Auckland, New Zealand cruises

Auckland port guide.

In a nation where stunning scenery is given, Auckland doesn’t fail to deliver. A watery wonderland on New Zealand’s North Island, with yachts meandering through its harbors and adjoining Hauraki Gulf, it’s little wonder Auckland is known as the ‘City of Sails’.

It’s also surrounded by more than 48 extinct volcanoes, set against a backdrop of wild and mountainous scenery, the likes of which New Zealand is famed for. If you’re hoping to snap the perfect holiday photographs here, you’ll find no shortage of inspiring vistas vying for a space in your camera roll.

Top landmarks and sights in Auckland.

Nestled on the Waitematā and Manukau Harbours for more than 175 years, Auckland is New Zealand's largest city and seaport.  

The city’s most prominent landmark, the Sky Tower, is a superb place to begin exploring. At 328 meters high, the structure is New Zealand’s tallest building and boasts perfect panoramic views from its impressive observation deck. Enjoy the glass elevator climb to the top of the tower ahead of jaw-dropping city scenes of up to 80 kilometers on a clear day.

Back at ground level, armed with enough photos to make your Instagram followers envious, you may wish to make your next port of call the Manukau Heads Lighthouse. Attracting some 60,000 visitors a year, the lighthouse is one of the few accessible to the public and boasts awe-inspiring views of Manukau Harbour. You can also learn about the lighthouse’s history and the surrounding area on a guided tour.

Of course, no visit to New Zealand would be complete without taking part in a high-octane activity, and in this capacity, Auckland can definitely deliver. Stretching for one kilometer and connecting downtown Auckland to the sandy beaches of the north bays, the city’s Harbour Bridge regularly plays host to thrill-seeking bungee jumpers and climbers. If you’re looking to set your pulse racing whilst, in port, this is the perfect way to do so. 

Things to do in Auckland.

Auckland offers a fascinating array of museums, art galleries, and monuments, many of which are among the finest in New Zealand.

One of the city’s must-visit destinations is Waitemata Harbour. Boasting postcard-pretty views, the harbor is a delightful area to explore on foot and features a rich variety of entertainment, shopping, and dining hotspots.

If you’re an avid explorer, the 182-meter volcanic peak, One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie), should be top of your list. Climbing to the summit’s peak (marked by an obelisk) rewards your efforts with breathtaking views of Auckland and its harbors. When you’re finally able to tear yourself away, allow a little time to explore One Tree Hill’s lush surroundings. Of these, Cornwall Park with its mature trees and historic Acacia Cottage is well worth a visit.  

The city’s War Memorial Museum, housed in an impressive Neoclassical building, traces the history of New Zealand from its first Polynesian settlers to the present day with artefacts that showcase the country’s impressive heritage. Highlights include a richly-decorated Meeting House and a 25-meter-long canoe, dating from 1836, in which Maori warriors once sailed into Manukau Harbour.

Auckland is also home to an array of wildlife and exotic birds and you’ll find some of the best examples on Tiritiri Matangi Island, just a 75-minute ferry ride from Auckland Port over the Gulf of Hauraki. Home to native species including the New Zealand robin (Takahe) and the saddleback, the island’s wildlife sanctuary is a must-visit for bird lovers.

The Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, in the west of Auckland, is another natural paradise worthy of exploration. Boasting more than 250 kilometers of walking and hiking trails set among lush rainforests, the area is a gateway to New Zealand’s west coast and home to a rich abundance of local wildlife.

Eating and drinking near Auckland cruise port.

Auckland cuisine combines influences from Western and Maori cultures and you’ll find many superb restaurants in which to sample this unique fusion across the city.

One of the most authentic regional dining experiences you can have in New Zealand is a Hangi. A method of slow cooking that involves hot rocks buried underground, Hangi derives from a Maori culinary tradition and has been practiced throughout New Zealand for generations.

Locally caught crayfish (more commonly known as lobster) is another native New Zealand delicacy you can easily source in eateries ashore, while the addition of beetroot and an egg is a common accompaniment in New Zealand burgers.

For waterfront dining, head to the city’s vibrant Viaduct area, where you can feast on the likes of oysters and grass-fed beef at rooftop vantage points overlooking the harbor. If you’re in the mood for something more upmarket, Federal Street is sure to oblige. Some of Auckland’s finest restaurants have set up home here, perfect if you’re looking for a gastronomic dining experience whilst in port. 

Shopping in Auckland.

Whether you’re in pursuit of luxury goods, designer brands, or high-street favorites, you’ll find them in Auckland.

Some of the city’s best shopping is located right in the heart of the CBD (Central Business District) along Queen Street, the main street that runs parallel to Waitemata Harbour. The choice of shops here varies from high street stores all the way through to luxury designer brands such as Gucci, Dior, and Louis Vuitton.

Another great Auckland shopping experience can be found 6 miles southeast of the city in Sylvia Park. With whopping 200-plus stores, the center takes the crown for New Zealand’s largest shopping mall, offering the perfect place to shop until you drop.

Getting around.

One of the most convenient, cost-effective, and efficient ways to get around Auckland is via the city’s Link bus service.

The three different Link lines operating across the city (red, green, and orange) cover routes within the CBD and extend to the city’s inner suburbs. Buses operate daily and fares are dependent on the route taken.

Taxis and rental cars are also widely available across Auckland, the former usually on hand outside the cruise port, however, these are typically more expensive than hailing a cab. If you do rent a car it’s worth bearing in mind that parking is limited in Auckland so a bus or taxi can be an easier option.

The size and layout of Auckland also lend itself well to walking, and if you’re hoping to visit Waiheke Island and neighborhoods like Devonport and Half Moon Bay the easiest way is via the city's ferry system.

Auckland port facilities.

Auckland’s cruise port terminal is part of Waitemata Harbour and the principal cruise terminal is located at Princes Wharf. The second facility used for cruise vessels is Queens Wharf.

The facilities at Auckland cruise terminal include tourist information, hotels, restaurants and bars, and taxis/transport links into the city.

Auckland quick tips.


The New Zealand Dollar is used in New Zealand. ATMs are conveniently located across the city and currency can also be obtained on board.