One Day in Auckland From Cruise Ship: The Perfect Itinerary

One Day in Auckland From Cruise Ship: The Perfect Itinerary

A picturesque view of Auckland's skyline from the water, featuring high-rise buildings, the Sky Tower, and a beautiful sky at sunrise or sunset

Get ready for the perfect one day in Auckland from a cruise ship. With this itinerary, you’ll be able to make the most of your time in this stunning country! 

Whether you prefer organized tours or exploring on your own with ultimate flexibility, I’ve crafted an itinerary packed with the best Auckland has to offer. 

From sipping coffee at Commercial Bay to getting your adrenaline pumping at the Sky Tower and exploring cinematic wonders at Weta Workshop to artistic treasures at the Auckland Art Gallery, there’s something for everyone in this city. 

And you’re in luck! Most of the top attractions are within walking distance from the cruise docks so you can really tick off a lot in one day.

Let’s dive into the perfect one day in Auckland from a cruise ship!

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Table of Contents

  • The Auckland Cruise Port
  • One Day in Auckland From Cruise Ship – Your Options
  • The Best Tours and Day Trips in Auckland
  • One Day in Auckland Self-Guided Itinerary
    • 1. Commercial Bay

    • 2. Sky Tower
    • 3. Weta Workshop or Auckland Art Gallery
    • 4. Maritime Museum 
    • 5. Lunch at Viaduct Harbour
    • 6. Ferry to Devonport 
  • How to Get Around Auckland
  • Conclusion: One Day in Auckland From Cruise Ship
  • FAQ: One Day in Auckland From Cruise Port
    • Is cruising a good way to see New Zealand?

    • Where do cruise ships dock in Auckland?
    • How far is Auckland cruise port from Auckland airport?
    • Is Auckland a walkable city?
  • About the Author

The Auckland Cruise Port

Auckland’s cruise terminals are split between two main wharves. Conveniently, they are both right next to each other, located downtown in the heart of Auckland’s CBD.

The most well-known cruise port in Auckland is Queens Wharf, located at 89 Quay Street.

Other vessels dock at Princes Wharf, located at 137 Quay Street, directly across from Queens Wharf.

No matter which port you dock at, taxis, rideshares, or a short walk to the Britomart transport hub or the Ferry Terminal will get you anywhere you need to go.

My tip: you’re most likely better off just walking straight into the CBD to kickstart your day of sightseeing!

A picturesque view of Auckland's skyline from the water, featuring high-rise buildings, the Sky Tower, and a beautiful sky at sunrise or sunset The Auckland cruise terminal is in the front

One Day in Auckland From Cruise Ship – Your Options

You have a couple of options for your day of exploring Auckland from a cruise ship.

You can book an organized tour or explore the city on your own with my suggested itinerary. Here’s a sneak peek of what’s in store! 

Morning: Breakfast at Commercial Bay, visit the Skytower, and choose between Weta Workshop Unleashed or Auckland Art Gallery

Lunch: Head to Viaduct Harbour for lunch with a beautiful view

Afternoon: Hop on the ferry to explore Devonport

The Best Tours and Day Trips in Auckland

If you want to leave the itinerary planning up to a local expert, a tour of Auckland is a great option.

I recommend booking a tour with a good cancellation policy, as cruise ships can be late or ports of call can get canceled due to bad weather.

Viator offers fantastic options, and you can cancel for free—perfect for cruisers!

Here are some great tours I recommend you check out:

  • Half-day Discover Auckland City Sightseeing Tour 🤩5/5 Stars (647 Reviews)
  • Auckland Dolphin and Whale Watching Eco-Safari Cruise 🤩4.5/5 Stars (1475 Reviews)
  • Electric Bike Tour of Auckland’s Highlights 🤩5/5 Stars (331 Reviews)
  • Flavours of our City Food Walk 🤩5/5 Stars (131 Reviews)
  • Hobbiton Movie Set Small Group Tour from Auckland 🤩5/5 Stars (679 Reviews)

One Day in Auckland Self-Guided Itinerary

1. Commercial Bay

Onto my one-day in Auckland itinerary!

