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. Stretching from Auckland to the Coromandel Peninsula, the Hauraki Gulf is home to stunning coastlines, marine reserves and more than 50 unique islands. The Hauraki Gulf is the ultimate marine playground and thanks to an array of ferries, water taxis, sea planes and guided tours, most of them are accessible - even if you don’t have a boat.
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.
Island hopping is a favourite pastime for Auckland “boaties” and “yachties,” and many of the islands are accessible by ferry. Climb Rangitoto Island, Auckland’s youngest volcano, 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 — and Great Barrier are the largest islands in the gulf, while others range from wildlife sanctuaries to volcanoes. Great Barrier’s an island made for nature lovers. Not only does it have an abundance of great walking tracks with spectacular landscapes and breathtaking views, but the beaches are plenty and include a mix of sandy shores and secluded coves.
With regular ferry sailings, Waiheke is the perfect place to escape for the day, or the weekend. Join a wine tour for tastings at some of the island’s 30 boutique wineries, swim at golden-sand beaches, soak up the scenery on the walking trails, or indulge in fine food at an award-winning vineyard restaurant.
If you’re after a little more adventure, there’s plenty of activities on offer; including, ziplining over native bush, horse riding, archery and pottery lessons to name a few.
Birdwatchers will love exploring Tiritiri Matangi Island, an open-air wildlife sanctuary. Here you can 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.
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.
For more Hauraki Gulf travel information, please speak with our Concierge team.