Auckland - Port Guide
Where is the ship/how to get to the sights?
Spring/summer Oct-Feb around 15-25 degrees Celsius. Autumn: Mar-May about 10-18 degrees. Winter June-Sept 0-10 degrees. Rain possible year round.
Sights & Sites
- Auckland Art Gallery – Auckland’s main art gallery is mainly made up of modern work, with one level of traditional European art on the second floor. There are exhibits from this century spanning back to the 1700s, which include New Zealand art as well as international, paintings and sculptures. The Expressive Room is a lot of fun, where you can express yourself by joining in making more ‘dots’ collage on the walls and items in the room. Cost: Free to main gallery, cost only for special exhibitions on. Current special exhibition is The Corsini Collection (a collection of treasured Italian art), which costs $19 and is on until January 21st Location: Wellesley Street, by Albert Park. www.aucklandartgallery.com Open: 10-5 every day.
- Skycity Auckland – Auckland Sky Tower – skycity.co.nz
- Sea Life Kelly Tarltons – This large aquarium is one of New Zealand’s finest, with displays of penguins, sharks, tropical tanks, Amazon areas, as well as a huge tank with walk through tunnel underneath. Location: 23 Tamaki Drive, Orakei, Auckland. Open: 9.30am-5pm every day. Bring your Auckland A-Z booklet (attached here and you can pick them up in the terminal or in any tourist information place), to get 15% off the ticket price. They provide a free “Shark Shuttle” from 152 Quay Street, which is right beside the cruise ship terminal, to take you to and from the Aquarium. kellytarltons.co.nz
- Devonport – This is a lovely village, which you can get to by taking the ferry from the main ferry port, right across the street from the cruise port. The ferry takes 12 minutes, and leaves on the hour and half past the hour, and costs $12.50 NZ return. (Returns at 15 and 45 mins past the hour). Highlights in Devonport include, Mount Victoria, the Devonport Chocolate shop, Torpedo Bay Naval Museum, and talking the Heritage Walks around the village (walks are: Our Neighbourhood, Cheltenham-Fort Takupuna, Devonport Waterfront, and Victoria Road-Town Centre, and all take approximately 1 hour.) You can take these walks following the maps attached below (that you can pick up for free in the Devonport Tourist Information Centre). devonportrotary.co.nz. There are many tasty restaurants, cafes and local art galleries in Devonport also. Devonport Chocolates make their own chocolate right on the premises with personalized gifts and tastings always available www.devonportchocolates.co.nz Magic Broomstick Segway Tours are available from right outside the ferry terminal when you arrive in Devonport. www.magicbroomsticktours.co.nz
- Stardome Observatory Planetarium – You can watch and enjoy many educational and entertaining shows for all the family. Cost: $12 NZ for daytime shows. Location: 670 Manuau Road, One Tree Hill, Auckland. stardome.org.nz
- Waiheke Island – Charming Island that can also be reached by the ferry from Auckland. The island is particularly fun in good weather with picturesque sandy beaches and sea swimming opportunities. Waiheke also boasts the Kennedy Point winery, Waiheke Wine Centre and several small art galleries. Reach it from Auckland main Ferry Terminal, taking the ferry. Once you arrive on Waiheke, there is a Hop on-Hop Off Explorer bus option to take to check out all the sights of the island. waihekeexplorer.co.nz Cost: Ferry & Tour $60, Tour only $40.
- Harbour Cruise – You can take the 90 minutes Harbour Cruise from the Auckland Ferry Terminal to enjoy the views from the beautiful Waitemata Harbour, and learn about the area’s wildlife, skyline and city. Cost: $45, leaving Auckland Ferry Terminal at 10.45am & 1.45pm. fullers.co.nz
- Auckland Zoo – Many animals can be discovered here, including the country’s national bird, the Kiwi, with over 50 species to enjoy. aucklandzoo.co.nz
- Techno Fix – If you need any devices such as your IPhone or Ipad repaired whilst on the ship, Techno Fix in Auckland was very helpful to me. Ashish Shivare who works there was honest, helpful and trustworthy trying to assist me with my broken IPhone. I would trust this place for any repairs needing done and tell Ashish I sent you for a favourable rate. Location: 368 Queens Street, Auckland CBD. technofix.co.nz
Auckland has a lot of shops and the major shopping area of the city right next to the ship. There are lots of New Zealand souvenirs available, such as everything Kiwi, Manuka Honey, souvenir T-shirts, magnets, calendars etc. The main downtown area has a lot of high street stores and department stores as well as specialty shops as well. I bought a small soft cuddly Kiwi bird toy that makes an authentic kiwi sound when squeezed for my friend’s new baby. There are many kiwi, wool, Manuka honey, Rotorua Mud, and Maori culture related souvenirs around the city.
