Auckland may be New Zealand’s largest city but still feels like a big country town, with charming gardens, pretty laneways and an unhurried pace of life. The city has had a major facelift since hosting the America’s Cup in 2000 and now offers a glitzy marina, upscale shopping and glamourous eateries. The harbor city is built over a series of extinct volcanoes and blends European, Maori and Pacific Island influences. The more recent arrival of Asian settlers has given Auckland a multi-cultural vibe. Surrounded by water it’s no surprise that Aucklanders spend much of their spare time sailing and kayaking on the harbour – or taking the ferry to one of the outlying islands such as magnificent Waiheke Island.

Who goes there: Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Seabourn, Oceania Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises.

Cruisers like: Built around one of the world’s greatest harbours, Auckland is a friendly, multi-ethnic city with a rich colonial history and plenty of outdoor fun. Apart from sailing or kayaking on the harbour, visitors can indulge in all types of fun activities, including mountain biking, archery, paintballing, hiking, abseiling and golfing. With its Asian, Pacific and European influences, Auckland has also created an interesting culinary scene. Visitors will find every type of cuisine – from modern Asian hawker food to upscale French and Italian eateries. Explore New Zealand’s historical and cultural roots by visiting the impressive Auckland Museum or joining a Maori-led tour.

Best for: Sailors, kayakers, cyclists and other outdoor types. This friendly city will suit every type of cruiser – from couples to families and more genteel travellers.

Getting around: Downtown Auckland is compact if hilly and can be easily explored on foot. Taxis are plentiful. Public transport options include buses and ferries which reach many parts of the harbour including Waiheke Island.