Viaduct Harbour

The Viaduct Harbour is a magnet for Aucklanders with its compact selection of waterfront cafes, bars and bistros. The Harbour's a huge draw for tourists, too, and there's really nothing better than strolling the waterfront, or falling into an award-winning eatery, as you watch the boats bob about on the water. 

Prices aren't the cheapest around here, but with such fantastic views, friendly vibe and some excellent Auckland seafood, you won't mind paying that little bit extra. Time your visit right, and you could also be treated to some free outdoor entertainment as you dine – there's always something going on here.

Take time out to explore the New Zealand Maritime Museum at corner Quay and Hobson Streets, which chronicles the country's fascinating maritime history. From the landing of the early Polynesians, right up to Auckland's hosting of the 2000 America's Cup, it's a boat-lover's dream here.

Check out the dozens of reconstructed and preserved ships, inside and out, which really bring the harbour alive. The impressive Sir Peter Blake exhibition (Blue Water Black Magic) is worth the entrance fee alone, and is a fitting tribute to New Zealand's most famous mariner.

After you're done, join one of the charter boats for a cruise around Waitemata harbour, where you'll be able to see some genuine America's Cup racing vessels, plus some multi-million dollar luxury yachts – a glimpse at how the other half live. 

A short walk west, and you can also check out Westhaven Marina, New Zealand's largest marine service precinct, full of 'super yachts'.