present-day Auckland and constructed fortified villages on the volcanic slopes.

 Auckland has the largest Polynesian population in the world and is known as the City of Sails. Barb chose the Antarctic Encounter and Auckland Sky Tower tour.  After a brief drive along the waterfront road she arrived at Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium.  Inside is a life-size recreation of Captain Robert Scott’s 1911 Antarctic hut on the shores of McMurdo Sound.

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The Sea Life Aquarium is home to both King and Gentoo penguins and we were able to watch them play in their icy environment.

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Next, on a moving walkway through an acrylic aquarium tunnel, we saw schools of fish and sharks swim around and above us.  We also saw stingray with six-foot wingspans and long barbed tails swimming gracefully in front of us.

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From the depths of the ocean to the heights of the Sky Tower, it was a dramatic change in scenery and elevation. An elevator took us to the main observation deck for panoramic views of Auckland and the Great Barrier Reef- some 60 miles away. The sky tower is the tallest building in the southern hemisphere. And while we were there three people jumped off the upper platform dangled for a minute n front of the observation windows before dropping at 75 mph to the landing spot below.  All survived!

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