View the landscape from the deck of a steamship, indulge in a dinner cruise, or combine boating with fishing, diving or dolphin and whale watching. Go island-hopping in the Bay of Islands or take a high-speed boat trip through the ‘Hole in the Rock’. Take an Auckland Harbour boat ride at dusk to see the city lights or catch a ferry to Waiheke Island for a day of wine tasting. Cruise alongside waterfalls in Fiordland, explore alpine rivers on a jet boat, or use a water taxi as a budget scenic cruise in Marlborough or Abel Tasman National Park. Auckland, the City of Sails, is a highlight for sailing adventures – you can even book an experience on an actual America’s Cup yacht.

Boating In New Zealand

As an island nation, nowhere in New Zealand is very far from the sea and that makes travelling by boat a very feasible option for exploring this part of the world.

Boat Trips and Ferries

Throughout New Zealand are a multitude of options for exploring the nation’s coast, rivers and lakes. A visit to Auckland, for instance, is hardly complete without taking to the water to see the Hauraki Gulf Islands. From downtown Auckland, ferries run regularly to lovely Waiheke Island, with its vineyards, galleries and beaches, and boat transfers are also readily available for day trips to Rangitoto, Kawau and Tiritiri Matangi. A quick ferry trip across the harbour to the North Shore suburb of Devonport makes a very budget-friendly boat trip and a great way to see the lights of New Zealand’s largest city at dusk. Dinner cruises, whale- or dolphin-watching expeditions and sailing are other options for getting out on the water in Auckland.

Elsewhere in New Zealand, the Bay of Islands is a hugely popular boating region. Again, ferry transfers from Paihia to Russell offer great-value cruising, but island tours, high-speed Hole in the Rock trips, dinner cruises, fishing charters, swimming with dolphins and even adventures paddling traditional Māori waka are all possibilities. Marlborough is a popular boating region, as are Bay of Plenty and The Coromandel, and the lakes of Taupo, Rotorua, Wanaka and Queenstown are dotted with pleasure boats in summer. Any visit to Fiordland should include a cruise on the famous fiords, whether it’s a short sightseeing trip, an eco-tour or an overnight cruise.

Adventures on the Water

Invented right here in New Zealand, the jet boat is a powerful machine designed to traverse rivers at high speed. Riding in one is an unforgettable thrill and there are options to suit all types of traveller – from sedate family-friendly jet boat tours to adrenaline-pumping adventures that include 360-degree spins! Queenstown and Taupo are particularly well-known for their jet boating operators. Sailing is another traditional Kiwi pastime – there’s a good reason why Auckland is referred to as the City of Sails. Book a sailing adventure in Auckland, Bay of Islands or Marlborough.

Charter Operations

Would your clients prefer the flexibility of chartering a boat and skipper? Charter boats are freely available in harbour settlements around the country, such as Northland, Auckland, The Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and Marlborough. Salt water fishing charters are always a popular option. But charter vessels can also offer a relaxing and indulgent private tour of New Zealand’s coastal jewels – some overnight tours come complete with comfortable accommodation and fine dining with the services of an on-board chef.


New Zealand is an excellent cruising destination, with several ports around the country that harbour cruise ships, each within overnight steaming of the next destination.

Cruising New Zealand

New Zealand is steadily increasing in popularity as a cruising destination. With several very different ports within overnight steaming of one another, and a spectacular array of coastal scenery to discover, cruising is an ideal way to see the country. The main cruise season is during summer, from October to April, and most New Zealand cruises depart from either Sydney, Australia, or from Auckland. Cruise ships typically sail south along the east coast of New Zealand, stopping at the major ports of Auckland, Tauranga, Napier, Wellington, Akaroa (Christchurch), Port Chalmers (Dunedin), and around the southern coast of the South Island to Fiordland over a period of about one week. Longer cruises may visit the Bay of Islands in Northland, Gisborne in Eastland, Picton in Marlborough, Akaroa or Stewart Island.