Throughout the year, New Zealand is a paradise for nature lovers, but it’s in spring that the true beauty of this remarkable country unfolds. The landscape is already perfect for hikers and photographers, with huge rolling hills combining with placid lakes edged by forests – in short, scenery more than worthy of the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy.
As spring arrives, the temperatures in many of the finest New Zealand ports become warmer, the flora becomes ever more colourful, and the days get lengthier – giving cruisers even more reason to head out and explore the splendour of the region. So without further ado, here is your guide to the greatest New Zealand ports to visit during the glorious springtime.
The waters that lap on the shoreline of Auckland are ideal for surfers, but surprisingly, that isn’t its most revered feature by a fair distance. That title belongs to the interior landscape, a rugged patchwork of green hills and coned peaks, and the product of magma floes that have sculpted the landscape for thousands of years.
Best of all, there’s a thriving hiking scene surrounding the cosmopolitan suburbs of Auckland which focuses on cresting the volcanic slopes. The hilly fortress of One Tree Hill is perfect for getting to see the landscape of Auckland in bloom, with 360 degree views throughout – if you do end up visiting Auckland, this should be your first priority.
Venture to the south island of New Zealand, and your first stop should be this remarkable port. Like many of the cities which dot the coastline, Dunedin is blessed with a brilliant balance between urban thrills and islands of greenery.
Botanical gardens and parks can be found nestled between even the busiest streets of the centre of Dunedin, but the spectacular hinterlands outside of the city itself is where springtime tourists should ideally turn their attention. To the southwest are the Tairei Plains, fertile grasslands filled with all kinds of unique fauna to be observed, and just a few miles further you can find the lush forests of Lake Mahinerangi and Berwick – although Dunedin might be a large city, there’s always a gorgeous view to be discovered… all it takes is a bit of a hike.
Situated on the Bay of Plenty, Tauranga is one of the centrepieces of the northern island of New Zealand. A large harbour, a newly youthful populace, and bright turquoise waters have made Tauranga a tourist hotspot that somehow still manages to retain somewhat of a cult following. The island of Matakana lies at the head of the bay, greeting ships as they pull into port, and the city itself is overlooked by Mount Maunganui, an extinct volcano. Due to the temperate climate around Tauranga, mountain biking, white water rafting, swimming, surfing, fishing and kayaking are very popular with locals and tourists alike.