Things to do in Auckland
Auckland offers a wide range of activities for adventurous couples:
Sailing – Choose the cruise for you from the more than 95 yacht charter companies that call the Waitemata Harbour home.
Explore NZ (www.explorenz.co.nz) offers a range of exciting sailing cruises in a fleet of purpose-built sailboats, which includes the opportunity of sailing a real
America's Cup yacht (photo, right).
For a tall ship sailing experience try the Soren Larsen (www.sorenlarsen.co.nz), star of The Onedin Line television series. Choose from day sails, coffee cruises or a five-night sailing cruise between Auckland and the Bay of Islands. Auckland day trips start at NZ$150 per person, longer voyages cost NZ$1,600 including all meals.
Island Escape Cruises, Princes Wharf (www.islandescape.co.nz), offer a five-day luxury cruise of the Hauraki Gulf aboard the 42m (138-ft.) Island Passage, where you can comfortably enjoy fishing trips, picnics ashore, bush walks, and even expeditions from the ship by helicopter or boat. Expect to pay from NZ$3,750 to NZ$6,250 for double or twin occupancy, which includes all meals, snorkel equipment, fishing gear and boat tours. The cruise visits the beautiful islands of Great Barrier, Waiheke, Kawau and Tiritiri Matangi.
For those with limited time, check out Fullers Auckland (www.fullers.co.nz) for a one and a half-hour harbour cruise, that shows off Viaduct Harbour, Devonport Naval Base and the Harbour Bridge; fares are NZ$38 per person. Or cruise over to Rangitoto Island (NZ$59) and Waiheke Island ( NZ$129), which includes a vineyard tour and lunch.
Surfing – New Zealand Surf 'n' Snow Tours (www.newzealandsurftours.com) offers one- and two-day surf tours for NZ$50 to NZ$199 and a five-day surf tour at NZ$899 to the west coast and Northland regions.
Swimming – Take the plunge at any of the southern beaches: Judges Bay, Okahu Bay, Mission Bay, Kohimarama and St. Heliers Bay, all easily accessible from Tamaki Drive. Or take a ferry to Devonport to reach the North Shore beaches or a bus to Takapuna.
Jet Boating – Head out on to the Waitemata Harbour for a thrilling 35-minute, high-speed ride from Auckland Adventure Jet (www.aucklandadventurejet.co.nz); cost NZ$98 per person.
Kayaking – Choose from several kayaking options, including the spectacular Rangitoto Night Trip, a 75-minute paddle out to the island and a 45-minute walk to the top of Rangitoto for a night view of Auckland. The trip leaves at 6pm, returns by 11pm, and costs around NZ$150 from Ian Ferguson Marine Sports Centre, Okahu Bay (www.fergskayaks.co.nz).
Walking – Stroll the promenade of Tamaki Drive, from the inner city around to the seaside suburbs of Mission Bay and Kohimarama, or take a self-guided trek along the Coast to Coast Walk, a four- to six-hour walk through the inner city and suburbs. A comprehensive map is available from the visitor centre and shows the 15km route. If you want to head further afield, try Waitakere Wilderness Walks (www.wildwalks.co.nz), which offers one- and two-day walks around the unspoiled west coast.
Quad Biking – Head out of city on a quad biking safari – 4 Track Adventures (www.4trackadventures.co.nz) offers one hour safaris for NZ$155 per person; two- and three-hour safaris are also available, with pickup from central hotels and backpackers available for NZ$50.
Mountain Biking – Head over to Auckland Adventures (www.aucklandadventures.co.nz) and choose from several mountain bike tours for groups of five people or more that explore West Auckland. Expect to pay from NZ$85 to NZ$135 per person, depending on length of tour which varys from one to three hours.
Air Bungy – Check out the Sky Screamer at the corner of Albert and Victoria streets, just down from Sky Tower: it will rocket you skyward at 200kmph from 11am to late at NZ$50 per person.
Bungy Jumping – Leap out over Waitemata Harbour for a massive adrenalin rush at the world's first harbour bridge bungy at A. J. Hackett Bungy Auckland (www.bungy.co.nz); NZ$150 for adults.
Golf – The region offers more than 40 golf courses. For details check the Auckland Golf Association ( www.auckgolf.co.nz) for the course nearest your hotel and current greens fees.
Day Spas – Pamper yourself at a choice of day spas, including the Chuan Day Spa at the Langham Hotel, 83 Symonds St. (www.chuanspa.co.nz), which offers herbal steam rooms, saunas, Jacuzzi and a range of facial, massage and body treatments.
East Day Spa, SKYCITY Grand Hotel, 123 Albert St. (www.eastdayspa.com), offers Eastern-style holistic skin-care, massage and beauty treatments. Meanwhile Bliss at Crowne Plaza Hotel, 128 Albert St. (twww.blissreflexology.com), offers traditional Chinese reflexology.
January – The annual Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta (www.regatta.org.nz) attracts local and international sailors on the last Monday in January.
February – The Devonport Food & Wine Festival (www.devonportwinefestival.co.nz) offers nonstop entertainment from jazz to classical music, as well as wine samples from 20 wineries and food.
March – Round the Bays Run (www.roundthebays.co.nz) is held in late March and attracts runners from around the South Pacific who participate in the 8km fun run around the city’s bays.
April – The Royal Easter Show (www.royaleastershow.co.nz) is held at the Epsom Showgrounds and focuses on excellence in agriculture and animal husbandry, with fresh produce stalls and the biggest carnival in New Zealand.
September – The biennial Auckland Festival (www.aucklandfestival.co.nz) is the city’s premier arts-and-cultural event held in the last week of September in odd-numbered years (the next event is 2013).
October – New Zealand Fashion Week (www.nzfashionweek.com) is held in October and presents over 60 New Zealand designers to the world.