Things to do in Auckland – Cruise Stop
New Zealand’s premiere cruise port
As the premiere cruise port of New Zealand and its largest city, Auckland puts at ease returning visitors with familiar comforts and amenities, and delights first-time visitors with a satellite of attractions.
Sitting on a narrow isthmus and surrounded by volcanic hills, Auckland is the quintessential Kiwi maritime city whose two harbours are dotted with yachts and sparkling marinas; it is, after all, the City of Sails. But underneath the surface, Auckland is not just the cosmopolitan city that a third of New Zealand’s population make as their permanent home. It is a city as steeped in Maori history as the remotest corners of New Zealand, and as culturally varied as any capital city in the southern hemisphere. This ensures that Auckland’s wining and dining scene is as world-class as its harbours.
For a splash of local colour, join the crowd at Britomart and City Works Depot for a selection of international cuisine and hip shopping, while you can hang out with the well-heeled at the upmarket Viaduct Harbour and gentrified Wynyard Quarter. The choosiest of shoppers make a beeline to High Street for the latest runway trends.
Oenophiles may want to hop aboard a ferry bound for Waiheke Island, east of Auckland. It could be a full-day tour if you choose to linger there after lunch, or you can hop back to the city and spend your afternoon in the zoo, in a planetarium or in a simulated underwater environment.
While undoubtedly a gastronomic destination, Auckland serves up more than just food arranged in fancy setting. You need not travel to Matakana an hour north to enjoy the same fresh produce that goes to making award-winning dishes; graze around the Farmers’ Market to have your fill. Or escape to the seaside village of Devonport 15 minutes by ferry to the north to enjoy a cup of coffee and a slice of Victorian charm while watching Auckland across Waitemata Harbour. If you are up for it, the harbour is suitable playground for jet-boaters. The really adventurous can bungy-jump from the Auckland Harbour Bridge or BASE jump from the Sky Tower.
Auckland’s native beauty is apparent at first glance, and you don’t have to do a lot of traveling to understand that the city sits in the middle of a (dormant) volcanic zone. The 40-odd hills that surround the isthmus are of volcanic origin, like the black sands battered by the Tasman Sea to the west. Auckland may all be polished and chic, but on this side of North Island, the raw power of the ocean and the presence of rich wildlife like gannets and fur seals is a reminder that, in New Zealand, you are never that far away from nature.