Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter
to stay in Auckland
to do in Auckland
the Auckland Harbour Bridge
Auckland's picturesque waterfront there is a tourist attraction
that - if you didn't know it was there - you could very easily miss.
is Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World - and
it is one of those rare spots on the globe in which you can get
very close to a colony of King and Gentoo penguins.
spectacular creatures live within a South Polar atmosphere that
emulates actual conditions in the wintry southernmost reaches of
than three tonnes of fresh ice is created daily to make the large
birds feel more at home.
are the second largest penguins - only the Emperor is bigger - and
they grow to 95 centimetres high and weigh in at an average 17 kilos.
Gentoos are slightly shorter (up to 90 centimetres) but their weight
is generally around 7 kilos.
reach the penguin area through a life-size wooden replica of Sir
Robert Falcon Scott's Antarctic hut.
is a fascinating look at how the early polar explorers lived in
the freezing conditions with examples of the clothes they wore,
including sealskin and woollen mittens, the kitchen and its iron
stove and pots, tin mugs, as well as the food larder - complete
with bottles of Worcestershire sauce.
are original mementos from the Scott hut, together with late-Victorian/early-Edwardian
items including a piano, gramophone, books, lamps and, of course,
a picture of King Edward VII.
through the hut you come to the highlight of a visit to Kelly Tarlton's
and that is a ride into the Antarctic via a small snowcat that takes
you through the zero-degrees enclosure.
start of this ride is senses-boggling as they take you through a
rotating tunnel that brings on the disorientation you feel during
a white-out snowstorm. And, it is fair to say, that even though
one part of your mind knows you are still on the rail-pulley system
your brain sends signals thinking you are about to be tipped over.
freaky stuff and it will not suit those who suffer from claustrophobia.
Tarlton's may need to look at a second way into their prize exhibit.
When you break out into the main area, however, it is magnificent.
penguins are truly remarkable and I wish there had been a chance
to stop the snowcat and just sit and watch them in action. A static
viewing area would be ideal for both quiet contemplation and taking
the Antarctic Experience you enter Kelly Tarlton's underwater area.
Tarlton is a famous New Zealand diver and his use of acrylic tunnels
to let people walk under and through the swimming sea creatures
was one of the first in the Southern Hemisphere.
was opened in 1985 and, having spent many enjoyable hours at the
Melbourne aquarium, the age of Kelly Tarlton's shows. Fortunately
it is going to undergo an expansion soon.
are two areas that grabbed the children's attention in the underwater
first was the tank containing giant crayfish that were more than
a little cranky with others that popped into their plot of sand
and rock. These guys were seriously big and just about everyone
who came into the area sat down and watched them for quarter of
an hour or so.
viewing tunnels were also fine with sharks, rays and other marine
creatures swimming up and over you.
it has to be said that Melbourne's aquarium is a better example
and seemed to have larger fish stocks.
is a Discovery Room for children where they can find out what it
is like to be an octopus, get hands-on in a rock pool and check
out cool scientific stuff.
9.00am - 6.00pm daily (Last entry 5.00pm).
Adult (15+) $26.
Students (15+ with ID) $20.
Child (5 - 14) $10
Child (4 years) $6.
Pre-schoolers are free.
Family Tickets 1 Adult, 2 Children $40.
1 Adult, 3 Children $50.
1 Adult, 4 Children $55.
2 Adults, up to four Children $59.