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Waitemata Harbour Tours and Activities

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249 Reviews
Waitemata Harbour
Waitemata Harbour is the real name for what is often just called Auckland Harbour. It means “sparkling waters” in the Maori language, which is a very fitting name. Numerous islands dot the harbor, and a day spent on the water, with city views in the background, is a memorable way to tour Auckland.
 
The Basics
You can clearly see why Auckland’s nickname is “City of Sails” once you glimpse Waitemata Harbour. Landmarks around the harbor, include the Auckland Harbour Bridge, Bean Rock Lighthouse, Devonport, Mission Bay, and volcanic Rangitoto Island. These can be seen from many high points around Auckland, particularly from the Sky Tower in downtown Auckland, as well as closer on a boat or walking tour.
 
Tours of and around Waitemata Harbour take many forms. From active water sports, such as kayaking, to the more sedate, such as ferry crossings and cruises, all travelers can spend some time enjoying the beauty of Waitemata Harbour.
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • Waitemata Harbour offers an excursion for every kind of traveler, so find a trip that best suits your desired level of activity.
  • If you don’t want to go out onto the water, harbor views can be enjoyed from a high spot, such as Sky Tower’s viewing platform or One Tree Hill.
  • You can easily get burned with New Zealand’s notoriously strong sun, especially from the glare on the water. If you’re heading out on a boat, wear plenty of sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat to prevent sunburn.
 
How to Get There
Tours around the harbor start from various points and usually include round-trip transportation from central Auckland. Ferries to the North Shore and islands in the Hauraki Gulf (which is the water body just beyond the harbor) depart from the Downtown Ferry Terminal, as do some cruises.
 
When to Get There
Despite a generally warm climate, Auckland experiences frequent rain at any time of year. Summer is best for water sports, such as kayaking and sailing, but cruises can be enjoyed year-round. Although temperatures in the winter aren’t too cold, the chance of rain and cold winds is high. The harbor hosts a number of festivals, including the Tamaki Herenga Waka Festival and Auckland on Water Boat Show.
 
Motu Manawa Marine Reserve
Active travelers wanting to experience Auckland’s natural treasures will enjoy a kayak or other small-boat tour of Motu Manawa (Pollen Island) Marine Reserve. Southwest of the harbor, the 1,235-acre (500-hectare) protected reserve, including salt marshes and mangrove swamps, provides a habitat for numerous varieties of wading and sea birds.
Address: Auckland, North Island, New Zealand
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12 Tours and Activities to Experience Waitemata Harbour

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America's Cup Sailing on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour

America's Cup Sailing on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour

star-4.5
105
Join an America’s Cup sailing experience aboard an authentic racing yacht on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour. Feel the exhilaration of yachting as you take the helm and participate with the professional crew, or just sit back and soak up the harbor views. No experience necessary.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$136.62
From
$136.62

Auckland Dolphin and Whale Watching Eco-Safari Cruise

Auckland Dolphin and Whale Watching Eco-Safari Cruise

star-4.5
1106
Cruise the waters of Hauraki Gulf Marine Park in search of whales, dolphins and penguins on a half-day tour from Auckland. You’ll board a spacious catamaran at Viaduct Harbour and hear expert guides share informative commentary about New Zealand’s natural wonders. During the whale and dolphin safari, keep an eye out for six types of whales that frequent these waters, as well as seabirds such as Australasian gannets, petrels and terns.
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$71.19
From
$71.19
Taking safety measures

Auckland Harbour Sailboat Cruise Including Three Course Dinner

Auckland Harbour Sailboat Cruise Including Three Course Dinner

star-4.5
175
Sail away on a harbor cruise in Auckland and enjoy a 3-course dinner during a memorable tour of Waitemata Harbour highlights, including the Sky Tower and Auckland Harbour Bridge. Set out aboard a sailing yacht from Viaduct Harbour, then enjoy service in the dining room while at anchor in Westhaven Marina. As evening falls, your expert captain shares informative facts about Auckland and its iconic sights.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$104.26
From
$104.26

Tiritiri Matangi Island Day Trip from Auckland with Optional Guided Walk

Tiritiri Matangi Island Day Trip from Auckland with Optional Guided Walk

star-5
155
Secure a limited ticket to Tiritiri Matangi island, a protected sanctuary for rare and endangered bird species of New Zealand. A 75-minute ferry ride across the Hauraki Gulf brings you to the island preserve, where you have the day to stroll the trails and enjoy the coastline after a ranger orientation. Gain a deeper understanding of Tiritiri Matangi’s role in preserving birdlife with an optional 1.5-hour guided hike.
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  • 8 hours
From
$58.96
From
$58.96

