Auckland is a popular port for cruise itineraries around Australia and New Zealand as well as Pacific repositioning cruises. Most itineraries with a port call in Auckland also include a stop at The Bay of Islands.
The city is built around two bays and calls itself the “city of sails” because of the many marinas and boaters.
Where Your Ship Docks
The Port of Auckland has a number of piers east from the ferry terminal at Princess Wharf. All of the docking spaces are right in downtown Auckland so it is only a short walk from the dock into the CBD. There are also a number of public facilities not far from the port.
Disembarking – This port has a developed cruise ship pier but the ease of disembarking varies by the individual ships gangway designs. For passengers using wheelchairs there can be a moderate ramp incline to deal with.
Port City Characteristics – This port has a well developed wheelchair friendly infrastructure. The port area is flat or has few inclines. Intersection crosswalks have few issues with curbs or other wheelchair obstacles.
With only a few hours for exploring while in this port there are a number of places within easy walking distance of the piers. The downtown area is very pedestrian friendly with lots to see.
Taxis are readily available but Auckland is the center of a large metropolitan area so it is best to have a destination in mind and agree to a fare before heading out. Uber is also very active in Auckland and rides can be scheduled with Uber’s universal app.
There are several tour bus companies with the most popular being the bright red Hop On Hop Off that averages about US$30 per day. Sky Tower is the starting point for most buses with information HERE.
Auckland’s public transport is a efficient way to get around. It’s easy to travel by train, bus or ferry throughout the city, with regular routes to most major attractions and main shopping areas and entertainment areas. Britomart, in downtown Auckland, is the main transport hub. Explore public transportation options HERE. The city also offers a visitors pass for one and two days that includes admission to a number of attractions with information HERE.
The New Zealand currency is the NZ$ currently worth about 65¢ US. Foreign currency is not readily accepted but credit cards usually work fine and there are ATMs.
Within walking distance are a number of good attractions including:
- Albert Park – Historic park with trees and flower beds, a Victorian fountain & statues.
- Auckland Art Gallery – A collection of national & international art, with a large collection of Maori works, in a château-style historic building.
- New Zealand Maritime Museum – exploring the country’s seafaring history through exhibits with sailing trips on replica ships.
Apparently Kiwis are addicted to adrenalin because in Auckland there are a couple of scary attractions
- The Skywalk Visitors Center – Ride the elevator up the Sky Tower in Auckland for an adrenalin rush. Walk carefully out on a meter wide exterior ledge 630 feet above the city on the SkyWalk. You’ll be securely attached to safety lines and accompanied by an expert guide throughout the heart stopping experience. If you can handle the heights it offers magnificent views of Auckland and the Gulf in the heart of Auckland.
- Auckland Bridge Climb (Bungee jumping available) – The fully-guided climbs up the Auckland Bridge take place two to three times a day and last two hours (longer if someone is bungy jumping). The fees for the climb are about $100.
Outside the city about twenty miles west of Auckland is a wilderness area called Waitākere Ranges Regional Park and if you have a few days this area is well worth a visit.
The Port of Call Bay of Islands
Located about 175 miles north of Auckland is the Bay of Islands. While the area is mostly rural the area is beginning to attract cruise ships for day visits.
Ship Tender Area
The biggest attraction in the landing area is kayak and small boat rentals. Local companies have developed tours for visiting cruise passengers and they’re probably the best way to see some of the region. Many of these excursions are focused on the waters around this port of call. One of the big attractions is the local vineyards and wineries that are gaining in reputation among wine enthusiasts. While the production is on a much smaller scale than New Zealand’s southern island, the quality is rated as very good.
Disembarking – This is a tender port as there are no piers for large cruise ships. Wheelchair bound passengers will encounter challenges both in getting on tenders as well as disembarking at the dock.
Transportation – Because the area is rural there is no public transportation and rental cars are not readily available.