Auckland tours and excursions
New Zealand makes some of the best wine in the world, especially Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Auckland has several good vineyards to the west of the city, notably in the Henderson and Kumeu areas. Several tour companies organise day trips, which normally include visits to at least four vineyards and lunch at one of them. Some tours require a minimum number of passengers. Auckland Wine Trail Tours runs half-day winery tours that include sightseeing.Tel: +63 9 630 1540.
The two Auckland Visitor Centres provide leaflets giving details of the many marked trails around the city. These include heritage walks that visit historic buildings in the city's various suburbs, as well as nature walks near the city and way out in the ‘back-blocks' (more remote areas).
Auckland City Walks runs guided walking tours of the city centre, departing daily at 1000 from the Harbour Information Centre, 99 Quay Street.Tel: 0800 300 100.
The volcanic island of Rangitoto is one of the most popular islands and is the largest volcanic cone in Auckland. There are several ferries per day from Auckland's ferry building; the trip takes 25 minutes. Large and circular-shaped, the island has a wonderful volcanic landscape that supports over 200 species of moss, plants and trees including the largest Pohutukawa forest in the world. Around 10 hikes are possible around the island and from the summit (and take about an hour); they offer fabulous views of Hauraki Gulf, Waitemata Harbour and Auckland city.Website: http://www.rangitoto.org
Hauraki Gulf Islands
The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park contains more than 50 islands, some just a few minutes' sail away from Auckland. Not all can be visited, as they are nature reserves closed to the general public, although others are devoted to human pleasures and have all the usual holiday facilities. The islands which can be visited include: Beehive, Motutara, Motuora, Saddle, Tiritiri Matangi, Rangitoto, Motutapu, Motuihe, Motukorea (Browns), Motutapere in the Coromandel Harbour and Mahurangi, off the Coromandel peninsular. Parts of Great Barrier, Kawau and Waiheke are also open to the public. The waters around the islands are replete with different whale species such as humpbacks and orcas, as well as common and bottlenose dolphins. You can view these by boat, or go diving, snorkelling or swimming.Tel: +64 9 379 6476.