New Zealand is known for so many things – its impressive scenery, adventure/extreme sports, and unique Maori culture. Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city and its international gateway, and you can experience all of these things and more during your visit. Like any other metropolitan area, Auckland has challenges in spots for wheelchair users – specifically its hills in many areas – but overall it’s a great place for wheelies to experience the awesome Kiwi hospitality. Here’s a list of some great wheelchair accessible things to to in Auckland, New Zealand.
1. Sky Tower. The Sky Tower has stood tall at 328 meters as an icon of Auckland’s sky line for 20 years. It’s an exciting hub of adrenaline activities, superb dining and breathtaking views. 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 theater, and a world-class casino. You can then take a quick elevator ride to the observation deck where you can view the entire city from 220 metres high above street level. If dining with a view is what you’re after, then you’re spoilt for choice with three restaurants and cafes up the Sky Tower – Orbit 360˚ Dining revolving restaurant (fully accessible at all levels thanks to an electric lift), the superbly chic and elegant The Sugar Club or relax with your coffee, cheese board, or ice cream at the Sky Café.
2. Auckland War Memorial Museum. The Auckland War Memorial Museum is one of New Zealand’s first Museums. The Museum tells the story of New Zealand, its place in the Pacific and its people. The Museum is a war memorial for the province of Auckland and holds one of New Zealand’s top three heritage libraries. It has pre-eminent Māori and Pacific collections, significant natural history resources and major social and military history collections, as well as decorative arts and pictorial collections. You can also see a fantastic 30-minute Maori cultural show with music and dance in the auditorium. A wheelchair ramp is located at the two main entrances, and there is also wheelchair access to the auditorium. There are accessible toilets located on the Ground Floor at both main entrances, as well as on Level One.
3. Auckland Harbour Cruise. Escape the city centre bustle and cruise the sparkling waters of Auckland’s beautiful Waitemata Harbour. Perfect if you have a tight itinerary, the Auckland Harbour Cruise tour offers the best view of four major Auckland icons – the Harbour Bridge, Rangitoto Island, Bean Rock and the Sky Tower- and much more. We even got to see people bungee jumping from underneath the Harbour Bridge! The cruise lasts 1.5 hours and is fully narrated. You may need a push to get over the arched gangway onto the ferry, but the crew is happy to help. You’ll have to stay on the bottom level, but I had a beautiful view outside at the rear of the ferry.
Thanks to my awesome electric scooter, I’m able to safely roll around destinations all over the world – including Aukcland. Find out if it’s a good fit for you, too! Pride Mobility Go-Go Ultra X 3-Wheel Travel Scooter
4. Auckland Art Gallery. The Auckland Art Gallery’s doors opened for the first time on Friday 17 February 1888. Sir George Grey’s gift formed the core of the early collection, and the museum shared the building with Auckland’s Free Public Library. From these beginnings focussing on European and British art, the Gallery now has more than 16,000 works in the collection. This includes major holdings of New Zealand historic, modern and contemporary art. These artworks plot a visual history of New Zealand, beginning with the first contact between Māori and European explorers in the 1600s. Outstanding works by Māori and Pacific Island artists are a powerful feature of the museum’s holdings, which are widely considered to comprise New Zealand’s pre-eminent public art collection. All galleries and facilities are wheelchair accessible, and wheelchairs are available from the front desk free of charge.
5. Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium. In this topsy-turvy aquarium sharks and stingrays swim over and around you in transparent tunnels that were once stormwater tanks. SEA LIFE is home to New Zealand’s only sub-Antarctic penguins and offers a myriad of opportunities to get up close and personal with incredible marine life from the Pacific and Southern oceans. Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium has worked with Be. Accessible to ensure it is as accessible as possible for visitors. The Aquarium is wheelchair accessible (there are two sets of stairs, which each have a wheel chair lift,) and disabled access is provided throughout the attraction.
6. New Zealand Maritime Museum. With the largest maritime collection in New Zealand, the Maritime Museum tells the remarkable stories of epic voyages and journeys that have shaped New Zealand’s history and identity. The Museum’s exhibitions explore the history and stories of the Polynesian people’s migration across the Pacific, European exploration, immigration and trade, the country’s modern yachting success and their relationship with the Sea. Most of the museum’s facilities can be accessed by all customers. There is one ship ‘Rewa’ in the Landfalls Gallery that is only accessed by stairs, but everything else has an alternative ramp. There are two accessible toilets located on the lower level of the museum.
Flights to New Zealand can be VERY long. Give your legs a rest with this inflatable foot rest to help your circulation: STYDDI 2 Pack Inflatable Foot Rest Pillow Cushion
7. Auckland Zoo. Less than 4 miles southwest of downtown Auckland is one of Auckland’s premier animal attractions: the Auckland Zoo. This sprawling animal sanctuary, which boasts the largest number of exotic and native animals in New Zealand, features everything from fur seals to lions to brown kiwis. In addition to offering an array of people-friendly facilities, the zoo provides plenty of roaming space for animals. Approximately 90% of Auckland Zoo is accessible by manual wheelchair, and 70% by mobility scooter. A map explaining inaccessible areas is available free of charge on request from the cashiers or at the Zoo’s Information Centre near the main entrance. Should you require a caregiver to accompany you at the Zoo, they will receive free entry.
8. Museum of Transport and Technology. The largest museum of its kind in New Zealand, MOTAT offers a fun, interactive, and educational experience. Explore fascinating exhibitions telling stories of the history and development of New Zealand transport, technology and Kiwi ingenuity. MOTAT offers exciting School Holiday Experiences with a new theme and additional activities every school holidays. Visit the original Pumphouse, wander through the historic village or ride the heritage tram to the Aviation Display Hall which houses one of the largest aviation collections in the Southern Hemisphere. Standard MOTAT policy is to allow visitors with impairments and their caregiver free general admission entry to the Museum during standard days and times of operation. A large number of MOTAT’s public areas are accessible, but as MOTAT operates as a working museum not all areas are fully accessible. All exhibition and display spaces have power assist doors or wide entrance spaces, and access to the mezzanine at the Aviation Display Hall at MOTAT Meola Road is available by elevator. Areas with access include exhibition and display spaces, the MOTAT Shops, Araroa Tearooms and public restroom – access to café is through the front only. Only MOTAT trams with wide doors (such as the Melbourne trams) can accommodate wheelchairs and a caregiver must be available to lift visitor onto the tram.
Are you ready for a wheelchair accessible Kiwi adventure in Auckland, New Zealand? Contact me at Spin the Globe/Travel so I can help you start planning!
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