With countless water activities and island adventures so close at hand, it’s no wonder Lonely Planet named Auckland harbour and the Hauraki Gulf the best experience in New Zealand.
Island hopping is a favourite pastime for Auckland ‘boaties’ and many of the islands are also accessible by ferry. Take a ferry to Rangitoto Island, Auckland’s youngest volcano, and climb the hour-long walk to the summit for some of the best views of the harbour and city. Don’t miss the diversion to the lava caves – take a torch and have fun exploring these naturally formed tunnels.
Pack a picnic and head out to Motuihe or stroll through the historical mansion house at Kawau Island. Waiheke – also known as the ‘island of wine’ for its numerous award-winning wineries – is a must-do. Leave in the morning and spend a summer day on its golden beaches, walking or biking the hills, or sipping the island’s famous varietals while enjoying the excellent local cuisine.
Great Barrier Island is a 30 minute flight or a 5 hour ferry ride from downtown Auckland and is very special - you’ll feel like you are far from the city and off the grid when you visit this remote island paradise. It was recently designated the world’s third Dark Sky Sanctuary and the night skies there have to be seen to be believed.
Bird watchers will love exploring Tiritiri Matangi Island, an open-air wildlife sanctuary – join a guided walking tour to learn about the native flora and fauna. Take a day trip to Rotoroa Island to discover its rich social history, beautiful beaches, walking trails, heritage buildings and art and exhibition centre.
Closer to the city, take a shorter adventure on the ferry to Devonport and stroll the historic village before climbing Mount Victoria and North Head and exploring the ex-military tunnels. Otherwise hop on a ferry and head to Birkenhead, Half Moon Bay, Bayswater, Hobsonville Point and more!
The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is also New Zealand’s largest marine reserve, protecting our precious marine and birdlife. For an unforgettable experience, jump on a whale and dolphin safari and head out to see these beautiful animals in their natural habitat.
If it’s harbour-based activities you’re after, there’s jet boating, kayaking, fishing, sailing and more – you’re spoilt for choice in Auckland. Relax on a harbour cruise, leap off the Auckland Harbour Bridge in New Zealand’s only ocean-touch bungy or even help race an America’s Cup yacht.
For more Hauraki Gulf travel information, feel free to chat to our Concierge team.