There she is. The crowning feature of the city skyline, piercing the blue sky with her needle-like top. The Auckland Sky Tower is the epi-center for thrill seekers and casual visitors alike.
It was a sunny Sunday afternoon, and I was out strolling. I had just finished with a fabulous Sunday brunch experience and thought a walk would be an excellent way to help settle all those fritters in my stomach. My intention was to wander aimlessly, but the tower kept calling. Like a magnet, she kept luring me in until I was standing right below.
And there she was. And since the weather was so perfect, why not go to the top? The Auckland Sky Tower is part of Sky City, an entertainment complex with hotels, restaurants, bars and a casino. But I wasn’t into all that jazz on this day. I just wanted to climb 51 floors to the very top. Otherwise known as the Main Observation Level.
The views from this vantage point are incredible. And what luck to have such a clear day! The forecast predicted rain for the entire weekend, and it had indeed rained the entire day before. And I mean the entire day. But the clouds gave way to spectacular sunshine, and the perfect conditions for checking out Auckland from above.
The glass windows of the Main Observation Level are tinted and a bit dirty – not ideal for crisp, clear photos – but I won’t hold that against them. They’d be quite difficult to clean I imagine. Although they could always ask one of the jumpers. Yes, you heard me correctly. People actually jump off the top of this thing. Adrenaline junkies have the options of base-jumping off of Level 53, or for those only slightly less daring, walking the edge of the building on a narrow platform, 192 meters high. Ummm… I’ll pass on that one. The elevator with glass doors looking out was enough for me, thanks!
You see those wires? They’re the cables that people slide down during their jumps. And the clock in the upper right corner provides a countdown for the next person to hurl themselves off the building. Made my knees weak just looking at the thing!
No, base-jumping and sky walking are a touch too far outside my comfort zone. I’d like to continue my trip in New Zealand without the chance of bodily harm, either from smacking concrete or the heart attack I’d surely have along the way. I did go down though, one level. To the Sky Lounge Café & Bar. There I sipped on a gorgeous elderflower martini, steeling myself for the elevator ride back down to ground level (I was NOT aware of the glass doors on the elevator prior to reaching about Level 40 or so. Nor of the glass panels on the floor of the elevator. Apparently they get a kick out of scaring the sh*t out of people!).
Overall it was an excellent way to pass the afternoon, and something that was on my list for Auckland. So I got to check that one off sooner than expected. And, I made it to the ground just in time to watch some other fool throw himself off the building. And I paused for a moment to thank the powers that be that my feet were safely back on the ground.