New Zealand Maritime Museum
This museum was amazing, packed full of stories and interactive exhibits.
If I could have visited only one place in Auckland, it would be this museum (although I haven’t seen the war memorial museum yet).
At the start of their section on the first settlers of New Zealand (“New Beginnings”), you pick a ticket at random. At the end of the room, you find out more about your character, as well as how he or she lived and died. One of the features was a teacher and activist who married at 66, and another ran a brothel and died at 23, so it’s quite the array of personalities.
My favorite room was Kiwis and the Coast, which has an awesome lighthouse section. You can learn all about the history of lighthouses in New Zealand, how they work, and how to send an SOS in Morse.
Tip: if you get hungry, check out Mecca across from the museum. I had the servers recommendation of Moroccan eggs with a freshly squeezed apple, carrot, and orange juice. I also saw a group of lucky kids learn about ocean safety on a boat in the harbor.
Auckland Art Gallery
Entrance to the main gallery is free, with prices for their special exhibitions. I paid an extra $15 to see A Space to Dream, which centered around South American revolutionist art.
I like art, but it straddles the line for me. A common theme I saw in the “art” was destruction of public property, which I honestly think is inconsiderate.
Not an art person? Albert Park is right next door, and it’s a beautiful place to explore. Due to the weather and limited time I only caught a glimpse of it, but it’s gorgeous.