The 'offer' seems promising from the outside, but the $20 adult ticket is a bit steep and although it's only been open a decade infrastructure is showing signs of lack of investment. Tanks seemed small - and by today's standards the displays are a bit municipal in nature. There were no real 'wow' moments.
Much is made of the availability of digital resources, and indeed QR codes are available to scan on all displays. Unfortunately the WiFi did not work with my Apple iPhone 4S; the otherwise helpful assistant on duty said that the problem lay with my phone. Which is not a very customer-friendly response, especially as my phone works everywhere else. And the risk for the unwary is that without WiFi the downloads via 3G could be expensive.
On the positive side, we saw two Kiwis (why wouldn't you go to an aquarium to see flightless birds?). We also had rather distant views of 3 small Penguins. The underwater tunnel 'experience' is amusing (though the travelator is probably unnecessary to really enjoy the fish - they could switch off the moving floor, reduce the carbon footprint and save the revenue costs for investment elsewhere in the aquarium).
The location is a challenge - some distance from the town - and for some reason the architect placed the cafe on the side facing the road, rather than the ocean. A rather variable catering experience, too. Coffee ok, and a chocolate muffin was popular, but a 'chicken' sandwich was a tasteless 'fail'.
Not sure I'd bother again, but that's a shame as New Zealand has a really very powerful marine story to tell. Perhaps the place needs a bit of a management shake-up?
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