The Sky Tower
The Sky Tower dominates the skyline in Auckland. It doesn't matter where you go in Auckland, you can see the Sky Tower from every direction. The slender tower reaches up above all the other buildings.
The Sky Tower was completed in 1997. It took two years and four months to build. The city workers looked on in amazement as the foundations were dug fifteen metres into the ground. This was important to spread the weight of the Sky Tower. Then everyone was astounded as the tallest man-made structure in the Southern Hemisphere reached 328 metres (1076 ft) into the sky. They had to be very careful to build it straight. The tower is very strong. You don't have to worry that the wind will blow it over, even though the top can sway as much as a metre. You don't even have to worry about an earthquake, as even a very strong earthquake would not bring the Sky Tower tumbling down.
There are two main purposes for the tower. One is for telecommunications. It has world-class radio beacons at the top. The other purpose is for entertainment. It is a big tourist destination. A lot of the tourists who visit Auckland go up the Sky Tower. The elevators have glass windows, so while you glide upwards for 18 seconds, you can glimpse the view through windows in the concrete sides of the tower. It's a little bit scary, but not too bad!
Once you get to the top, there is a viewing platform with 360 degree views. There are glass panels set into the floor of the viewing deck, so you can feel as if you are standing on the air and looking down. When you look out the window, you can see 82 kilometres into the distance on a clear day. Even the locals like to go up regularly to look at the beautiful views of the city and the harbour. If it is a good windy day, you can see lots of sailing ships racing on the sea.
There are also restaurants at the top of the tower. The Orbit Restaurant is a revolving restaurant and travels around slowly so you can look at the beautiful view while you are eating your dinner.
Are you adventurous? If you are, you are able to jump off the Sky Tower. It is a guided jump with a bungee cord on a wire, and you are carefully landed on a target. It is called the Sky Jump. You are also able to walk around the outside of the Sky Tower up the top. I guess you get to feel the wind on your face! If you are a bit crazy, you could choose to walk up the 1,267 steps. It would take you about half an hour. A German man has set the record for running up the steps. He took 4 minutes 53 seconds. Every year they have a race up the stairs which raises money for charity. Otherwise, nobody is silly enough to climb the stairs!
At night, the Sky Tower is lit up in a colourful way. At Christmas, the concrete base is lit with green, and the top with red, so that it looks like a Christmas tree. I think Santa Claus would definitely use it to show him the way! On New Years' Eve, it looks fantastic as fireworks are let off from the top platform to wish us all a Happy New Year.
Aucklanders are very proud of the Sky Tower. Perhaps you will come and see it one day.