Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Picture speak a thousand words #2

Standing at the 50th floor of the Auckland Sky Tower (182 metres) and being able to have a great view of Auckland is marvellous. The Maori name of Auckland is Tāmaki Makaurau

Seeing that there are many skyscrapers, lets scan through from left to right. The first one on the left is the white coloured PwC Tower standing taller in front of the AMP tower. The West Plaza Tower stands behind the AMP Tower and in front of the ANZ Centre. To the right is the Stamford Plaza Hotel and in front is the Quay West Apartments. Tower Insurance building and Zurich Tower sits on the right side of Quay West. Shifting a bit to the right, Mercure Hotel can be seen along with the Octagon shaped BNZ tower, Deloitte tower and the SAP tower which is all located on Queen Street. City Life Hotel is also located on the bottom right side of the picture located at Victoria Street East. Going upwards, the AIG building is located on the right side of the Vero Building which is the tallest building in New Zealand. Beyond the Vero Centre is the Lumley Centre along with ANZAC Avenue which University Students travel through to get to University. 

The best time to be at the Sky Tower is during a nice summer day where the sun sets past 7pm due to daylight savings. Auckland's weather does have mood swings like Melbourne with four seasons happening in a day. During bad weather with heavy winds, the tower sways like a rocking ship. Auckland is New Zealand's equivalent to Sydney as they also have their own tower and North Shore along with being the largest city. 

The picture taken is the best view to have as you can see Rangitoto, the harbour and the CBD's tall buildings. On the left, there is the ANZ Centre which stands at 143 metres and it was the tallest building during 1993 when it was built. You can see the ANZ Centre's exterior looking different as it renovated the outside area along with 22 floors refurbished. There had been reports of a new skyscraper being built behind the ANZ Centre being 65 stories tall. Eventually the Sky Tower rose at the height of 328 metres along with the Vero Building on the right which stands at 177 metres. It is currently New Zealand's tallest building and the structure on top is meant to be a halo when looking from the harbour. From the Sky Tower, it looks like a toilet seat. You'll probably think why the Vero building looks so short even though it is 5 metres shorter than the Sky Tower's 50th floor and that is because the Sky Tower is built on high ground. Built on 30 metres above sea level, the 50th floor is located at 212 metres high in the air. While people complained about the Sky Tower's Observation Deck being built so low, it's fair to say that the high ground provided extra height. 

Over the horizon, you can see Rangitoto Island which has been a dormant volcano which erupted 600 years ago. To the right, you could see Waiheke Island which is the home to New Zealand's upper class. You notice that Rangitoto looks taller as it is 260 metres tall which is the average height of many skyscrapers around the world. Ahead of Rangitoto is Auckland's North Shore (abit like Sydney's North Shore) and you could see the Devonport. The centuries long community has an extinct volcano (Mount Victoria) and has an old military base at the eastern end called North Head. North Head was built before World War One due to the fear of Russian invasion and it was used during World War Two to defend against a possible Japanese invasion. North Head has a network of tunnels with artillery and anti-aircraft guns to protect Auckland. Today North Head is a tourist site with dark tunnels to roam around. West of North Head is Devonport Naval Base which is the main base of the New Zealand Navy.

Auckland CBD is always active during weekdays and Saturday but is quiet during Sunday. The harbour has alot of boat movements along with container ships unloading cars and containers. In the photo, you could see a large cruise ship docked at the harbour. The harbour can dock as much as three cruise ships at any day. The cruise ships can vary from large ones carrying over 2000 passengers to small luxurious ones carrying as little as 80 passengers. During summer holiday season, big cruise ships come to stop over at Auckland during the morning and depart at/after sunset to another destination. The majority of cruise ship passengers are Australian or American providing Auckland businesses a major boost during the summer holidays. Looking from the Sky Tower, it is amazing to see how other buildings look short as they look tall from ground level. There is a mixture of towers ranging from office, hotel to residential. As Auckland's population surpasses 1.5 million with many living in the city, city planners want to go upwards with tall apartments. Auckland was once the capital of New Zealand before it shifted to Wellington and is the biggest city since the early days of European settlement. Among the skyscrapers, street life thrives heavily with many people heading to the city for work and pleasure. Queen Street is the most busiest where most businesses are located along with Britomart, Victoria Street and Albert Street. Britomart is a thriving area full of restaurants, bars and nightclubs along with the talk of a Waterfront Stadium for the 2011 Rugby World Cup but was later scraped in favour for Eden Park to host the World Cup final. The harbour had hosted the 2000 and 2003 America's Cup event with record crowds drawn and national pride heading up as Sir Peter Blake lead Team New Zealand to victory in 2000. Although narrowly losing the 2013 America's Cup, it would have been nice for the event to return to Auckland. 

The rope that is seen in the picture is the Sky Tower's Skyjump. It is a controlled jump from 53rd floor at 192 metres going down at 85kmh for around 11 seconds at the cost of NZD$225.