If there’s one thing New Zealand is renowned for, it’s the country’s serene natural beauty. Since it was first discovered in 1642, the country has been regarded as one of the world’s finest natural wonders — an island of wild, untouched landscapes and some of the friendliest folk on the planet.
Luckily, for all you cruise-goers, New Zealand’s coastal ports echo the rugged natural beauty of its interior landscapes. Despite being largely urbanised, NZ’s port towns have retained a scenic loveliness not often seen in cruise terminals — making it one of the best places to travel for those who like their port calls devastatingly handsome.
Here, we’ll showcase New Zealand’s formidable natural grandeur by taking a look at 7 of its most beautiful ports.
Never has a city been blessed with such a sublime geographical vantage point as New Zealand’s second city, Auckland. Teetering on the edge of the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean, and entombed in a towering chasm of forested hillocks; Auckland’s skyscrapers, which would appear imposing in any other metropolis, seem strangely trifling amid the scenic splendour of NZ’s North Island.
While mighty swells have affixed Tauranga firmly on the international surf map, for those that like to keep their feet dry, the city offers more than just a breaker-battered coast. From its bar-strewn waterfront to its golden beaches — Tauranga has all the pomp and panache of the French Riviera with none of the prudishness. For those that like nothing more than a seaside stroll, there’s no place better.
Bay of Islands
For any foreigner attempting to form a picture of New Zealand in their mind, they’ll likely come up with something closely resembling the Bay of Islands. With its turquoise waters, white sands and abundance of evocative marine life — think dolphins, orcas and humpbacks — the Bay of Islands is paradise found for the discerning adventurer out to experience another side to this wonderful country.
Wellington: capital city of New Zealand and home to many of the country’s best-loved landmarks and architecture. If you’re growing weary of New Zealand’s relentless outdoorsy-ness, the country’s capital will provide a welcome respite. Often regarded as New Zealand’s cultural capital, Wellington is home to no-end of hip bars, swanky eats and visitor hotspots.
Consider yourself a New Zealand wine buff? Then you must pay a visit to Napier — a coastal town that’s home to some of the country’s most prestigious vineyards and wineries. If your interest in wine only extends to drinking the stuff, don’t worry, as Napier is still an excellent place to visit. For reasons unbeknownst to us, Napier has retained an art deco architectural style first introduced in the 1930s, making it one of the prettiest places on our shortlist.
Fiordland National Park
We can’t stress this enough: if you’re visiting New Zealand for the first, second or fifteenth time, you must visit the Fiordland National Park. Accessible by most major cruise operators, Fiordland is home to some of New Zealand’s most awe-inspiring landscapes, and was made internationally famous as the primary backdrop for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. In terms of drop dead gorgeousness, it doesn’t come better.
Flanked by a volcano-strewn peninsula and home to a colony of plump, land-loving penguins; Akaroa is typified by its Gallic and French influence, which has helped to give the town an unrivalled charm and ambience. The town itself is scattered along a sweeping harbour front, where plucky visitors can partake in all manner of waterborne activities — from kayaking to water-skiing.
Has this list left you longing to pay a visit to New Zealand? Then visit the Cruise1st Australia website, where you’ll find a complete range of upcoming cruise breaks to the country. Should you need any further help planning your dream trip to NZ, don’t hesitate to contact the Cruise1st Australia team on 1300 857 345.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Marcus Södervall, Phillip Capper, Jocelyn Kinghorn, Woobstr112gr.