12 Hours in Auckland: Urban and Natural Wonders in a Diverse City


Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand — but not the country’s capital. Housing around 30 per cent of NZ’s total population, this vibrant metropolis is a far cry from the stunning scenery that has led to New Zealand being dubbed the most beautiful country in the world.

That said, Auckland is far from ugly. From its bountiful leisure facilities to its striking architecture; the city ranked 3rd in a recent survey looking into the quality of life of 215 global cities — making it a must-visit destination during your time in New Zealand.

Whether you’ve booked a cruise departing from the ‘City of Sails’ or Auckland is part of your overall cruise itinerary, here’s an in-depth guide on how to make the most of your time in this beautiful city.


Mt Eden

From the moment you set foot in Auckland, you’ll notice a bulge in the landscape to the south of the city. This is Mt Eden, a dormant volcano whose summit forms the highest natural point in Auckland. Last erupting over 15,000 years ago, Mt Eden is now one of the best places to enjoy panoramic views over Auckland.

The people you can see on the blue looking rim are on a Sky Walk, one of the ultimate activities on the Sky Tower: Walk the Sky Tower on the outside.

Sky Tower

Another memorable way to enjoy a bird’s eye view of Auckland is to climb to the very top of Auckland’s Sky Tower. At 328m, the tower is the tallest man-made structure in the Southern Hemisphere — so expect breath-taking views from the top. If you’re feeling particularly brave, why not tackle the SkyJump — a 192 metre wired base-jump from the top of the city’s iconic tower.

Viaduct Harbour

‘Where Auckland meets the ocean’ — that’s how Viaduct Harbour is described on its official website. Within a short distance to the city’s main cruise ship terminal, this picturesque harbour is home to an array of restaurants and entertainment venues and is arguably Auckland’s prettiest, most relaxing place for a walk on a sunny afternoon.


Auckland Museum

Auckland Museum 

If history’s where your loyalties lie, there’s no better place to swot up on your New Zealand knowledge than at Auckland Museum. With its impressive, White House-esque façade, this museum-come-war memorial is regarded as one of the country’s most preeminent visitor attractions and regularly hosts exciting exhibitions and events.

Goat Island Wildlife Encounter

Go off the beaten track in north Auckland, and you’ll stumble across Goat Island — a serene nature reserve chock-a-block with rare marine life. To reach the island, visitors are required to take a short journey aboard a glass-bottomed boat, which in itself is an excellent way to get to grips with local wildlife. Once there, you can dive beneath the waves to get up close and personal to the aquatic critters, or simply bask on the shore and soak up the beauty of the island.

goat island marine reserve

The Domain

With a name like ‘The Domain’, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a shopping or entertainment arcade. The Domain is Auckland’s oldest park — a sprawling mass of landscaped grounds developed around the cone of a dormant volcano. With formal gardens and open green spaces aplenty, The Domain is an excellent place to enjoy the great outdoors during your visit to Auckland.


Beautifully presented food


If you live by the belief that Italian food is the best food, you must pay a visit to Baduzzi. Despite being thousands of miles from Italy, Baduzzi delivers ample dolce vita to the good people of New Zealand — serving up an eclectic roster of carefully prepared Italian cuisine. From the classics like pizza and pasta to the more decadent offerings like Wakanui beef sirloin; Baduzzi is heaven for Italian food lovers.

Marsella’s Tacos 

Hailing from the other side of the Pacific, Marsella is a Californian ex-pat bringing the true taste of Mexico to the people of Auckland. From the back of her mobile food cart, Marsella cooks up some of the tastiest tacos this side of the International Date Line. If you’re roaming the streets of the city and spot her taco stall, be sure to join the back of the queue to experience some of the tastiest street food in NZ.

marsellas tacos auckland

Craft Kitchen 

If you’re looking for a light bite to keep you going ‘til you’re safe aboard your cruise ship, Craft Kitchen is the place to go. Serving up a delicious array of organic fare, this café takes pride in everything it puts on your table — from its fair-trade coffee to its homemade cakes. As a bonus, the café’s staff are some of the friendliest you’re likely to find in the city — offering a warm, friendly welcome to locals and tourists alike.

If you’re interested in booking a cruise holiday from, to or via New Zealand with Cruise1st Australia, browse a complete range of upcoming cruise breaks visiting the country. Alternatively, should you need any help finding the cruise that’s for you, give our expert team a call on 1300 857 345 and we’ll be happy to help you.

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