Auckland is the largest and most populous urban area in the country with 1.3 million residents and 32% of the country’s population.
The city lies across an 11km (8 mile) wide volcanic isthmus separating two harbours. The Waitemata Harbour to the east opens to the Hauraki Gulf, and to the Pacific Ocean.
Wherever you are in Auckland, you’re never far from the water. From wild West Coast surf beaches to the tranquil Hauraki gulf, the sea and all its attractions are why this is known as the City of Sails. Make sure you get out on the water while you’re here, whether it’s a relaxing harbour cruise, a fishing charter, whale and dolphin spotting, kayaking or surfing.
From central Auckland you can be on the water in a matter of minutes.
- Enjoy a cruise on a classic yacht or launch. Charter your own yacht if you have sailing skills.
- Meet the local marine mammals. Auckland’s Dolphin Explorer conducts daily marine mammal eco-safaris, finding common and bottlenose dolphins, Brydes whales and orca in Auckland’s magnificent Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.
- Experience the thrill of sailing on a genuine America’s Cup racing yacht – you can participate as much or as little as you desire.
- Take the ferry across to Devonport and enjoy a café lunch and a spot of shopping or explore the WWII tunnels and gun emplacements in North Head.
Explore the islands of the Hauraki Gulf
The Hauraki Gulf, on the doorstep of Auckland city, is home to a multitude of remarkable islands. Don’t miss out on these activities:
- Walk to the summit of Rangitoto, the black lava volcanic island in the middle of the inner Hauraki Gulf. Hire a kayak and join an evening paddle to the island.
- Enjoy wine tasting and beachcombing on Waiheke Island, a half hour ferry ride from the city centre.
- Sunbathe and swim at Motuihe Island.
- Discover the historic Mansion House on Kawau Island – once the home of Governor George Grey.
- Visit the wildlife sanctuary on Tiritiri Matangi. The island is home to many endangered birds, including the extremely rare Takahe.
- Experience a wilderness adventure on Great Barrier Island – tracks lead to secluded natural hot springs and historic kauri dams.