Sail Into New Zealand's Scenic Cruise Ports

25 May 2014

If you are dreaming of cruising New Zealand, make sure you add these ports of call to your must-see cruise list. From subtropical islands in the north, to the dramatic fiords of the south, these scenic destinations show off New Zealand’s natural beauty at its best.

 Milford Sound and Mitre Peak in Fiordland National Park

Bay Of Islands

This subtropical micro-region is a beach-lover’s paradise, spanning 144 islands between Cape Brett and Purerua Peninsula. Keep an eye out for the wealth of wildlife including penguins, dolphins, whales, birdlife and more.

One of the highlights is taking a boat to the ‘hole in the rock’, an 18-metre hole in the side of Piercy Island. If conditions are right, the boat can pass straight through the spectacular rock formation.

Akaroa

Just 75 kilometres from Christchurch, and nestled within a deep, sheltered harbour, Akaroa is one of the country’s most stunning ports. History buffs will love learning about the town’s French connection, while those with a passion for fine food and wine are sure to find the offerings to be first class.

Don’t miss the chance to join a harbour tour to spot the endangered Hector’s dolphin – one of the world’s smallest dolphins – which calls these sheltered waters home. Those willing to brave the icy waters can even don a wetsuit and take a dip with the dolphins for a truly magical experience.

Fiordland National Park

It’s hard not to feel awed by the beauty of Milford Sound, especially while you drift past granite peaks, icy waterfalls and glistening fiords.

Fiordland National Park is one place that is best seen from the water, where you can take in the sheer beauty of its untouched landscape. Bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and penguins play in the icy waters, and there is a wealth of beech forests and moss-carpeted valleys to explore off the ship.

Tauranga & Rotorua

After docking in the laidback beachside town of Tauranga, head 80-kilometres inland to explore the geothermal activity at Rotorua. Sitting on the Pacific Rim of Fire, you’ll be met with boiling mud pools, hissing geysers and clouds of billowing steam that puff up around every bend.

This area is also rich in Maori history, so take the time to tour an authentic pre-European village, or enjoy a music and dance performance. For adrenaline junkies, Rotorua also offers skydiving, bungee jumping and mountain bike circuits.

Wellington

Known for its arts, culture and scenic location, Wellington is one of the most picturesque capitals you’ll ever visit. Its location alone makes it worth a stop, with rolling hills, pristine beaches and a glistening harbour. However, it's the plethora of museums, art galleries, theatres and restaurants that makes this city really exciting.

It’s easy to spend your time enjoying the many cafes, bars and restaurants on offer in Wellington, but don’t get too comfortable. Take time to explore its harbour setting, which many believe is one of the finest in the world. For a faster-paced day, try some of Wellington’s famous activities. You can go sea kayaking, mountain biking, or take in the best of its waterfront on the City to Sea Walkway.

Cassie Harrex

Writer by profession and traveller by choice, you can find Cassie anywhere between the Alps and the Andes with her young family in tow. For Cassie, nothing beats the vibrancy of South America – she has lived in both Argentina and Colombia. Her passion for collecting recipes has led to a lifelong mission to discover the world one dish at a time.