Scoping out Auckland Art Gallery and Auckland Museum

On the last couple of Sundays we have taken trips to two of the city’s cultural offerings. 

Auckland Art Gallery is an architecturally stunning building and has recently been awarded World Building of the year. The original space was extended 2 years ago and has been redeveloped with expansive windows and wooden canopies. We headed to the gallery primarily for brunch and enjoyed the unusual but delicious Mexican dish of enchilada and pulled pork (with some of their finest English tea). After our hangover hunger was sated, we explored the galleries’ permanent exhibitions of NZ art throughout the centuries and an exhibition of one businesswoman’s vast and varied collection of contemporary art (which prompted an exchange of puzzled looks between us).

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After attending the recent opening of their Freedom Farmers exhibition (for Keeping Up with NZ), I took Rob for a look a better look around this new collection of native artists ‘growing ideas’. During the few hours we were at the gallery, we saw one of the Freedom Farmers artists giving a talk about their work and there was pottery followed by a drawing class on the mezzanine.

Last weekend we took a scenic walk to Parnell to visit Auckland Museum. With 25 permanent exhibitions across 3 floors, there was a lot to see! We started with pacific stories and Māori history, moving through Sir Edmund Hilary and Everest, to a replica of Downtown Auckland in 1866 and their War memorial floor, featuring Spitfire and Zero planes. A highlight of the day for me was
successfully sneaking up and scaring Rob while he wandered the WW1
trenches.

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In the natural disasters gallery, we experienced a living room simulation of a volcano eruption in modern Auckland (which is a scarily high risk!) Another gallery that we both enjoyed was the ‘weird and wonderful’ room (almost definitely designed for children), offering an interactive approach to the natural world.

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From the museum cafe where we enjoyed the banana cake

We arrived only spent the afternoon at the museum and could have easily spent the day there. I’m also sure we’ll visit the gallery again while we’re in Auckland.

  • Auckland Art Gallery is open daily 10am – 5pm and entry is free (with charges for special exhibitions). They also offer daily free tours at 11.30am and 1.30pm.
  • Auckland Museum is also open daily 10am – 5pm and general admission is $25 for international visitors. They also offer packages with tours and a Māori cultural performance.
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