Aucklanders eager to enjoy Aotearoa's great outdoors from on and around the water this summer now have multiple new options to consider.
On Friday morning the Tuhi-rapa, a new tourism vessel from Explore Group, embarked on its maiden voyage to Tiritiri Matangi Island.
The 29m power catamaran has capacity for up to 300 passengers and will operate the Tikapa Moana Whale & Dolphin Wildlife Cruise and ferry services to Motutapu, as well as the Tiritiri Matangi run.
Before the Tuhi-rapa set sail, Ngāi Tai-Te Haerenga representatives performed a powhiri at the Viaduct Harbour and the vessel was blessed.
Despite poor weather, the occasion was described to Newshub by one of those present as "quite moving".
"This new vessel has enough space to carry bikes as well as large outdoor spaces and windows for cruising and wildlife viewing in local conditions," said William Goodfellow, Explore Group managing director.
"On the Tiritiri Matangi run, visitors can expect to see and experience the bird life on the island as well as breath-taking coastal walks.
"For the Tikapa Moana Whale & Dolphin Wildlife Cruise we even guarantee that guests will spot mammal wildlife. Residing year-round in the Hauraki Gulf you can expect to see dolphins, Bryde's whales, seals, penguins, and many different sea birds."
Meanwhile, Fullers360 last week opened two new Waiheke Island tours that will operate through to the end of April 2023.
The 'Taste of Two Islands' full-day tour includes a visit to the historic wildlife sanctuary at Rotoroa Island before guests are taken to Passage Rock Winery for lunch and wine, then a gin tasting at Waiheke Distilling Co before returning to Auckland.
The 'Waiheke Untapped' half-day tour skips the Rotoroa Island stop and takes guests straight to Orapiu for lunch and then gin-tasting.
From December 10, Fullers360 will also start services from downtown Auckland direct to Orapiu, disembarking at Orapiu wharf. These will run alongside current services Fullers360 provides to Matiatia Ferry Terminal, which is located on the western part of the island.
More information on the above options can be found on the Explore Group and Fullers websites.