International Living, Travel Articles from New Zealand

Climbing like Spiderwoman in Auckland


-- Jan Pehrson, Sky Tower, Auckland, North Island, New Zealand

View from the Top – Auckland fromthe Sky Tower Crows Nest

View from the Top – Auckland fromthe Sky Tower Crows Nest

Now that I’m here, how can I get a birds eye view of the city of Auckland? How can I experience the ultimate view– a full 360 degree panorama – of all 48 volcanoes, the extensive waterways and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf?  By climbing the tallest mast in the Southern Hemisphere, that’s how, to the Crows Nest of the Auckland Sky Tower.

Sky Tower is the predominant icon and centerpiece of Auckland, the City of Sails. 


OK, I said, I wanted to see the America’s Cup racing first hand instead of in the sports bars back in the USA, I thought.  I can do this!  If I get scared, I just won’t look down.  Why be a passenger when I can participate? 


So I got up my nerve and signed up for the $50 Vertigo Climb, a fully guided two-hour tour, climbing inside the mast of Sky Tower, emerging at the outdoor deck at 1000 feet, for the highest view from a man made structure in the Southern Hemisphere. This is a world first – no other towers are accessed in this way. The climb is designed for people of most age groups and moderate fitness; climbers are locked on to an approved restraint system at all times and are fully supervised. Check them out at


Sure enough, I climbed the Sky Tower! That’s a photo of me at the top, not Spiderwoman!


The Vertigo brochure claims “the exertion level is the equivalent of a brisk 30 minute walk” and I’d have to agree, it wasn’t that difficult. After a training session by our guide, we took a fast elevator to the start of the climb itself, where we were firmly clipped on and climbed a hundred feet up a vertical ladder inside the tower.


And then we walked outside!   Wow was the view fantastic!