Norwegian Jewel New Zealand Cruise First Port, Auckland
We had two and a half days of blissful sea days before arriving at our first destination, Auckland.
It’s not Sydney. It’s not Rio. The approach by sea to the port of Auckland is scenically unremarkable and the cruise terminal is a converted 1980s cargo shed. The infrastructure, in fact, is so barely adequate that some modern megaships are obliged to anchor offshore and bring passengers in by tender. All of that said, the port of Auckland is located smack-dab in the middle of downtown and it’s right next to road, rail and touring connections. There is plenty to see: once a relative dullsville, Auckland has emerged in the past decade as a vibrant Pacific city with visit-worthy cultural attractions and a cosmopolitan dining scene that rivals those of Sydney or Melbourne. There are also attractive destinations in the hinterland
Situated off Tamaki Drive near Mission Bay, The Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park is set amongst 49 hectares of land with impressive panoramic views overlooking Waitemata harbour and Rangitoto Island.
The tall obelisk, sunken pool and landscaped gardens is a memorial to New Zealand’s first Labour Prime Minister (1872 – 1940) and also the founder of the Welfare State.
In 1860, 1879 and 1880 Ngati Whatua leaders Tuhaere and Te Kawau assembled many North Island chiefs to the Kohimaramara Conference to establish a Maori Parliament. They sought to redress on land issues and equality under the law. In the 1930’s the Maori sought remedy through Michael Savage, the serving Prime Minister of the Labour Government. With Maori support Labour had entered Parliament for the first time, beginning a long-standing relationship.
All sightseeing considerations in Auckland are governed by; how long your ship is in port, and the city’s diabolic traffic. If you are in town for a day or overnight, keep your plans modest. If your stay is longer, consider a trip to out-of-town destinations such as the Lord of the Rings’ Hobbiton Movie Set in the Waikato region, or the Waitomo Caves. Both are a bit of a hike for a day trip but doable.
The Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira (or simply the Auckland Museum is one of New Zealand’s most important museums and war memorials. Its collections concentrate on New Zealand history (and especially the history of the Auckland Region), natural history, and military history.
We ended up picking the Auckland Sights and Leisure trip. After departing from the pier we soon arrived at Bastion Point lookout, where we paused to admire the sweeping view of Waltemata Harbour and Auckland in the distance. This vantage point serves as an exceptional visual introduction to the city. We then continued through the Auckland Domain, which consists of nearly 200 acres of parkland in the heart of the city, which encompasses ponds, statuaries, tropical glass houses, and a wide variety of tress.
Rich with collections, the gallery shares New Zealanders’ experiences of WWI from multiple perspectives, and presents the key events of the war through an illustrated multimedia timeline, enhanced with objects and immersive interactive experiences.
Pou Kanohi New Zealand at War
Auckland Museum protects and cares for an outstanding and significant collection of Māori treasures (taonga).
Over 1000 taonga are displayed in the main Māori galleries, He Taonga Māori (Māori Court) and Te Ao Tūroa (Māori Natural History Gallery) and many more are held in storage. These taonga are the ancestral representations of all the major tribes of Aotearoa.
Nestled within this idyllic retreat we found the Auckland Museum, which houses an impressive collection of Marori and Pacific artifacts that include a carved meeting house and impressive 5 foot-long war canoe made of a single log.
A vibrant beachside destination with a city rhythm, Takapuna encompasses the best of everything – a relaxed beach atmosphere, designer shopping, a thriving hospitality scene with a huge variety of cafés,restaurants and bars with simply stunning views out across the Hauraki Gulf to the iconic Rangitoto Island.
Tip: Walk the historic ‘lava’ trail along the beach foreshore, paddle board or kayak at the beach or choose to relax by Lake Pupuke, Auckland’s only fresh water lake. Stroll the Sunday markets, take in a live show, enjoy the hospitality and stay close by. Takapuna has it all, so come along and join us, you will be most welcome.
From the museum we traveled to Aucklands North Shore Harbour Bridge, passing beautiful Shoal Bay to Takapuna. Takapuna is home to a vibrant town center that has definite beach vibe and offered around 300 retail outlets which we explored. Takapuna also offers breathtaking and sweeping views of the Harauki Gulf and the beautiful young volcanic Rangitoto Island. On the return to the pier we viewed the America’s Cup Yachting Village, a tribute to Aucklands sailing history.
For the last half an hour of sunlight, we relaxed at the bar on deck 12 with a couple of beverages in hand. The open deck at the back of the ship is the best place to be to see the sunset.
Tip: Auckland, New Zealand: New Zealand’s most populous urban center is a proper maritime city, with many yachts in the harbor. Visitors will find super museums and galleries, great shopping and cuisine, and wonderful wines. Away from the city center, tours head out to the wine-growing district, the glowworm caves or coastal sites like the raucous Gannet colony at Muriwai.
Tip: You don’t need a visa: New Zealand has a visa waiver system, which means that people from a long list of countries visiting for three months or less don’t need a visa to enter the country. Countries on the list include Australia, most European nations and the United States, but if you’re a British passport holder and can prove your right to reside in the United Kingdom, you can stay up to six months.
Sure, the sun may have set, but the show is not over with colourful displays cast across the sky. The pink and orange hues on the water look absolutely stunning. We have a hard time getting back inside when we have this beautiful sight before us. But we were egger for the night time entertainment.
Check out our video out-an-about in Auckland:
Night time entertainment was:
Rock You Tonight
Rock You Tonight brings together the high-energy Jewel Production Cast and the rocking sound of the Norwegian Jewel Showband for a kick-out-the-stops tribute to music icon like Carol King James Taylor, Queen, Journey and The Who.
Neil Diamond Tribute with Spoke Two
Powerhouse South African duo, Spoken Two, salute one of the greatest songwriters and solo performers of the 20th century, Neil Diamond.
Battle of the Sexes
We joined cruise staff for this hilarious all-out battle of wisdom and utter brilliance where ladies battled out with the gents.
70’s Disco Party with Prism
Prism serenades everyone with the timeless music of the era.
Tip: New Zealand is best enjoyed during the peak summer months of December, January and February, although the cruise season officially kicks off in early October, with most of the major activity winding down toward the end of April. Between May and September, only a handful of ships visit, with no activity at all in July, the first month of winter.