Start your morning at Commercial Bay, a vibrant hub just a 5 to 10-minute walk from the cruise terminals.

Treat yourself to a hearty breakfast at Lieutenant Coffee Bar & Eatery. It is known for its excellent small-batch coffee and delicious food. I

f you prefer something cheap and cheerful, you can’t go wrong with Best Ugly Bagels—a New Zealand favorite!

Afterward, take time to explore the stylish boutiques and specialty stores that line the precinct.

From fashion to local crafts, Commercial Bay offers a fabulous shopping experience. Soak in the modern architecture and lively atmosphere, it’s a perfect way to start your day in Auckland.

two delicious bagels at the best ugly bagels company in auckland, one of the must-visit spots in the city when you only have one day.

2. Sky Tower

After breakfast at Commercial Bay, make your way to Auckland’s iconic Sky Tower. It is just a 10-minute walk away.

Standing tall at 328 meters (1,076 feet), the tower offers breathtaking 360-degree views of the city. You can even see its stunning harbors.

For the best experience, I recommend purchasing tickets in advance to skip the line! Tickets to the observation deck cost $38 NZD. This includes a ride in glass-fronted elevators to the observation decks.

Adrenaline junkies also have several options to choose from. You can experience the thrilling SkyWalk for $215 NZD or take the plunge with the SkyJump for $330 NZD.

Alternatively for something a little different, you can enjoy an adrenaline-fueled 360º virtual reality tour of the city’s skyline with the SkySlide for a reasonable $38 NZD.

If adrenaline sports aren’t quite your thing, relax with a coffee at the Sky Bar and soak in the spectacular views (much more my thing tbh!)

A stunning aerial view of downtown Auckland with high-rise buildings, a waterfront, and the surrounding landscape under a clear blue sky.

After taking in the gorgeous views from the Sky Tower, your Auckland adventure continues with two fun options just a short walk away.

For a dive into cinematic magic, head to Weta Workshop Unleashed. This awesome experience will show you the creative genius behind blockbuster films like The Lord of the Rings and Avatar.

You can explore the cool props, interactive exhibits, and behind-the-scenes secrets that make Weta Workshop a must-visit.

If you’re more interested in exploring the art and culture of the city, make your way to the Auckland Art Gallery. They feature contemporary Kiwi artists as well as Māori and Pacific Island collections.

4. Maritime Museum 

Continue your one day in Auckland from the cruise ship with a visit to the New Zealand Maritime Museum. It is located in Viaduct Harbour.

To get to the museum from either the Art Gallery or Weta Workshop, take a 15-20 minute stroll back towards the waterfront. There are plenty of cafes and shops to stop at along the way if you’re in need of a pick-me-up. 

This museum is all about celebrating New Zealand’s seafaring spirit. From ancient Polynesian voyages to modern-day maritime innovations, there’s something here for everyone.

You can even hop aboard historic vessels and learn about Kiwi sailing legends, including their epic America’s Cup wins.

beautiful old ship docked in front of the maritime museum in Auckland

5. Lunch at Viaduct Harbour

By now you’re probably itching to rest your feet and recharge with a nice hearty meal. 

I recommend heading to White + Wong’s located right on Viaduct Harbour. It offers incredible views, just footsteps from the Maritime Museum. Here you’ll find a delicious selection of Asian fusion bites and yummy drinks. Make sure to order some dumplings, they are to die for! 

Another fantastic option is Dr Rudi’s Rooftop Brewing Co, a rooftop spot with gorgeous views, cold brews, and epic burgers, nibbles, and pizzas. 

delicious lunch in Auckland at white and wongs on the viaduct harbor with some food on the table and a mans hand ready to grab some bites

6. Ferry to Devonport 

After soaking up the views and enjoying a delicious meal, hop on a ferry from Downtown Ferry Terminal (Pier 2) to Devonport. Get ready for a laid-back escape in the middle of your cruise day in Auckland.

The 12-minute ferry ride itself is a mini adventure. You’ll get awesome views of Auckland’s skyline and the beautiful Hauraki Gulf.

