Update: In July 2017 Hauraki Blue Cruises ceased operating.
On Auckland Anniversary Day we cruised away from the crowds in Viaduct Harbour onboard Ipipiri, a four level catamaran equipped with 30 cabins, all with king size sea views. It was to be our second overnight cruise on the catamaran, our first was in the Bay of Islands in 2011. The vessel relocated to Auckland in 2014 and still looks brand new, but a few decor changes in the cabins and dining area have smartened it up even more. Ipipiri now travels under Hauraki Blue Cruises and you can sail away for a long lunch or spend the night.
Departure time for the overnight cruise is 3pm. It’s safety first with a short briefing, then the bar opens so you can buy a beverage, and crackers and a platter are put out to share. Free tea and coffee is on tap around the clock.
After leaving the busy harbour behind we cruised past the waterside suburbs of Devonport and Mission Bay (visitors take your binoculars), before anchoring offshore near Motuihe Island. A nifty platform on the back of the boat lowers down for those who want to paddle a kayak or take the tender to shore to go for a walk, a snorkel or swim. We chose snorkelling but visibility was almost zero so it turned into a refreshing dip instead. The island stop over was about an hour, enough time for a swim or a paddle about, but not long enough to give your walking shoes a decent work out.
Back onboard it was time to freshen up in our sparkling white ensuite bathroom before having drinks in the sun. An a la carte three course dinner is served at 7pm, choose one of three options for each course. We chose scallops, and buffalo mozzarella salad as entrees, Angus scotch fillet for mains, and chocolate plate for dessert. It was fortunate we ordered the same dessert as it was way too delicious for us to want to share.
After dinner, with the lights of Waiheke Island winking in the distance, we plugged a few songs into the jukebox and sat back with a glass of Babydoll wine. We were well and truly relaxed when we retired to our cabin to be rocked to sleep on the water. We kept the cabin blinds open so we would wake with the sun and rise in time for the buffet breakfast available from 7am – 8am.
Hauraki Blue Cruises has you back in the Viaduct by 9am, perfect for Aucklanders who work in the city, you won’t need to take another day of annual leave and you’ll have the best commute in town.
The overnight cruise including three course a la carte dinner, buffet breakfast and water based activities can be booked direct with Hauraki Blue Cruises from $299 per adult twin/double.
Check wotif.com for specials, the cruise can sometimes be booked for $298 for two, that’s half price.
If you’re prone to sea sickness consider taking Sea Legs tablets or something similar, there was a bit of motion at night and we were glad we went prepared.