New Zealand Ports: A Tempting Menu of Delight

Sponsored by Celebrity Cruises

Whether it’s food, culture, or natural beauty that excites you, you’ll find what you’re looking for and a whole lot more in New Zealand. Its ports offer an abundant menu in a mythical and mystical land — tranquil coves teeming with playful dolphins, the drop-dead beauty of cruising through Fiordland National Park, plenty of opportunity to hike, bike and explore on land, stunning architecture and gourmet cuisine in French colonial Akaroa, or Scottish character, funky bars and unique wildlife around Dunedin.

And that’s not nearly all!

Paddle a Maori canoe through pristine waters and wonder how an entire population crossed the vast expanse of ocean to populate an unknown land. Bungee jump in the land where the “sport” was invented, explore miles and miles of coastline, climb mountain peaks and be enchanted by Hobbit houses built into grassy hillocks.

Pick and choose from among the array of cities, cultures and interests; Kiwi hospitality will assure you of good times and lasting memories on your Celebrity cruise.

Here are some suggestions for the most popular of port calls:


Boasting two harbors, world-class shopping, great wines, a dormant volcano and spectacular black sand beaches, a setting amid 50 smaller islands, and all the advantages of a modern city that is home to 1.3 million people, Auckland is a delight.

There is plenty to do in the city; take a ferry to Waiheke, the “island of wine,” or head over to Rangitoto, a stunning island volcano. Auckland is where cultures merge: Maori, European and Pacific Island. The Auckland Museum, with daily Maori cultural performances, highlights New Zealand history, and Auckland Art Gallery is filled with diverse displays.

Explore an unknown world at Kelly Tarleton’s Sea Life Aquarium, where you’ll be face to face with New Zealand sea creatures, including sharks, rays and seahorses in a first-of-its-kind underwater viewing tunnel. Visit King and Gentoo penguin colonies, and travel virtually with Robert Fulton Scott’s expedition to Antarctica. It’s an experience not to be forgotten!

You can even sail on an America’s Cup yacht in Viaduct Harbor, where the race was held.

Bay of Islands

Adjacent to the northern tip of the North Island, the ocean is all around you, and there are more than 140 separate islands offering a smorgasbord of water-oriented activities: Fish, sail, swim with dolphins in the wild. Enjoy a Maori cultural performance at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds where the nation’s founding document was signed in 1840.

Marvel at the sight of Haruru Falls; the water cascades down in a horseshoe pattern. Walk around Russell, the old whaling port and New Zealand’s first capital, or book a car to explore islands further from the ship’s pier.

The only thing you’ll regret is that you can’t spend more time here!


Celebrity anchors in Akaroa, the site of an ancient volcano some 82 kilometers distant. With a distinct French flavor, you’ll want to spend some time walking around Akaroa. Take a small-boat trip around the harbor to see the rare Hector’s dolphin, the world’s smallest and rarest.

Then travel on to Christchurch.

It’s all here — the Pacific Ocean, the Avon River, the Canterbury Plains stretching out to the Southern Alps, gardens, markets, galleries, friendly cafes and fine cuisine. This sophisticated city is compact and welcoming, offering myriad opportunities, perhaps a train ride to the mountains, a jet-boat ride on the river, or a white-water rafting adventure.

If less strenuous is more your style, visit the Canterbury Museum or the Botanic Gardens, or simply stroll the shops and enjoy the cafe culture of Christchurch.

Port Chalmers

The Otago Peninsula is well known as a breeding area for northern royal albatross, and includes a major working port area with two berthing centers. Larger cruise ships usually call at Port Chalmers, which is small enough to explore on foot.

Take the shuttle to Dunedin, only about eight kilometers distant, and spend some time eating and drinking at the Octagon, a popular meeting area. You’ll be transported in spirit to the opulent Victorian age and to another locale! Then you can visit that sometimes scandalous lifestyle in reality by touring spectacular Larnach Castle. It stands guard over the harbor. You’ll be awed by the sight of it and entranced by its stories!

Whatever you choose to do in New Zealand, the time you spend won’t seem adequate, but that’s just one more reason to return. Plenty of other ports and destinations await: Tauranga, Wellington, Marlborough Sounds, Napier and Hawke’s Bay, all just waiting to be discovered.

Experience more of New Zealand with the help of a certified cruise specialist.