If you only have two hours
The city downtown area is right next to the ship so its really easy to see a lot of the centrally based sights within two hours.
What is it known for?
Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand and is known for being known for its art, beautiful islands and beaches nearby, the stunning skyline, wineries and Kelly Tarltons Aquarium.
Food & Drink
Auckland has a prominent Asian population, so there are a lot of great Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Thai restaurants as well as New Zealand pubs with food, and Polynesian dishes available. Auckland has a great coffee culture too with many delightful coffee joints on Lorne Street, which runs parallel to Queen Street. 1 Khartoum Place, located in a side square off Lorne Street is beautifully decorated and has tasty coffee. There are many great Asian restaurants on Albert Street, such as Thai restaurant Grasshopper.
There is Wi-Fi in most bars and restaurants in Auckland. The public libraries and in the city centre (but the city Wi-Fi isn’t very good).
You can change money in the banks and money exchange places around the city centre with several ATMs and major bank branches as well as MoneyGram and Western Union all along Queen’s Street (the main street of downtown and shopping street).
Karen’s Top Tip
Auckland is a large metropolitan city and therefore has access to a lot of practical things. For crewmembers, it is a great place to get the practical things done, such as; banking, money exchanging or sending home, shopping for toiletries, stocking up on snacks (there is a Metro Supermarket on Queen Street). It also is a rich cultural place with free museums and art galleries. My tip is getting everything practical done to that you need, then enjoy the sights with Wi-Fi, and some good coffee and food.
Also, I would recommend taking the Ferry over to Davenport village to stroll around and enjoy its tranquil beauty. The Ferry terminal is right next to where we dock and very easy to go to the other villages or nearby islands from, with frequent departures.
Take your Auckland A-Z booklet with you everywhere for info and before booking anything, check their coupon page, as there are discounts for many of Auckland’s main attractions, and many maps of the various areas of Auckland.
My experience here
I have been to Auckland three times so far; the first time I spent in the downtown area, the second I took the ferry over to Devonport, and the third back in the downtown area.
The first time, I went out in downtown and wandered about checking out the ferry terminal area to see where they went, then walked up along Queen Street, the main drag in the CBD. I did a bit of shopping, and had a very pleasant sushi lunch in Sushi King off Queen Street. I then found Techno Fix device repair shop on Queen Street, who tried to fix my IPhone for me. Hashish, who works there was very helpful, honest and direct, which I have not always found in phone and device repair stores. I then met up with my friend Dylan, who I worked with on a ship 10 years ago in New Zealand, as his father and him run the tour company Renaissance Tours, which provide many tours around New Zealand. They have the contract with some cruise lines to provide their tours as well, with RCCL and Princess. I worked on RCCL at the time, which is how I got to know Dylan. We kept in touch over the years and it was really awesome to meet up in person and catch up on the entire goings on over the years, including us both progressing in our careers, and getting married and buying property, and him now having a son.
The second time I was in Auckland, I took the ferry over to Davenport. It is a charming village, and even though it was raining very heavily for most of the day, the village was still a delightful place to visit. The tourist information office on the main street is very useful. With two helpful ladies there who are very enthusiastic and proud of their wee village and very happy to tell you all about it. The Heritage Walks (all of which take about an hour) in particular look very interesting and they will give you the leaflets with maps (all of which are attached here) so you can self guide the walk and learn a lot more about the area. I walked up most of Mount Victoria in the rain then browsed the galleries and shops full of curiosities. I found the Devonport Chocolates store and enjoyed viewing their wares, sampling their chocolate and bought some for Nick for his birthday (that day). We went for birthday sushi lunch in Asahi in the main street, where you can choose your food from the trays displayed or order off the menu. The sushi was very tasty. We stopped for a cup of coffee out of the rain in Java Coffee in the Arcades, with some Wi-Fi, (and they have a good supply of magazines and periodicals for you to read while sitting there if you like), then took the ferry back to downtown Auckland and the ship for work.
The third visit was also rainy and there wasn’t too much time, so we spent it in the CB again when we got out after working a bit in the morning. This time we went to the Auckland Art Gallery and enjoyed all the levels of art, modern, traditional, Kiwi and International. Afterwards we headed to Grasshopper Thai restaurant on Lower Albert Street to have a farewell lunch with some friends from the crew who were leaving the ship that day. The restaurant has delicious authentic Thai dishes and good lunch special deals (no Wi-Fi).
My Most Memorable Moment
I loved meeting up with an old shipmate who lives in Auckland, Dylan, who I hadn’t seen for ten years and catching up.
Also, I loved Devonport and its charming stores, galleries and cute coffee shops and restaurants.
This is my Karen’s Quick Guide to the downtown area of Auckland in New Zealand. It is a lovely city with lots to see and do, and many things right by the where the ship docks. Check it out!