One of the perks of being a city on the edge of a bay, and there are many, is the constant access to facilities that allow incredibly cool sports like windsurfing and sailing. An added benefit if said city is Auckland in wool-saturated New Zealand is the active encouragement to get out into the bay and risk life and limb amongst the plethora of other craft taking to the water. New Zealanders are nothing if not advocators of plentiful exercise. One of the stops on an adventure trip around New Zealand has to be in Auckland, for nowhere else in New Zealand is quite like it.
Auckland lies across two main harbours, Waitemata and Manukau. Dubbed City of Sails because of the proliferation of sailboats in the harbour, Auckland unsurprisingly boasts a very water-friendly attitude towards leisure. Apparently one in every third Auckland household owns a boat, which gives some indication of just how integral sailing is to the city. Consider then how easy it is to hire a boat and to sail from the cityside Freemans Bay over to Stanley’s Bay, or to Torpedo Bay, or to Ngataringa Bay, or to Westhaven, or to any of the other bays within sailing distance of the two main harbours. If full sailing isn’t quite what the average tourist is licensed to do, then take the opportunity to be trained up as crew on an America’s Cup yacht. For those in the know, the America’s Cup is one of the oldest and most prestigious yachting regattas in the world, and being able to take part is an exhilarating experience. If that still doesn’t appeal, there are a multitude of cruise and ferry options on offer, and if taken at the right time of year, these can be combined with dolphin-spotting excursions.
For the truly adventurous, the Waitemata Harbour Bridge is definitely not to be missed. Walking across it is sure to get the heart pumping; bungee jumping off it definitely will. Experience the sheer adrenaline of plunging towards the aqua waters of the bay and walk away with a story for the relatives, friends, kids and grandkids. If surfing the water is more enjoyable than dropping towards it, kitesurfing on Auckland’s west coast has to be tried. Kayaking is also a favourite pastime around the Auckland coastline, with kayaks easily hired for the day.
Trips around the various nearby harbours come as standard, but also available are dozens of day trips out to stunning islands such as Great Barrier Island and Waiheke Island. Both of the islands offer the beach experience not readily available at the city shorelines, and both have their separate attractions: Great Barrier Island is home to some gorgeous hot springs while Waiheke Island boasts vineyards and olive groves. Visit Great Barrier Island for the peaceful scenery and Waiheke for the wine tasting. Of course, Auckland has a multitude of other cultural and historical treasures for the intrepid explorer to discover; the only difficulty lies in deciding what to do and when to do it.