Auckland, the ‘City of Sails’

Auckland is a superb destination when cruising and its location is absolutely spectacular. Situated right between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, this superb port of call boasts an impeccable harbour, filled with al fresco dining venues, perfectly placed to capture the views of the many yachts lining the shores. The harbour setting was dramatically enhanced following the city’s exciting association with the America’s Cup; hosting the world renowned event in 1999 and 2002. This brilliant event created a fabulous amount of investment for the city and as such the iconic harbour locations were revamped to boast a stunning design for all locals and visitors to appreciate.

The skyline here is absolutely breathtaking so be sure to head for one of the city’s most astonishing locations to enjoy it to the fullest. The location we speak of is the amazing revolving restaurant at the peak of the awe inspiring Sky Tower, renowned for being the tallest structure in the whole of the southern hemisphere, standing at an amazing 328 metres. This is a wonderful vantage point for a once in a lifetime photographic opportunity. You may prefer, however, to explore the city sights from sea level and should this be the case, another fantastic method of sightseeing is to head for the harbour and enjoy a trip aboard one of the famous ferries. This provides a great method of viewing the city with two options to choose from; heading for Devonport or Birkenhead.

Cultural highlights here come in abundance with so many enthralling sights to behold and an opportunity to discover New Zealand’s Maori culture and history. The Auckland War Memorial Museum is often a key highlight of many excursions here, which tells the story of the people and is notable for being one of the country’s most significant museums. Visits here include a fantastic guided tour but above all the main attractions come in the form of the superb collections of Maori and Polynesian artefacts such as an 82 foot war canoe.

There are many different excursion opportunities to choose from here, all boasting there distinctive charms and attractions. The city has so much to see and do that the hardest decision you will have to make will be where to head first. Opting for an excursion here is often wise as although the city is easily accessible and can be enjoyed individually with pleasure, the tours provided by cruise operators often allow passengers to see more and provide distinct perks for queue jumping. The countryside tours are also wonderful in every way. This spectacular port of call provides a gateway into such areas as the coastal community of Muriwai as well as the Kaipara Peninsula and Haumoana Farm. Heading for such areas can also be a great opportunity to enjoy sampling some of the local wine creations. Combining the special scenery with New World wines is truly magnificent. Most cruise lines will provide tours of three major wineries beginning at the Kumeu River Valley. Guests will sample New Zealand Rieslings, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs for a sumptuous experience. The three wine estates include Soljans Winery, Matua Valley Wines and Nobilo Winery, all of which have received tremendous awards and accolades over the years.

Passengers looking to explore something unique and unusual here may wish to head for the underwater world experience of Kelly Tarlton’s SeaLife Aquarium. This brilliant experience is one of Auckland’s most popular attractions and houses an Antarctic encounter as well as a thrilling underwater experience. This venue is all about snow, ice and underwater encounters. Not only is the setting superb here but this venue offers guests the opportunity to come face to face with some of New Zealand’s most amazing sea creatures such as sharks, giant rays and turtles. For a rare opportunity, the centre also has the Antarctic Encounter, the only venue in the country housing sub Antarctic penguins and providing guests with the chance to witness King and Gentoo penguins up close and personal. As well as the incredible range of wildlife here, this area also provides visitors with an in depth experience of what it would have been like to live in the Antarctic over 100 years ago. This is done through a re-creation of a design from 1911 based on the hut of Captain Robert Falcon Scott.

Another once in a lifetime experience is to head for the Te Puia Thermal Reserve for an outstanding opportunity. Shore excursions here are often combined with the tremendous geysers as well as the astonishing mud pools of Rotorua.

Auckland is a fascinating city of architectural beauty and thrilling culture. The bustling atmosphere here is captivating in every way you could possibly imagine so be sure to enjoy all that this magnificent port of call has to offer for a phenomenal experience.

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