Hauraki Gulf’s beautiful islands

Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf is home to many beautiful islands just a short ferry ride from downtown Auckland – a unique luxury that not many other cities can offer. 

Be sure to visit Waiheke Island, the jewel of the Hauraki Gulf, a haven of beautiful vineyards, olive groves and sandy beaches all just a 35-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland. Sample award-winning wines, enjoy fine dining and take in the island’s stunning views that will have you reaching for the camera. You can also zoom around on a scooter, hit the mountain biking or walking trails or go sea kayaking to explore the sandy bays and inlet. 

Auckland’s most iconic island is the volcanic cone of Rangitoto. Explore by foot or hop on the Fullers Volcanic Explorer tour, where you’ll enjoy a scenic ferry ride across the harbour and a fascinating guided tour on a 4WD road train to the top. Walk through the world’s largest pohutukawa forest, see the lava caves and be blown away by the breathtaking views from the 260 metre high summit –something the whole family will love. 

Those keen to discover a ‘diamond in the rough’ can travel by light plane to Great Barrier Island, renowned for its remoteness and rugged beauty. Enjoy secluded natural hot springs and visit historic kauri dams. Alternatively, get there on a scenic heli-fishing flight and land a big one from a remote rock ledge.

Hit the harbour

Set on the sparkling waters of three harbours, there are countless water-based activities that make the most of Auckland’s spectacular natural environment. 

Take the amazing opportunity to be part of the crew on an actual America’s Cup racing yacht with the America’s Cup sailing experience. Usually reserved for billionaires and elite professional yachtsmen, helping to man one of these superb racing machines is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You can get as stuck in as you like – take the helm, get your pulse racing on the grinders – or simply sit back and enjoy the scenic trip across the harbour. No experience is necessary.

Get your thrills with an adrenalin pumping jet boat ride on Auckland’s harbour – high speeds, knuckle-biting spins and turns and a few surprise tricks. Or if you’d rather just unwind on the water, enjoy a relaxing harbour dinner cruise.  Get out on the magnificent Waitemata Harbour before dining on delicious New Zealand cuisine from award-winning Kermadec restaurant 

The wild west

Auckland’s west coast is famous for its lush rainforest, native wildlife and rugged black sand surf beaches such as Piha, Karekare, Bethells and Muriwai. Climb Piha’s iconic Lion Rock and see the Maori carving overlooking the beach, and be amazed at the huge gannet colony at Muriwai. Or stretch your legs and explore the 250 kilometres of walking tracks that lead to beaches, breathtaking vistas and waterfalls.