Waitemata Harbour, Auckland Overview

Waitemata Harbour of Northern Island in New Zealand is the primary hub of the Auckland region. It opens into the east of the Hauraki Gulf through Stanley Bay and is the main access to the city to the sea. It is a stunning Harbour from where one can have the pleasure to see the dramatic skyline of Auckland and also relish the scenic beauty of the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Waitemata Harbour connects the main port of the city and Auckland Waterfront to the Pacific Ocean.  One should definitely spend an entire day out in the water, sailing through the gorgeous sparkling sea and enjoy the panoramic views offered by the Harbour.

Waitemata Harbour View

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Best Time to Visit

Tamaki Harenga Waka is a splendid elaboration of the Māori history and an astounding representation of the culture and heritage of Tāmaki Makaurau that take place at ANZ Viaduct Basin. The city has a rich Māori history, which is the root of 19 Mana Whenua groups. Celebrations in several places like the Viaduct Events Centre, Maori folk events and shows follow one after the other. One can also enjoy typical dishes or discover traditional Maori games. The summer months of December-February have an ideal temperature, ranging between 20℃ to 25 °C. One can be a part of the 'Tamaki Herenga Waka' festival during this time of visit as well.

What to Do

Going on cruises on Waitemata Harbour is a popular activity. The sparkling waters, which give the harbour its Maori name, is full of cruise ships taking Aucklanders and tourists alike on lunch and dinner cruises. Fullers360 provides daily cruises with prices starting at NZD 50 per adult that show you around the harbour and teach you about the landmarks around it.

The more active an adventure-seeking breed of visitor can opt to go kayaking in the calm waters of the Waitemata, and kayaks can be rented from many watersport equipment rental store that dot the harbour.


Waitemata Harbour, prior to European colonial times, was the main mooring and Port area for the Auckland region. The harbour was considered to have good protection against winds and also had comparatively fewer fish shoals and sandbars around. This made the pathway for ships, very easy to enter. In the 1900s, it was also decided by the Government to build a Canal that would link the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours. However, no action was taken under the 'Auckland and Manukau Canal Act 1908' and therefore, the Act was Finally revoked on 1st November 2010.


Waitemata Harbour entrance can be spotted to between North head and Bastion point in the South. The harbour is an extended arm of the Hauraki Gulf towards west from the end of the Rangitoto Channel. Towards the extreme west of the Harbour, the waters exceed to Te Atatu while towards the north, it passes Whenuapai. And to its southwest, it forms an estuary known as the Whau River.

Waitemata Harbour is a drowned valley system that was whittled through the Miocene Marine deposits of the Waitemata group of mountains. There are other wharves and ports within the Harbour, like the Devonport Naval Base, Kauri Point Armament Depot at Birkenhead, Chelsea Sugar Refinery wharf etc. All of these can take ships over 500 GRT. Ferry services to the Auckland CBD are frequently offered by Beach Heaven, Northcote, Devonport, and West Harbour.

How To Reach Waitemata Harbour

Waitemata Harbour is 11 kilometres away from the main city and it takes approximately 20-25 minutes to reach the Harbour. There are several commuting options available for this route. If one is planning to drive, it will take about 18 minutes to reach the harbour. One can take a bus or train to reach Devonport Ferry Terminal and then take a lovely ferry tour and discover the beautiful harbour and nearby islands. While getting back, one can take the exquisite tram ride from Auckland Tram Route to the main city.

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