Port Review: Auckland, New Zealand

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It’s New Zealand’s largest city, sitting near the top of the North Island, and a common jumping on and off destination for a variety of cruise itineraries for good reason.


Cosmopolitan Auckland is an appropriate introduction to New Zealand, and even though it’s an urban city of just under one and a half million people, it’s a place that reveals the heart of its people. Along with being New Zealand’s largest metropolis, it’s a large harbour city with islands of green standing sentinel over the main centre and city suburbs. It may not have much heritage left due to rapid redevelopment but there’s still plenty for cruise passengers to see, do and enjoy here. Auckland is also a city where daily life here involves being on, or near, the water.

The Facts

Location: The northern end of the North Island of New Zealand.

Language: English. 

Currency: New Zealand dollar.

Docking/anchoring: Ships dock at Queens Wharf Shed 10, or at Princes Wharf, with both being right in the heart of the city. 

Transport: As you’re right in the CBD, walking is the best way to get around the immediate area. The bus service is efficient and there are usually plenty of taxis around. 

Don’t Miss 

The Sky Tower is the physical symbol of the city, and while locals consider a visit to the observation deck of the Sky Tower as “daggy”, it’s worth doing even just once. From a height of 220 metres, it offers a spectacular 360 degree view of Auckland and gives a great overview of the physical beauty of the city and surrounds. If you’re feeling really brave, you can also go for a 192m bungy jump! 

Auckland Bridge Climb takes an hour and a half to complete, but the reward is a fantastic view of Waitemata Harbour and the City skyline. And of course, you’re in New Zealand, so it means you can go bungy jumping off the bridge as well with the added option of a thrilling “water touch” finish. 

Best Photo Op

From the top of nearby Mt Eden, one of 50 dormant volcanoes in the area, you get a wonderful panoramic view of the city and the two harbours that border Auckland, Waitemata and Manukau Harbours.  


Queen Street is the the easiest introduction to shopping in Auckland with a slew of fashion boutiques and various shops, and cafes where you can rest your feet. Victoria Park Market is about a 20 minute walk west of Queen Street and here you can pick up some local souvenirs including clothes, pottery and handicrafts.

Food and Drink

Auckland is the country’s most multicultural and boasts a restaurant scene that reflects that diversity. Viaduct Harbour is a good starting point with more than 20 bars and restaurants centrally located in a pretty waterfront setting.

Pick of the Excursions 

Half day and full day city tours vary but can include the Auckland Museum, Auckland Domain, Mt Eden, the spectacular pine-clad Waitakere Mountains, and the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.   

New Zealand is home to some truly world class wineries and few people realise some of the best of them are on Auckland’s doorstep and easily visited in a day or half day trip. The Auckland region has 100 vineyards and wineries, and tours usually take in at least four of them. 




Joanna Hall