The New Zealand Maritime Museum (Hui Te Ananui A Tangaroa) tells the country’s maritime story via art and artifacts displayed across its numerous galleries on the Auckland waterfront. Relive seafaring history through the museum’s impeccably restored boats—not just those in the galleries, but the ones on the water that you can even go sailing in.
Museum visitors can learn about New Zealand’s settlement, first by Maori and then by European colonizers, and how this waterlocked country thrived as the world developed around it. The New Beginnings gallery details the arrival of early immigrants, and the realistic Rocking Cabin gives offers a taste of their life at sea. The museum also hosts regular art exhibitions from international artists, all themed around the sea and life on it. The jewel in the museum’s crown is its range of impressively restored boats and vessels, from Maori dugout canoes from the age of voyagers to NZL 32, the 1995 America’s Cup–winning yacht. You can even sail on one of the museum’s three seaworthy heritage vessels.
For a more comprehensive experience, learn more about the on-site boats on one of the museum’s guided tours, held twice daily Tuesday to Friday.
Things to Know Before You Go
The New Zealand Maritime Museum is ideal for lovers of seafaring history.
The museum is also fantastic for kids—it runs action-packed programs during school holidays, and families can go on an interactive journey with the museum’s Family Trails booklets anytime.
You can pick up maritime-themed souvenirs at the museum’s gift shop.
Much of the museum and all three heritage sailing boats are accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
The museum is on Hobson Wharf, on the edge of Viaduct Harbour and easy to get to from anywhere in Auckland. Take any bus or train to Britomart Transport Centre and head west down Quay Street; you’ll find the museum tucked behind Princes Wharf. If you’re driving, park at the Downtown Carpark, a short walk down Hobson Street.
When to Get There
The museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm, with last entry at 4pm. Midday is the busiest time, so come closer to opening or closing for fewer crowds. Visiting in summer or late spring is best for heritage sailing, which is subject to the weather.
Heritage Sailing at the Maritime Museum
A museum highlight is a sailing excursion on one of their heritage vessels. The grand scow Ted Ashby sails twice a day from Tuesday to Sunday; the charming, century-old Nautilus sails twice daily on Monday and Tuesday; and the adorable steam tug SS Puke typically runs on Saturday and the first Sunday of each month. Contact the museum to confirm timetables and that the boat you want to sail is in service.