The Sky Tower is the first thing most visitors to Auckland will see. I had been travelling for up from Rotorua and as I approached the city the SkyTower could be seen rising above the other high rise buildings of New Zealands most populous city.
Surprisingly when I was actually in the city walking I struggled to see it. On occasions the only time I could see it was as a reflection on the glass windows of other buildings.
I have been up many tall structures across the world including the CN Tower in Toronto and The Shard in London but this was the tallest free standing structure in New Zealand so was a must – do visit.
The Sky Tower was built as part of a casino complex and has towered over Auckland`s skyline at 328 meters (1,076 ft) for almost 23 years. It is not just a telecommunications and observation tower, it is also an adrenaline junkies paradise! If I had wanted to I could have jumped off the tower and fallen 192 metres straight down to the bottom or walked a 1.2 metre wide platform around the towers pergola at 192 metres high whilst taking in the spectacular views supported only by a body harness and safety line, keeping me safe. Needless to say I did neither!
I opted instead to take in my views of the city from the comfort of the superb Orbit 360° Dining Restaurant on Level 52. The views were sensational and the food simply amazing!
Situated at the top of Auckland’s Sky Tower, the dining room rotates once every hour, providing a truly unique experience with amazing 360-degree panoramas of the city, the Hauraki Gulf and beyond.
Left: Taglionlini with Spanner Crab Chilli Spiked Kaikoura Shell Fish Sauce Right: New Zealand Riverland Beef Eye Fillet, Potato Gratin, Caralmelised Onion, Confit Portobello Mushrooms, Gremolata, Jus
I must admit to finding the experience a little disorientating to begin with. When I took my seat at the dining table I made a note of the toilets over my right shoulder. About ten minutes later I got up to use the facilities and turned to find they had gone! It took a while for me to get used to the revolving restaurant which I was dining in, New Zealands only rotating restaurant offering 360-degree views!
Left: Hawkes Bay Lamb Loin, Creamy Polenta, Eggplant, Zucchini, Sundried Ragout, Roast Baby Carrot & Jus Right: Porirua Pork Belly, Parsnip Cream, Grilled Onions, Fried Kale & Pork Floss
The dining had a relaxed and informal atmosphere but with professional service and simply inspirational food options based around a kiwi-inspired à la carte menu that featured some of the best local and seasonal produce.
Left: Passion Fruit & Mango Pebble Mousse, Passion Fruit Confit & Almond Sponge Right: Keke Tiakarete, Layered Chocolate Cake, Raspberry Jelly, Paleo Raspberry Sorbet
Despite having spent over two hours enjoying the spectacular views from our restaurant table I was keen to explore the whole of the tower so after our meal we took the elevator to the general public viewing level. The SkyTower attracts an average of 1,150 visitors per day (over 415,000 per year). Orbit 360°Diners can enjoy complimentary Sky Tower admission 45 minutes prior to and/or upon completion of dining.
It was fun walking across the glass squares peering down to the base of the tower below my feet, my wife was not so keen!
At the base of the Sky Tower, the SkyCity Auckland entertainment complex is home to two world-class hotels, Auckland’s premier dining precinct with over 20 bars and restaurants, a 700 seat theatre and a world-class Casino*.
I loved the Auckland SkyTower and the Orbit 360° Restaurant. It was an unforgettable experience and one I would fully recommend to anyone visiting Auckland.
SkyTower, Corner Victoria and Federal Streets (18,289.83 km)
1010 Auckland, New Zealand