Arising 328 metres from the Auckland cityscape, Sky Tower is the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere. Not only is it a telecommunication tower, there are observation decks offering 360° views and the opportunity for thrill seekers to walk outside on a platform 192 metres above ground or, if you are so inclined, to jump off said platform.
We took the more sedate approach and rode the glass bottomed elevator to level 51 to take in the panorama. We could see for miles beyond the suburb of Devonport and Rangitoto Island to the Hauraki Gulf.
Looking down Victoria Street to Albert Park, you can see a black cable running vertically outside, I’ll get to that.
Another gorgeous view toward Bastion Point, a perfect day for a spot of sailing (and that cable again).
Looking over Auckland Domain with the hospital just right of centre and the War Memorial Museum on the far side of the gardens.
I will mention here that the tower is designed to sway up to one metre in excessively high winds and to withstand an 8.0 magnitude earthquake. All very reassuring. Puketutu Island is in the southerly distance with Eden Park, New Zealand’s largest sports stadium, centre of photo.
Back on the northern side, Westhaven Marina is home to over 2,000 boats, the biggest marina in the Southern Hemisphere. Auckland Harbour Bridge connects the city with the North Shore across Waitemata Harbour.
Coming full circle, Princes Wharf and the cruise ship terminals are below us.
Now, about that cable. As I mentioned, those who feel the need can experience SkyJump, a 192 metre vertical fall reaching 85km/h. The jump is controlled by guide cables so the jumper doesn’t collide with the tower in a gust of wind. Two young men, suitably attired for the plunge, accompanied us in the lift on the way up. A video screen shows live footage of the preparations to those on the observation deck and with an element of luck, I snapped one as he sped past the window.
His descent was certainly rapid, presumably he was still conscious when he reached the ground.
The tower is eerily majestic at night, lit with over a hundred LED lights that are sometimes coloured to show support for various celebrations and events.
We had already made plans for dinner, otherwise the revolving restaurant on level 52 would have been a fitting end to another wonderful day in Auckland.