amazing Toyota SPRINTER 1.5 ,automatic transmission , very low consume ,...
Diving at the National Aquarium of NZ, Napier
If you want to get up close and personal to a huge range of marine animals and native species, make sure you pay a visit to the National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier.
You can get almost within touching distance of New Zealand natives, the iconic kiwi and the tuatara, which is a large iguana-type reptile found only on islands off the New Zealand mainland.
The oceanarium has hundreds of fish to check out as they swim and feed above and around you. But if you're a certified diver, you can take the plunge and actually get inside the tank and hang out with its watery residents.
These residents include a total of 16 sharks, and four short-tailed stingrays, along with heaps of different fish - including yellow eyed mullet, snapper, red moki, tarakihi, trevally, red gurnard, kahawhai, scarlet wrasse, kingfish, groper, blue mao mao, spiny dog fish, blue cod and kelpfish.
It was a surreal experience. I set off from the side of the oceanarium and soon I was eyeballing a seven gill shark, then having a stingray flap over my shoulder. People walking on the travelator below the oceanarium were looking up and waving at me. So I waved and smiled back. They must have wondered what I was doing in there. Well, I was having way too much fun, that's for sure.
It was kind of strange being able to swim next to and above four different species of sharks - they are pretty majestic creatures close-up.
I wasn't too worried about being on the menu for lunch, as I was reliably informed they had already been fed. So that was a relief.
You can also feed a kahawhai or snapper as part of the dive programme, and even get married in the Pania tank!
Bookings are essential to dive with the sharks.
It costs $62.50 per person. Student divers cost $28. Gear is $31 and $6.50 for the tank.
The National Aquarium also has a Behind the Scenes Tour, where you can have close encounters with animals, prepare food, feed different creatures, and find out more about some of the sophisticated aquarium equipment. Personalised tours are also available on request.
You can find the National Aquarium on Napier's foreshore on Marine Parade in Napier. It's a 15 minute walk from the centre of the city, past the Visitor Information Centre.
The city's first purpose-built aquarium opened in 1976 and after an $8 million redevelopment, the National Aquarium of New Zealand officially opened in March 2002.
Your journey around the National Aquarium takes you first to the Great Lakes of Africa, to South America, Asia, Australia , the Pacific Islands and to New Zealand . You can eyeball a seven gill shark, admire backdrops made by those who worked on the Lord of the Rings movie sets or have your photo taken with a blue-tongued skink crawling on your arm.
General admission to the National Aquarium is $15.50 for adults.
It is open seven days a week from 9am until 5pm, closed on Christmas Day.
Hand feeding in the reef tank is at 10am, hand feeding in the ocean tank is at 2pm and Behind the Scenes Tours are at 9am and 1pm.
Rachel Pinder stayed at Napier YHA, which can be found on the beachfront on Marine Parade, close to all Napier's seaside attractions, including the National Aquarium, Marineland, Ocean Spa, mini golf and museum. The hostel has spacious twin/double/shared and single rooms and a sunny cobbled courtyard (with a BBQ) for chilling out. There are a range of excellent facilities, including a fully equipped kitchen, a spacious TV/video lounge, laundry, storage and internet facilities. For more details, or to make a booking, contact manager Bob Stansbury on 06 835 7039 or visit www.yha.co.nz