Explore Poverty Bay, Hawke’s Bay and the Wairarapa
The National Aquarium of New Zealand is one of the finest in the country, with distinct marine environments from Africa, Asia and Australia, plus a substantial New Zealand section. At the time of writing, a display for penguins rescued from the defunct Marine World was under construction; once open it should add to the aquarium’s already excellent reputation.
The most spectacular section is the ocean tank, its Perspex walk-through tunnel giving intimate views of rays and assorted sharks; try to time your visit for one of the hand-feeding sessions. There’s more hand feeding at the reef tank, plus behind-the- scenes tours and the chance to swim with the sharks in the ocean tank. Within the controlled environment of the tank and without shark cages or nets this is a rare chance to come face-to-face with these ‘monsters’ of the deep.
There are also excellent non-aquatic sections on New Zealand’s reptilian tuatara, and a nocturnal kiwi house.