Auckland Harbour Sailing Experience

Auckland Harbour Sailing Experience

star-4.5
29
Enjoy time aboard a sailing yacht on Waitemata Harbour. Your Auckland cruise sets sail from Viaduct Harbour, passing the Auckland Bridge, Westhaven Marina, and Devonport while you listen to informative commentary on the sights. Relax as you take in the views or help the crew sail the vessel—it’s up to you.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$71.19
From
$71.19

Half-Day Auckland City Guided Tour

Half-Day Auckland City Guided Tour

star-4.5
25
See the sights of Auckland on a 3-hour small-group shore excursion in the ‘City of Sails.’ A knowledgeable guide takes you by mini-coach across the Harbour Bridge to tour the city center. You’ll drive along Queen Street and the suburb of Ponsonby, take a stroll at Devonport’s Narrow Neck Beach, visit the Auckland Fish Market and see the city spread out before you from the summit of Mt Victoria. Numbers are limited to 18 people to ensure personalized attention.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$60.40
From
$60.40
Taking safety measures

Rotoroa Island Ferry Ticket from Auckland

Rotoroa Island Ferry Ticket from Auckland

star-4
6
Take a 75-minute journey across the Hauraki Gulf aboard the Rotoroa Island ferry. Your round-trip ticket allows you to explore the island’s arts, history and conservation park, including sandy shoreline, hiking trails and an award-winning museum. Opened to the public in 2011, Rotoroa Island was the longtime home to an addiction treatment center run by the Salvation Army. Visit the heritage buildings and a Rotoroa wildlife sanctuary for endangered New Zealand species. Spend about 6 hours at your leisure before returning to Auckland.
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  • 8 hours 30 minutes
From
$39.55
From
$39.55

Auckland Shore Excursion: City Sightseeing Tour, Harbor Cruise and Sky Tower

Auckland Shore Excursion: City Sightseeing Tour, Harbor Cruise and Sky Tower

star-4
37
While your ship is in port in Auckland, combine sightseeing, a boat cruise and sky-high views from the Sky Tower so you can see the city from all angles. A professional guide points out popular attractions such as Quay Street, the Auckland Museum, and Dominion Parks and Gardens. You’ll visit the Tamaki waterfront and glide under the Harbour Bridge during your 90-minute cruise on Waitemata Harbour. This shore excursion shows you the many sides to Auckland, New Zealand’s premier city.
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  • 6 hours
From
$121.69
From
$121.69

Auckland City Small-Group Morning Discovery Tour

Auckland City Small-Group Morning Discovery Tour

star-4.5
7
With limited time to explore Auckland, this morning discovery tour takes in all the highlights. Visit sights including The Domain, Waitemata Harbour, and Queen Street; cross the Harbour Bridge to the beaches of the North Shore, explore the vibrant neighborhoods of Devonport and Ponsonby, and take in the views from Mount Victoria.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$60.40
From
$60.40
Taking safety measures

Auckland Waterfront Guided Bike Tour

Auckland Waterfront Guided Bike Tour

star-5
12
Pedal along Auckland's scenic waterfront during this bike tour, with your choice of morning or afternoon departure. Leave Auckland's bustling city center and head for the quaint seaside village of Mission Bay, riding on cycle paths past golden sandy beaches en route. Relax on the beach while taking in the salty air and sunshine before following your cycling guide back the way you came. Use of bicycle and helmet is included on this small-group tour of 10 guests.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$109.15
Price varies by group size
From
$109.15
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

5-Day Bay of Islands, Waitomo Caves, Rotorua & Hobbiton Tour from Auckland

5-Day Bay of Islands, Waitomo Caves, Rotorua & Hobbiton Tour from Auckland

star-5
1
A five day independent tour departing Auckland daily and taking in most of the key tourism destination in the North Island of New Zealand. You will visit the Bay of Islands, with a tour of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the historic township of Russell, and a cruise to the famous 'Hole in the Rock'. Your day in Auckland includes a full day sightseeing with both a harbor cruise and admission to the Sky Tower. On day four travel to Rotorua, via Waitomo Glowworm Caves, with a guided tour of the glowworm grotto. Day five includes admission to the main attractions in Rotorua, including Te Puia, the Agrodome, and Rainbow Springs along with a tour of Hobbiton on your return journey to Auckland. The tour includes four nights in 4 star accommodation and all transport and tours listed.
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  • 5 days
From
$1,309.05
From
$1,309.05

Bay of Islands Transfer Pass from Auckland

Bay of Islands Transfer Pass from Auckland

Get from Auckland to Paihia in the Bay of Islands the easy way with this bus transfer pass. The handy pass will save you time and hassle in Auckland, so you can maximize your stay in the beautiful winterless north. Plus, enjoy guided commentary on board the bus, which will tell you all about the history, nature, and culture of the Bay of Islands.
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  • 2 days
  • Free Cancellation
From
$76.70
From
$76.70

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience Waitemata Harbour?