City of Sails
When cruising from Auckland, close the guidebooks and let a local lead the way.
By Rosemary Neave
Auckland has been my home since my 20s, when I came for a holiday, fell in love with New Zealand, and never left. As a web designer and passionate networker, I love sharing stories and discoveries on my blog, womentravelblog.com, as well as with visitors such as cruise passengers, who typically have only a brief time to explore this fascinating city.
Everyone goes to the Auckland Museum for its excellent Maori cultural performances. But even better is to join Bianca Ranson and Potiki Adventures for a small group tour of beautiful Waiheke Island, where you’ll explore with your Maori guide as you visit the white-sand beaches and hear about Tangaroa, the god of the sea. Walk through native bush and learn about the traditional uses for plants as food and medicine. A trip to this magical island isn’t complete without a visit to one of its many outstanding wineries and a stop at one of the local cafés. If you have more time, stay overnight.
Off the Beaten Path
To escape the crowds, catch a ferry to Rangitoto Island, the distinctive volcano off the coast of Auckland. At only 500 to 600 years old, it boasts a unique landscape, and a walk to the summit will take about an hour at an easy pace. Wear sturdy walking shoes and take water and snacks, as there are no shops on the island. What there is, however, is rugged lava crops, native bush, and tons of panoramic views.
If It’s Free, It’s For Me
Check out the city by biking its picturesque waterfront. In downtown Auckland, you can rent a bike from Nextbike, which is free for two hours and for a nominal fee after that. Ride along the waterfront to the left and explore the new Wynyard Quarter and…
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Photo: Amos Chapple/Getty Images