North Island

A nature-lover’s delight; New Zealand’s North Island famed for its picturesque coastlines, rugged volcanic landscape, geothermal pools and renowned Hobbiton movie set presents visitors with a superfluity of sights, sounds, smells and tastes to experience and enjoy. With Maori culture tightly ingrained into the warm style of hospitality, guests will be certain to take with them new knowledge about New Zealand’s rich history and are sure to be dazzled with every stop of their journey.

 

Best Western offers accommodation in the North Island at the following locations:

AUCKLAND

Best Western BK’s Pioneer Motor Lodge
Best Western Ellerslie International Motor Inn
Best Western Newmarket Inn and Suites
Best Western President Hotel Auckland

HAMILTON
Best Western Hygate Motor Lodge

ROTORUA
Best Western Braeside Resort

WELLINGTON
Best Western Wellington

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Guaranteed to be a memorable day out for everyone, Butterfly Creek is unique, fun, and educational! This family friendly Auckland attraction has a number of special exhibits and animal collections that will no doubt appeal to any wildlife lover.

Since opening in late 2003, Butterfly Creek has attracted many visitors from around the world with their immersive exhibits. This attraction can easily be crossed off of your ‘things to do in Auckland’ checklist with its convenient location right by the airport.

 

Highlights of Butterfly Creek

The Butterfly House

Inside the Butterfly House, your childhood dream of being immersed among living butterflies can be a dream come true. Watch in wonder as they flutter around you and, if you’re lucky enough, land on you! Here’s a tip, if you want to attract these beautiful insects – butterflies are attracted to bright colours such as red, blue and orange. Get in early if you want the best spot when they release the newly hatched butterflies, daily from 10am and 3pm!

 

Train

Choo choo! All aboard! Ride around Butterfly Creek on the Red Admiral Express train as it makes it way to Dinosaur Kingdom and passes through the tunnel. Trains depart every half hour, starting at 10:15am on weekends and 10:45am on weekdays.

Please note that the train is not included in the ticket prices for Butterfly Creek, and is purchased separately.

 

Crocodiles

Scar and Goldie enjoy having a great audience. These impressive Aussie Saltwater crocodiles weigh more than half a ton each. Catch them in action with their keepers at the croc talk, daily at 1:00pm.

 

Must See and Do

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Cotton-top Tamarin monkeys will steal your heart with their cuteness. These types of Tamarins were once found in several Central American countries, but are now found only in the rainforests of Northwestern Colombia. Luckily for you, four of these cheeky little animals can be found at Butterfly Creek. Miracle, Chaska, Merida and Ay were re-homed from Franklin Zoo after its recent closure, and have since enjoyed the limelight as visitors flock to see these rare creatures.

Catch them as they feed on insects, fruit, small invertebrates and other plant material daily at 2:00pm at the Monkey feedings.

 

Dinosaur Kingdom

Auckland’s own Jurassic Park – the Dinosaur Kingdom – will take you back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the land. With over 30 dinosaurs, this attraction features fossils, skeletons and lifelike dinosaur displays. Snap some great photos and give your friends dinosaur-envy.

 

Buttermilk Farm

Get up close with some of your favourite farm animals in this highly interactive farmyard – children are welcome to hold and pat the animals. The kids will love petting the soft coats of the rabbits, or feeding the goats as they eat right out of the palm of their hands! Say hello to Mila, the resident labrador farm dog who’s always looking for a good pat, and dance along with lorikeet Freddie. Don’t miss all the cute rabbits, guinea pigs, Angora and mixed breed goats, alpacas, sheep and pigs, as well as the chickens and other birds that like to roam around!

 

Junior Keeper

Do you have a child who loves animals and want to learn more about them? The Junior Keeper programme will give your kids the ultimate hands-on experience as they learn what it takes to be a zookeeper. From cleaning, feeding, monitoring, and of course caring and playing with the animals, your junior keeper will be buzzing around Butterfly Creek for the day. Make sure you book your child in early, as places can fill up quick!

Visiting Butterfly Creek

Butterfly Creek is a convenient and short 20km drive south of Auckland city, or a 2 minute drive from the domestic and international airports.

If you’re coming from Auckland city, the Airbus Express bus takes you to the airport terminals. From there, Butterfly Creek is a short 5 minute walk.

Butterfly Creek prices range from $10 to $27, depending on the options and age of attendee. If you’re bringing friends and family along, grab a 10% discount for groups of 10 or more. Children under 3 enter for free.

 

Butterfly Creek opening hours:

April – October
9:30 to 5:00pm, last entry 4:00pm

November – March
9:30 to 5:00pm, last entry at 4:00pm (Monday to Friday)
9:30 to 5:30pm, last entry at 4:30pm (Weekends, school & public holidays)

After a long day having fun immersed in Butterfly Creek’s attractions and exhibits, why not sit back, relax and take a much deserved break at one of Best Western’s Auckland accommodations?

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Which suburb in Auckland houses one of the highest natural points in all of Auckland? If you answered “Mt Eden”, then you sure know your Auckland attractions. Visit Mount Eden (located in Mt Eden), and take in spectacular 360 degree views of the surrounding city from the dormant volcano.

Mt Eden is a vibrant community, approximately five kilometres south of the Auckland CBD. The Mt Eden Village Centre at its heart boasts many cafés, small shops, and restaurants, cementing its popularity with locals and tourists, alike. Best of all, it’s easy to get to by public transport.

 

Exploring Mt Eden Village

Mt Eden is chock full of character and heritage. Many of the village’s original buildings remain today. It’s a pleasure to stroll around the tree-lined streets, admiring the leafy trees that border the Californian and English bungalows, built during the 1870s to 1930s.

