The City of Auckland hosts travelers from all over the world. Offering wonderful white and black sand beaches, beautiful rainforests, regional parks, and a maritime park that preserves about 47 islands, the Ports of Auckland has a wide range of opportunities for visitors. Proud to be called the "City of Sails" due to the enormous popularity of sailing, the city could also be called the "City of Volcanoes," given that it is built on the Auckland Volcanic Field containing 48 extinct volcanoes. The city is a melting pot of Polynesian and European cultures that gives it a unique and enjoyable character. It consistently rates among the top five international cities in the world for quality of life. For detailed information on the many things to see and do when visiting the Ports of Auckland, please visit the city's tourism website.
The Ports of Auckland have a warm temperate climate. Summers are warm and humid, and winters are mild and damp. Auckland is the warmest and sunniest urban center in New Zealand, with an average 2060 hours of sunshine per year. With a range of geographies, the climate varies in different parts of the city. Auckland had its only recorded snowfall in July 1939. Temperatures range comfortably from an average high of 23 °C (74 °F) in January to an average low of 7 °C (45 °F) in July.
Visitors to the Ports of Auckland will want to check out the New Zealand National Maritime Museum a popular world-class must-see attraction chronicling New Zealand's maritime past. It features "See Ta Waka: Our Great Journey," a 10-minute animated film describing one of human history's most amazing migrations. The exhibition galleries showcase the highlights of New Zealand's exploration and maritime development.
The indoor galleries contain some of the country's best maritime artifacts and tell the stories of discovery and development. The Hawaiki gallery contains a replica of the canoes Polynesians used to come to New Zealand and many historic objects from the Maori culture. The former Hall of Yachting (now the Blue Water Black Magic Tribute to Sir Peter Blake) displays the remarkable accomplishments of New Zealand's famous ocean racer. The European Landfalls and Coastal Trade gallery covers the earliest expeditions of Europeans to the country and how they established the nation. The exhibit includes a genuine coastal cutter used for trade in the 1800s.
The wonderful Heritage Vessel Fleet, an outdoor gallery, is located at Hobson Wharf. It is a collection of real 19th Century maritime vessels on which you can take a voyage during sailing days. The fleet includes a ketch-rigged deck scow, a traditional wooden sailing ship, and a steam launch thought to have been used in the logging trade in the late 19th Century.
The Ports of Auckland's StarDome Observatory and Planetarium is in a park that also houses Maori archeological sites, a working farm, walking trails, landmarks, and a children's playground. Some 60 thousand people visit the observatory each year where they enter a 360 ° digital domed theater and are awed by the 0.5m Zeiss telescope. In the theater, visitors are taken on tours of nebulae and galaxies, comets and clusters, the sun and moon, the solar system, and Aoteraroa (the best known Maori name for New Zealand).
The Waitakere Ranges are a gem in the Ports of Auckland containing beautiful waterfalls, beautiful beaches, breathtaking views, and about 250 kilometers of walking trails. Just a 45-minute drive from the center city, the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park covers over 16 thousand hectares of rainforest and coastline. Visitors have almost unlimited opportunities to swim, surf, hike, run, fish, picnic, camp, ride horses, or simply relax. The park has been the scenery for the movie, The Piano, and for popular TV shows like Xena and Hercules, giving it an international reputation.
Travelers wishing to visit the Ports of Auckland can find a schedule of cruise ship visits on the Cruise Compete website.