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.

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