Destinations · Culture · Things to Do · New Zealand
May 17, 2022 Words: Susan Hanson

An Awesome Day in Auckland

How to make the most of your call in the “City of Sails.”

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New Zealand’s largest metropolis topped the world’s most livable cities list in 2021, and it’s easy to see why. Dubbed the “City of Sails,” this multi-cultural hub on the North Island enchants with its buzzy harbors and yacht-filled marinas, a rich sailing history, living Māori heritage, incredible parks, innovative dining scene focused on fresh seafood, abundance of sustainably sourced produce, and seriously good local wines.

Auckland is a popular call on many Seabourn voyages around Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. So, how can you fully experience this awesome city during a single day in port?

Start with a stroll through Pukekawa/Auckland Domain, the city’s oldest and largest park. During the 1800s, city founders set aside 200 acres—centered around the cone of the extinct Pukekawa volcano—as a public reserve. You can walk through groves of native forest, follow a trail lined with outdoor sculptures, and feed ducks in the tranquil pond fed by an underground spring. The volcano’s crater forms a natural amphitheater used for festivals and other outdoor events; its floor is carpeted with sports fields, while the rim offers panoramic views. The Wintergarden complex is a must; opened in 1913, the two Victorian-style glasshouses showcase an ever-changing display of lush tropical and temperate plants.

The Domain also is home to Tāmaki Paenga Hira (Auckland War Memorial Museum), one of New Zealand’s finest. Among its vast exhibits is a collection of more than 1,000 First Peoples’ artifacts, including a reconstructed Māori ancestral marae (meeting house) dating from 1878 and an 82-foot war canoe. In the first-level Volcanoes gallery, you can experience the extraordinary power of nature with its simulated earthquake and volcanic eruption.

Next, gawk at 360-degree views across Tāmaki Makaurau (Mauri for Auckland) from atop the iconic Sky Tower, New Zealand’s tallest structure at 1,076 feet. For an adrenaline rush, strap into a full-body harness and step out on the observation platform—perhaps daring to lean over the edge to see the city streets from 630 feet above ground!

For lunch, head to the lively Wynyard Quarter neighborhood on Waitematā Harbour, where you can find a variety of restaurants and outstanding ocean views. Hop aboard the Dockline Tram and do a loop around the quarter, getting off for fresh seafood at the Auckland Fish Market or stop to people watch in popular Silo Park. Another option: grab a bite while getting in some retail therapy along Queen Street in the CBD (Central Business District), Auckland’s main shopping area.

Hui Te Ananui a Tangaroa (New Zealand Maritime Museum) offers insight into Auckland’s proud sailing tradition, from the Great Pacific Migration—when Polynesians in canoes first arrived in New Zealand a thousand years ago —to the cutting-edge design of modern America’s Cup yachts. You’ll gain new appreciation for the many vessels lining Viaduct Harbour, a dynamic neighborhood with dozens of eateries and bars. Soak in the waterfront vibe before returning to the pier with fond memories of your day in Auckland.

Does your Seabourn voyage begin or end in Auckland? Plan to spend an extra night or two and explore beyond the city.

  • Cycle through the vineyards on Waiheke Island, Auckland’s “island of wine”

  • Head across Auckland’s harbor to Devonport, an historic suburb that charms with its colonial cottages and heritage buildings that now house quaint cafés and antique shops

  • Go kayaking and snorkeling off Little Barrier Island, New Zealand’s most intact eco-system

  • Trek through rugged lava crops and lush bushland to reach the summit of Rangitoto Island’s iconic volcano

  • Take a daytrip to Waitakere Ranges Regional Park and go tramping (hiking) through native rainforest, surf off black-sand beaches, and feel the cool spray of spectacular Karekare Falls

Ready to set sail?

Consider these upcoming voyages:

16-Day Australia & New Zealand

DEPARTS: Sydney, Australia
ARRIVES: Auckland, New Zealand

from $8,499*

Explore Itinerary

*Per Person, USD. Taxes, Fees and Port Expenses are included. Additional terms apply.

16-Day New Zealand & Australia II

DEPARTS: Auckland, New Zealand
ARRIVES: Sydney, Australia

from $9,499*

Explore Itinerary

*Per Person, USD. Taxes, Fees and Port Expenses are included. Additional terms apply.

16-Day Australia & New Zealand

DEPARTS: Sydney, Australia
ARRIVES: Auckland, New Zealand

from $8,999*

Explore Itinerary

*Per Person, USD. Taxes, Fees and Port Expenses are included. Additional terms apply.

Auckland City Life
Victorian houses in Auckland New Zealand
Maritime Museum Auckland New Zealand
Auckland Dockline Wynyard Quarter Tram

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