Waitemata Harbour Tours

309 reviews
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.
Location
Address: New Zealand
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13 Tours & Activities to Experience

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Tiritiri Matangi Island Day Trip from Auckland with Optional Guided Walk

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.
  • Duration: 8 hours
From
US$52.64
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  • Duration: 8 hours
From
US$52.64

America's Cup Sailing on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour

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.
  • Duration: 2 hours
From
US$126.35
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  • Duration: 2 hours
From
US$126.35

Auckland Harbour Sightseeing Cruise

Glide past the Sky Tower, Auckland Harbour Bridge, Bean Rock Lighthouse and Devonport Naval Base on a cruise from Waitemata Harbour. Your tour includes morning or afternoon tea.
  • Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
From
US$35.10
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  • Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
From
US$35.10

Jet Boat Ride on Waitemata Harbour

Experience 40 minutes of heart-pumping action during a jet-boat ride on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour. Spot the Sky Tower, Auckland Harbour Bridge and other iconic landmarks from a unique perspective as you power through the water in a supercharged jet boat. You’ll feel the thrill of on-water tricks while the driver expertly maneuvers through 360-degree spins and fishtails.
  • Duration: 1 hour
From
US$68.79
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  • Duration: 1 hour
From
US$68.79

Maori Cultural Experience: Waka Sailing on Waitemata Harbour

Sail around Waitemata Harbour with an expert crew of Maori sailors on board a ‘waka,’ a traditional double-hulled canoe. Ply the waters in the tradition of Maori and other Polynesian navigators during the 2-hour journey as you learn about Maori boatbuilding and other seafaring customs, including the waka's epic journeys around the Pacific.
  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
From
US$105.29
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  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
From
US$105.29

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

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.
  • Duration: 6 hours
From
US$112.31
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  • Duration: 6 hours
From
US$112.31

Rotoroa Island Ferry Ticket from Auckland

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.
  • Duration: 8 hours 30 minutes
From
US$40.71
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  • Duration: 8 hours 30 minutes
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US$40.71

Helicopter Sightseeing Tours Auckland and Waiheke

See Auckland from the sky on this helicopter sightseeing tour. Choose the tour that fits your schedule and your interests – grab stunning aerial photographs of the city to show your friends back home, or take the longer tour and get unique views of hard-to-access islands in the Hauraki Gulf. This tour is a great way to get acquainted with Auckland: your pilot doubles as your guide, pointing out highlights that you can visit once you’re back on the ground.
  • Duration: 45 minutes
From
US$263.22
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  • Duration: 45 minutes
From
US$263.22

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.
  • Duration: 2 days
From
US$70.19
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  • Duration: 2 days
From
US$70.19

Auckland City Highlights Tour with Harbour Cruise and Sky Tower Admission

Learn all about Auckland during a comprehensive 5-hour tour by bus and boat. Start your day with a 2.5-hour bus tour of the City of Sails, then continue with a 1.5-hour boat cruise on Waitemata Harbour and a visit to the Sky Tower. Take in highlights such as historical buildings in downtown Auckland, the waterfront beaches along Tamaki Drive, and views of the Hauraki Gulf.
  • Duration: 5 hours
From
US$110.20
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  • Duration: 5 hours
From
US$110.20

America's Cup Racing Cruise on Auckland's Waitemata Harbor

Set sail around Waitemata Harbor on-aboard a professional America's Cup racing yacht and experience the thrill of sailing a world-class boat. Accompanied by a professional sailing crew, go head to head with another sailing team in a mock competition, and get hands-on as you pick up speed and try to out-manoeuvre the opposition.
  • Duration: 3 hours
From
US$139.68
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  • Duration: 3 hours
From
US$139.68

Auckland Harbour Lunch Cruise

Take a scenic 1.5-hour lunch cruise on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour. Hop aboard a 50-foot (15-meter) yacht while taking in the iconic sights of Auckland. You’ll sail from Viaduct Harbour past the Sky Tower and Auckland Harbour Bridge as you listen to onboard commentary from the captain and enjoy a boxed picnic lunch including a sandwich, seasonal fruit and dessert.
  • Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
From
US$83.53
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  • Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
From
US$83.53

Maori Guided Walking Tour in Auckland

Discover Auckland’s ancient Maori heritage on this 1.5-hour walking tour of Tāmaki Makaurau – the sacred lands on the outskirts of the city. Immerse yourself in Maori culture as you take part in a Maori blessing, learn about the traditions of the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei tribe, hear the legend of the ‘Home Fires of Tāmaki’ and enjoy spectacular views over Auckland.
  • Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
From
US$28.08
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  • Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
From
US$28.08


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