With a name that roughly translates to 'the sparkling waters' in Maori language, Waitemata Harbour doesn't disappoint. Also known as Auckland Harbour, this New Zealand body of water hugs downtown Auckland, provides a stunning backdrop for water activities from cruises to kayaking, and justifies Auckland's title as the City of Sails.
The best way to enjoy Auckland's Waitemata Harbour is by spending a day out on the water (If it's good enough for the 2000 and 2003 America's Cup, it's good enough for everybody). From a traditional Maori waka canoe to an extreme jet boat, you're bound to find a water transport option that floats your boat. Adrenaline junkies and history buffs will enjoy the panoramic views of the Auckland city skyline punctuated by the Sky Tower while a tour guide offers knowledgeable commentary about other nearby local landmarks, including the Auckland Harbour Bridge, the Bean Rock Lighthouse, the Devonport Naval Base, and the volcanic Rangitoto Island.
Other sites of interest along the shore include Devonport and Mission Bay, both bustling beachside neighborhoods where fresh seafood features prominently on restaurant menus from casual to fine dining. Southwest of the harbor lies the Motu Manawa Marine Reserve, an area surrounding the Pollen and Traherne islands that covers salt marshes, shellbanks, and mangrove swamps. The reserve is best accessed on a sea kayak tour.Waitemata Harbour tours are geared toward many types of travelers and last about two to three hours.
Visitors should wear plenty of sun protection and waterproof shoes while enjoying the area.
Tours include roundtrip transportation from Auckland.
Opt for a tour that also takes in Auckland city highlights.
How to Get to Waitemata Harbour
Plenty of ferries travel around the harbor, visiting from the Downtown Ferry Terminal in Auckland. Many pass through Waitemata Harbour on their way to the Hauraki Gulf Islands.
When to Get There
Auckland boasts moderate temperatures year round, so this trip can easily slide into your itinerary no matter the time of year. Look out for special events such as the Tamaki Herenga Waka Festival and Auckland on Water Boat Show.