The trip will take you to a charming seaside village with a super relaxed vibe. Once you’re in Devonport, stroll through its cute streets full of boutique shops, art galleries, and cozy cafes.

For a bit of exploration, hike up Mount Victoria for amazing views of the city and beyond. There are a few paths to choose from that will take around 40 minutes to the summit and back.

If history’s your thing, check out the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum. Or simply kick back and relax on the beach.

When you’re ready to head back to Auckland, catch the ferry from Devonport Ferry Terminal back to Downtown which is essentially on your cruise terminal’s doorstep. 

 Tip: Make sure to check the ferry timetable in advance and leave plenty of time to arrive back at your dock on time. The ferries depart every 30 minutes, but don’t risk being late and getting left behind!

awesoem view of the beautiful beach in devonport island near the coast of auckland.

How to Get Around Auckland

Navigating Auckland is pretty easy with its efficient public transport system, which includes trains, buses, and ferries.

For more seamless travel, I suggest keeping a bit of cash handy to purchase train and ferry tickets. If you plan on exploring by bus, pick up a HOP card as cash isn’t accepted onboard.

Uber and taxis are also convenient options for getting around the city. Whether you’re heading to your next destination or just want a quick ride back to your cruise ship, rideshares are readily available.

But ultimately exploring on foot is highly recommended! Most of the top attractions are within walking distance of the CBD and the cruise docks. 

Conclusion: One Day in Auckland From Cruise Ship

I hope you found this guide super helpful in planning your perfect one-day in Auckland from the cruise ship! 

From ticking off iconic landmarks like the Sky Tower to enjoying the views at Viaduct Harbour with a cold drink in hand, this itinerary is designed to offer the perfect first glimpse of the largest city in New Zealand.

Take in the stunning views, enjoy the local culture, and don’t forget to take plenty of photos!

Enjoy your travels and I hope you have an absolute blast in Auckland!

Can’t get enough of exploring Australia and New Zealand? Check out:

🇦🇺 Perfect 1 Day Blue Mountains Itinerary (Local’s Guide)

🇦🇺 North Island New Zealand Itinerary 5 Days: Hidden Gems

🇦🇺 One Day in Sydney From Cruise Ship: The Perfect Itinerary

🇦🇺 Awesome 5 Days Itinerary for South Island New Zealand

🇦🇺 One Day in Brisbane (From Cruise Port) – Awesome Things to Do

FAQ: One Day in Auckland From Cruise Port

Is cruising a good way to see New Zealand?

Cruising is a great way to see New Zealand! You can visit many beautiful spots without the hassle of driving. Enjoy stunning landscapes, friendly locals, and amazing wildlife. Plus, there’s something for everyone: adventure, culture, and relaxation. It’s an easy and fun way to explore this amazing country. Combine your cruise to New Zealand with a cruise around Australia and Southeast Asia for the ultimate adventure.

Where do cruise ships dock in Auckland?

Cruise ships in Auckland dock at Princes Wharf and Queens Wharf. These are right in the heart of the city, making it super easy for passengers to explore downtown Auckland. From the wharves, you can quickly access restaurants, shops, and attractions. It’s a convenient starting point for your New Zealand adventure! Follow this one-day in Auckland itinerary for ultimate city views.

How far is Auckland cruise port from Auckland airport?

The cruise port in Auckland is about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Auckland Airport. It usually takes around 30 to 40 minutes by car, depending on traffic. There are also shuttle services and taxis available to make the trip easy and convenient.

Is Auckland a walkable city?

Yes, Auckland is a walkable city! The downtown area is compact, with lots of shops, restaurants, and attractions close together. You can easily stroll around the waterfront, visit parks, and explore cultural sites. Public transportation and bike rentals also make getting around easy if you want to go a bit further. Take the ferry to Devonport for scenic views and cute villages.

About the Author

Justin is a military pilot and travel blogger. Due to his job, he splits his time between the US, Curacao, and Europe.

Justin enjoys discovering the world together with his wife and venturing out with his drone to take magical shots.

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