If you have ever ventured from your nest and made it as far as Auckland, New Zealand, the one thing that will have undoubtedly stuck in your memory is the Sky Tower. That iconic tower, shaped like a needle, that belittles the surrounding buildings and has over 500,000 visitors walking through its doors annually, that's over 1450 people per day!
The tower can withstand wind gusts of up to 200km/h and earthquakes up to 8 on the Richter Scale, which in a geothermic active country like New Zealand, is a great comfort to have. Standing at a mind blowing 382m high, it is the tallest man made structure in the Southern Hemisphere, just nudging past the Eureka Skydeck in Melbourne and the Q1 in Gold Coast.
Unlike the other two structures, which include residential areas inside the building, The SkyTower was built as an observation and telecommunications tower. Construction began in the later months of 1995 and was completed in March 1997, 6 months ahead of schedule.
Inside there are 3 amazing observation decks, all with spectacular 360 degree views of Auckland, and one that includes 38mm sections of glass flooring to give a breathtaking view, straight down to the Auckland City pavement, definitely not for the faint hearted. On a clear day you can see for 82km in every direction from the highest , the Skydeck, located at 220m above the ground and just below the main antenna. There's also a cafe, multiple bars and two restaurants located inside, with the Orbit Restaurant, at 190m high, rotating a full 360 degrees every hour!
Even the elevators are glass fronted to give you an amazing view of the Auckland skyline on the way up to the observation areas. The elevators can carry 225 people to the observation deck every 15 minutes and travel at a speed of 18km/h. It takes passengers from the ground floor up to the observation deck in 40 seconds. If you would prefer to take your time and walk, feel free, there's only 1267 steps from the base to the Skydeck, which is a bit more like a hike.
Skycity Casino is New Zealand's premier gaming venue and is located in the lower levels of the tower. It is a two level gaming complex, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with over 1600 gaming machines, 100 different tables playing all the classic casino games!
The Sky City theatre is also located here and is a great venue for local and international events. It features state of the art technology for stage and cinema facilities, why not enjoy a nice beer or wine before the show in the Theatre Bar located in the foyer.
In true New Zealand adrenalin pumping style, the Sky Tower also offers the world's highest land based jump, the SkyJump. Located 192m above the ground, the SkyJump is a controlled jump, so not a free fall, but participants still reach speeds of 85 kmh. It is cable guided down the tower to prevent jumpers from colliding with the tower in high wind gusts. The fall takes about 11 seconds before coming safely to a stop in Sky City Plaza below.
If jumping off the SkyTower doesn't sound like you, then how about walking around the top instead? The SkyWalk takes you around the edge of the SkyTower on a 1.2m wide walk way with nothing but air on either side of you – 192m up. Get the views of your life while getting an amazing rush at the same time.
So as you can see there really is something to please everyone in the SkyTower whether it's the jump, the walk, the food, the bars, the casino, the theatre or the view.