With not one but two stunning harbours and a sprawling cityscape set against a backdrop of volcanoes and countryside, one of the best ways to view Auckland is definitely from the water. And what better way to combine a bit of sightseeing with a large helping of adrenaline than by spending forty minutes being thrown around Auckland harbour in Ruby Red Lips - Auckland Jet Boat Tour’s bright red jet boat.
I began by storing my valuables in the lockers provided and then piled on one short waterproof jacket, a longer waterproof jacket with a hood and a lifejacket, all supplied by the company before making my way out to the jet boat. After assuring Mark the skipper that I would definitely not be sitting at the back of the boat where you’re pretty much guaranteed to get wetter than everyone else I climbed into my seat!
Even though I’d been on a jet boat tour before, I was nervous but after a light-hearted but comprehensive safety briefing from Mark my nerves turned to excitement as he described what the next forty minutes had in store and explained the hand signals he’d use for the duration of the tour. Five minutes later, having made our way out of the marina, we were racing past boats and ferries, twisting and turning on the water and speeding under the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
Mark dragged the boat from left to right as we continued to race under the bridge and then with a sharp pull to the right, my hands gripping the bar in front of me, the boat did a 360 and a large wave of water was thrown over me and my fellow passengers. It was amazing. We sped along towards the cliffs of the North Shore and Little Shoal Bay where Mark briefly told us about the surrounding area and what we could see from the boat.
Then it was back to the good stuff. Mark gave us the hand signals he’d showed us earlier to warn us when he was going to turn the boat quickly and sped across the water, only stopping when we’d done a huge turn in the water and everyone was recovering from another drenching.
The forty minutes went far too quickly and soon we were making our way back to the marina, but not before watching someone bungee jumping from the Harbour Bridge. That would have to be an adventure for another day. Back at the marina I was pleased to learn that although I’d gotten quite wet on my bottom half, the two jackets we’d been given had really kept the water out. I’d definitely recommend taking a change of clothes and shoes though; I wore leggings and flip flops and after seeing people getting out of the boat in sopping wet jeans and trainers, I’m so glad I did.
Touring Auckland Harbour with Auckland Jet Boat Tours is definitely something I’d do again. All of the staff were friendly and professional, the clothes provided were good quality and I loved the fact that they gave you a locker to put your stuff in. Mark the skipper was knowledgeable and easy-going with an obvious passion for Auckland and I got the impression that he genuinely wanted all of us to enjoy ourselves and took the time to engage with everyone and make sure we were all having fun.
While Auckland Jet Boat Tours offered Planit NZ a complimentary tour, these opinions are - as always - our own.
Beverley is a Planit NZ contributor currently based in Auckland. Read about her travels on her blog - Pack Your Passport.