Auckland, New Zealand: A Boat Lover’s Paradise

Auckland, New Zealand: A Boat Lover’s Paradise

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Auckland, New Zealand, did not earn the nickname “City of Sails” for nothing. For starters, Auckland has more yachts per capita than any city in the world, and the Westhaven Marina located there is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. To put it another way, one in three of Auckland’s households owns a boat, which yields a cornucopia of 130,000 yachts and launches on the city’s numerous docks.

Sure, you can enjoy smaller harbor towns with their small, picturesque marinas that take about 15 minutes to see, but for sheer size and variety, Auckland cannot be beaten. If you want to wander around for days and gaze at boats in all shapes and sizes, then Auckland can keep you busy.

The city offers much more, though, to sportsmen and women than simply looking at boats in port. It also serves as the site for many competitions, offering a look at sea craft in motion while their skilled teams furiously move about to gain even the tiniest advantage.

The 2000 and 2003 America’ Cup challenges were held in Auckland, for example, and the city’s abundant sailing clubs hold both formal and informal competitions throughout the year for spectators to enjoy. For those who want to participate more than spectate, SailNZ offers the opportunity to join an actual team of an America’s Cup yacht for a few hours. You can choose the two-hour sail or the three-hour match race and find out why sailors are among New Zealand’s most popular athletes. You’ll also see first-hand that high stakes sailing has little in common with a leisurely drift across the water. No experience is necessary, but you should be in decent physical condition and able to learn fast if you are to do your job properly on board.

If you’re not up to pulling rope or raising sails but still want to take a boat ride, Auckland offers numerous cruises that both tour the city and its surrounding islands. You can hop off on the islands and explore more yourself, then catch a return ride to Devonport according to the operator’s schedule.

Once you are back to the marina, head into the local streets and find just about whatever you are looking for, from upscale shops to flea markets. If you’d rather swim than shop, a short ride to Waitemata Harbor offers access to popular beaches such as Mission Bay and Devonport. Catching a bus is easy, but for more independent travelers, there are car rental companies such as Omega Rental Cars Auckland where you can hire a car.

After the sun goes down, Auckland’s nightlife springs into action, and the Viaduct Harbor area offers top spots to eat and people watch. More than 20 restaurants and bars open their doors and porches to you, and al fresco dining is available almost year-round. Soak in the harbor atmosphere, smell the water, enjoy the breeze and ask for one of New Zealand’s prize-winning wines.  The seafood is fresh and hearty, too, and the atmosphere can be tough to match anywhere on the planet.

If you love boats, Auckland, New Zealand, should be on your next travel itinerary. The City of Sails beckons the sailor in all of us.

Author Bio: Omega Car Rental New Zealand is one of New Zealand’s largest independent car hire companies. They specialize in providing late model cars to a wide variety of travelers around New Zealand. Image by PhillipC