New Zealand offers senior travelers an abundance of unforgettable sights and experiences that are simply out-of-this-world. Relax on beaches, experience dramatic landscapes or take part in one of New Zealand’s famed hikes (known as tramping), accessible tours are the ideal way to take full advantage of all this country has to offer.
Explore glowworm caves, cruise with whales and discover Milford Sound on a tour tailored to meet your individual needs – it will all be done comfortably!
1. Auckland War Memorial Museum
The Auckland War Memorial Museum (Te Wahanga Paenga Hira) was one of New Zealand’s first museums and has become an internationally popular attraction. Home to one of New Zealand’s premier heritage research libraries and an unparalleled encyclopaedic collection of historical objects and art, this world-class institution continues to attract thousands of visitors each year.
These collections focus on two themes: New Zealand at War and Auckland/New Zealand social history. The former encompasses military culture and material culture with particular attention given to Aucklanders’ experiences across all wars.
A particular strength of the Museum lies in its expansive holdings of Maori art, including taonga Maori, Pacific and other ethnographic materials as well as archaeological collections. Additionally, the museum serves as a major source for New Zealand history with strong natural history and pictorial collections.
The Museum’s galleries are accessible to Deaf and Hard of Hearing visitors using New Zealand Sign Language, thanks to a project that began with its two major gallery redevelopment projects: Tamaki Herenga Waka: Stories of Auckland and Te Whiwhinga The Imaginarium. Since then, more than 200 text labels across its other galleries have also been made sign language-ready.
2. Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium
Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium was the creation of New Zealand marine archaeologist and diver Kelly Tarlton. Opening its doors to visitors in 1985, this world-class aquarium brought visitors closer to marine life and aquarium aquarium. Housed within disused sewage storage tanks, one of its features included conveyor belts to move visitors slowly through viewing tunnels; additionally it pioneered new methods of acrylic shaping which allowed for creating curved tunnels rather than flat panels like had been done previously.
The Aquarium features 13 distinct zones and 30 exhibits with more than 80 marine species, including King and Gentoo penguins as well as Sand Tiger and Wobbegong sharks – the latter are unique displays in their own right! Additionally, Wobbegong Sharks make regular appearances.
At feeding time, visitors will see penguins waddling, swimming and nesting in their natural environment. We especially enjoyed seeing an elderly King Penguin with arthritis-affected feet who moved very slowly but with determination. Furthermore, the aquarium offers an incredible turtle rehabilitation centre featuring Kibou, one of its many rescue loggerhead turtles.
3. Auckland Zoo
New Zealand may be best known as an adventure destination, yet senior travelers have plenty to look forward to visiting the “Land of God’s Own.” Thanks to its small size, easy accessibility to every part of the country, and welcoming culture – New Zealand makes an attractive travel destination.
New Zealand offers year-round sunshine and warmth. To see baby animals, the Auckland Zoo in spring (though any time of year can be good) or join The Kiwi Experience and become intimately familiar with an animal nursery is best.
The zoo offers a dedicated accessible carpark, an access-friendly ticketing booth and four cafes with level entry. Wheelchairs are available and may be rented directly on-site; additionally there are accessible toilets as well as support dogs being welcomed onsite.
4. Sky Tower
Sky Tower stands 328 meters (1,076, feet). As one of Auckland, New Zealand’s tallest structures and second tallest free-standing structures in the Southern Hemisphere.
Experience panoramic views of Auckland by riding up in one of the glass-fronted lifts to the main observation deck, where Instagram-worthy shots can be taken of Auckland and its islands. Or experience more thrills by Sky Walking round the pergola at 192 meters up or SkyJumping off of the tower for an exhilarating experience.
The Sky Tower is wheelchair-accessible with accessible bathrooms at both its base and main observation deck, as well as offering dining experiences like Orbit 360 Dining’s revolving restaurant or Sugar Club cafe that provide breathtaking panoramic views.
Take your own self-guided tour or join a guided one that includes it! On this tour, you’ll drive through Queen Street and Dominion Parks & Gardens before reaching the Sky Tower. Afterward, Ponsonby– a hip neighborhood home to Prego and Bedford Soda & Liquor bars-and-restaurants–will also be worth visiting!
5. Orbit 360 Dining
New Zealand is widely considered one of the most accessible countries worldwide, featuring fully accessible restaurants, hotels, beaches and adventure tours. New Zealand also prioritizes inclusive tourism by rating businesses according to accessibility through their Be Accessible initiative.
Orbit 360 Dining can be found atop Auckland’s Sky Tower and features incredible panoramic views. Diners can select from an extensive, modern Kiwi menu while Orbit 360 rotates once an hour offering new vantage points every time! Guests can take advantage of free Sky Tower admission 45 minutes prior to and post meal as well as discounted car parking at SkyCity Auckland.
Make the most out of your visit to Orbit by booking a table for lunch or dinner and visiting on a clear day – to maximize the experience!