If nature is more your cup of tea, the 5.5 acre award-winning Eden Gardens is a great way for some flora and fauna sightseeing. Enjoy the native New Zealand plants and birds with the sound of waterfalls in the background, while taking in the magnificent views of the city and harbour.

 

Mt Eden Restaurants and Shopping

Specialty food shops may be few and far between in many rural areas, but Mt Eden Village is well known for their long-standing gourmet stores.

The Mt Eden Village Fish Shop has been passed down for three generations and serves some of the best fish and chips in Auckland.

For some fresh meat and produce, Mt Eden Traditional Butchery has more than half a century’s worth of experience in selling quality cuts, while K.C Loo Fruit and Vegetables has been serving the village for almost the same amount of time!

 

Climb the summit to Mt Eden Domain

If you’re after the million dollar view, Mount Eden, or Mt Eden Domain, towers over the city at 196 metres high. It’s the perfect outlook for some truly breathtaking Auckland sightseeing. That in itself should be tempting enough to be on the top of your list of things to see in Auckland.

Incredible views aside, how many of your friends or family can claim that they stood on the edge of an old volcano crater? Well, here’s your chance to outshine everyone. Mount Eden’s main feature is its cone – a grass covered crater that is an impressive fifty metres deep.

While on your heritage walk around the area, or at the summit, keep your eye out for Tamki Hikoi hosts. Every day between 9am and 5pm, they share their knowledge about the maunga (mountain) with you.

Entrances to the park via Mt Eden Road and Tahaki Drive open at 7am each morning, and close at 11pm each night.

 

Getting to Mt Eden

Mt Eden Village is easy to get to with two available bus services – a fast commuter service, and a scenic route that takes you around key destinations and suburbs, in and around Auckland. Look for the 274 or 277 Metro bus, or the Bright Red or Green City LINK and Inner LINK services.

For drivers, Mt Eden Village is a short 15-minute drive from Auckland Airport, and 5 minutes from downtown Auckland.

After a long day of fun and sightseeing at Mt Eden, why not kick back and take a much deserved rest at one of Best Western’s hotels?

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Plantation for Green Thumbs

Take a relaxing stroll through Auckland Botanic Gardens. It’s impressive 64 hectares are blooming with plants from all around the world, with over 10,000 of them waiting to be discovered, this really is one of the great free attractions in Auckland.

A close 20-minute drive from the city and 15 minutes from Auckland International Airport, Auckland Botanic Gardens is situated right next to the Southern Motorway in Manurewa.

The Botanic Gardens are open daily from 8am to 8pm during Daylight Saving Hours and 8am to 6pm during Non Daylight Saving Hours.

 

Must See and Do

A nirvana for every gardener, the Auckland Botanic Gardens in full bloom is a sight for sore eyes – if you have allergies, remember to come prepared!

Check out the different collections – from temperate to tropical – and grab some great tips and gardening advice for your own vegetation.

Start off at the edibles garden. You’ll be enticed by the tasty fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and edible flowers that are blossoming here. There’s also composting displays to provide you with some savvy gardening and cultivation ideas for your home garden.

Not to be missed in the Auckland Botanic Gardens are the New Zealand natives. This extensive collection includes four main areas, including an extensive list of threatened local species that can’t be seen in any other country.

If you’re searching for an explosion of colours, the magnolias, roses and camellia gardens in the Spring Blossom Valley are perfect for you. Then, change things up a bit by following the path to the African garden, populated with plants from one of the richest floral areas in the world – southern Africa.

Your nose might start following the aroma of the nearby herbs when you pass over the narrow brick paths to the Herb Garden. Breathe in the fragrance of lavender, rosemary, thyme, mint while you walk past the range of herbal trees and shrugs of pomegranate and mulberry, to name a few!

If you see a gardener working on the plants, don’t be shy and feel free to pick their brains (or green thumbs!) for advice.

 

Highlights

If you want to have a wander around with a guide, there are free hour-long walks on Wednesday from 1-2pm. Rock up at the visitor centre and learn about all the seasonal highlights. If Wednesday doesn’t work for you, there’s also the option to book a Group Guided Walk.

Auckland Botanic Gardens is a great attraction for kids too. Hop on the Wiri Rambler Train for a ride of a lifetime. It runs every Sunday from midday till 3pm, weather permitted of course.

Not to be missed is the award-winning Potter Children’s Garden. It’s the perfect place for kids to have fun and get their hands dirty in the garden. You can also book them a workshop here!

 

Conferences, Functions and Weddings

Step out of the norm and hold you next function at the Auckland Botanic Gardens. Give your guests a unique experience at one of the beautiful facilities.

Searching for your Auckland wedding venue? Don’t miss out on one of the three outdoor wedding sites that can cater to up to 200 guests. There’s no better place to spend your special day than having immaculately cared for flora serving as a backdrop.

With the Gardens situated a close 15 minutes from the airport, it’s a breeze for guests to find Auckland accommodation and hotels close by.

 

Visiting Auckland Botanic Gardens

Begin your journey at the gardens at the Visitor Centre. Here you can refresh yourself with a coffee from Café Miko as you plan your journey through the beautiful and fascinating plants.

Visit the library if you have some challenging questions that need to be answered. It has over 2500 horticultural books, journals and magazines, so you can dig a little deeper to what you’ve been searching for.

The Visitor Centre is open daily from 8am to 4:30pm on weekdays and 8am to 5pm on weekends (Daylight Saving Hours). During Non Daylight Saving Hours, it’s open 8am to 4pm daily. The Centre is closed on Christmas Day.

You can head to the library on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 11am to 3pm. It’s closed on Christmas Day.

Cafe Miko is open daily from 8am to 4pm and closed on Christmas Day.

After a long day at the Auckland Botanic Gardens, kick back and relax your feet at one of Best Western’s hotels.

6 January 2015 0 More on