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Known as the Adventure Capital of the World, New Zealand attracts countless adrenaline junkies looking to do a bit of skydiving, whitewater rafting, or extreme hiking. There are volcanic craters, glaciers, endless beaches, and the Milford Sound to explore, not to mention immersing yourself in fascinating Māori culture.

New Zealand has a long history of luring adventure seekers, with the first wave of intrepid travellers being those coming for the Otago Gold Rush of the 1860s hoping to strike it rich. Today, we continue to see travellers looking to win big at one of New Zealand’s half dozen casinos spread out over both its North and South Island.

Whether you enjoy hitting the pokies or are into table games, here are New Zealand’s top real casino brands that have become attractions in and of themselves.

Real Casinos to Visit in New Zealand

Auckland’s SkyCity Casino

Let’s begin with New Zealand’s largest casino and the only one found in Auckland, the nation’s most populous city. Auckland’s SkyCity Casino is one of five SkyCity casinos found throughout NZ and Australia, but it is the Auckland casino which was the brand’s original when it opened around 25 years ago.

Housed in a complex that includes hotels, restaurants, bars, and the city’s iconic Sky Tower, a visit to the SkyCity casino offers much more than simply gambling. Inside the casino, you’ll discover well over 2,000 pokies and 150 table games which include blackjack, roulette, sic bo, and a dedicated baccarat gaming area. High-rollers will want to check out the special EIGHT VIP table games.

There are currently two hotels onsite which include the 4.5 star SkyCity Hotel as well as the 5-star SkyCity Grand Hotel which appeals to more luxury travellers. Soon to open will also be an additional 5-star hotel called the Horizon Hotel which will connect to the future New Zealand International Convention Centre via a sky bridge.

Restaurants include authentic Chinese cuisine, a Japanese grill, and New York steakhouse. There’s also a unique revolving restaurant located on the top of the Sky Tower. Be sure to check out the elevated panoramic views from the Sky Tower’s Main Observation Deck on Level 51 or the Sky Café on Level 50.

Also available is the exciting 190m SKYJUMP as well as the heart-pumping SKYWALK that provides 360 degree views over the city.

SkyCity Queenstown

Cities like Queenstown have given New Zealand the title of adventure capital. You’ll find jet boats, skydiving, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, and the popular Kawarau Bridge Bungy Jump. You can also enjoy the Queenstown Gondola or cruising Lake Wakatipu.

Another top attraction in Queenstown is SkyCity Queenstown, which offers up not one but two casinos. The main SkyCity Queenstown Casino offers up gaming tables focusing on baccarat blackjack, roulette, and there are also over 80 gaming machines in addition to Queenstown’s only full service TAB.

Meanwhile, SkyCity Wharf Casino offers a boutique casino experience in Steamer Wharf where you’ll also find an ice bar. Enjoy some of New Zealand’s famous lamb at the Wild Thyme Bar & Kitchen, whether you opt for a pulled lamb sourdough sandwich or braised lamb shank. The restaurant also serves up a nice selection of Central Otago wines.

Christchurch Casino

Christchurch Casino was New Zealand’s first ever casino and it continues to be one of the most visited casinos in New Zealand thanks to it being the city’s premier entertainment destination.

Across the casinos 4,000-square-metre gaming area, you’ll find 500 slots machines, plenty of table games, and the country’s top spot for poker. After all, it is here where the New Zealand Poker Championships are held.

Enjoy unique gourmet pizzas at Monza Sports Bar such as their Battista Braised lamb pizza with aubergine, black olives, and minted yoghurt or the Maserati smoked salmon pizza with fried capers, red capsicum, and salsa verde. Watching big sporting events has never been sweeter thanks to the bar’s 208” HD LCD wall and 10 large flat screens.

Live music is on every weekend, while Thursdays are when you’ll find great day-long specials and promotions. Oh, and be sure to say hello to the casino’s big gold giraffe out front.

Hamilton SkyCity Casino

In tourism circles, Hamilton is often neglected when it comes to New Zealand cities, with the attention mostly being on destinations like Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Queenstown, Dunedin, and Rotorua.

Hamilton, however, is in fact the country’s fourth most-populous city and third fastest growing city. Situated in the Waikato region, Hamilton offers incredible hot air ballooning and is home to the unique Hamilton Gardens which focuses not specifically on plants and flowers, rather on various cultures, religion, and architecture instead. The gardens were named Garden of the Year at the International Garden Tourism Awards.

There is also a local zoo where you can observe native birds like the kea, kaka, and tui, while short easy day trips can be made to the Hobbiton Movie Set in nearby Matamata or the Waitomo Caves and its famous glowworms.

Also in Hamilton is yet another SkyCity Casino. The only casino in the Waikato region, Hamilton SkyCity Casino puts forward 300 gaming machines and 23 table games. And while the gaming areas may be reserved for those 20 and over, there is also a family friendly zone which offers a world-class bowling alley, air hockey, and escape room experiences.

SkyCity’s Zone Sports Bar not only has one of the biggest screens in town for sports, it also allows you to play some yourself thanks to pool tables, electronic darts, and a virtual golf simulator. You can also enjoy sitting out on their expansive balcony which overlooks the Waikato River.

Meanwhile, The Local Taphouse serves up some fantastic local craft beers and ciders courtesy of Good George Brewing.

Grand Casino Dunedin

Dunedin’s Grand Casino recently underwent an award-winning refurbishment that has only enhanced its beautiful Victorian style. The casino is housed in the heritage-listed Scenic Hotel Southern Cross, dating back to 1883 when at that time it was named the Grand Hotel.

It is the historic ballroom which now houses the casino’s 180 electronic gaming machines and table games such as American roulette and Caribbean Stud Poker. The casino presents and opulent vibe reminiscent of casinos found in Monaco.

Also elegant is dining in the Grand Bar & Restaurant with its grand central staircase. Here you can sample delicious delights that include sticky Korean lamb ribs, Akaria salmon fillets, lamb liver and bacon, or Premium Angus beef Wellington.

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 100+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.


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