Day 25 – 29th January 2020, Auckland

Andy and Judi at Muriwai Beach

With 2 days in Auckland we planned for a day in the city and a day touring the countryside, so today was our Kiwi Countryside Tour. What a complete contrast to yesterday’s hustle and bustle, and traffic congestion of the city. We drove through pristine farm and grazing lands, watched sheep shearing and saw the spectacular vistas of the West Coast.

Read on for more details and photos of this great tour.

Another early start for today’s tour, so we headed up to the World Cafe, meeting friends Dave & Linda for a quick breakfast. Our report time in the Theatre was 08:15, fortunately we were early, as our tour was called at 08:10 and we departed the docks at 08:25. Yet another example of how well Viking manage their tours.

Haumoana sheep's head close-up 3

Sheep Pre-Shearing


  • Tour Type – Ship’s Optional Tour
  • Tour Name – Kiwi Countryside
  • Duration – 4.5 hrs
  • Summary – a drive through countryside north of Auckland to a farm, for a sheep shearing and sheep dog herding demonstration, followed by a journey to the West Coast and a Gannet Colony.

Departing Auckland’s CBD, we headed North on the M 16 motorway, where it ended at a roundabout. We stayed on highway 16 N, which was now a 2 lane country road, passing through Kumeu, Waimaku and Helensville, where we turned left onto a lower level road. After passing through Parakai Springs we reached Haumoana Ranch, which is about 40 miles from Auckland. We passed through multiple vineyards, orchards and grazing lands.

Haumoana Farm welcome sign

Welcome sign at Haumoana Ranch

The 4 coaches from the ship all navigated up the narrow farm road, where they fortunately had a large parking area.

Haumoana sheepdogs and flags

Sheep dogs and flags

Our bus was first to arrive, so we were directed to the sheep shearing station, while the others headed to the garage, which is set up as a cafe, for morning tea and cakes.

Haumoana ranch hand that sheers sheep

Ranch hand who does the shearing

When employed as a full-time shearer, he mentioned he could shear about 200 sheep per day. Since he is bent over throughout most of the task, it must be tough on the back.

Haumoana ranch hand prepares sheep for shearing

Preparing the sheep for shearing

They are running short of sheep, so this was a 6-month old lamb that is also raised for meat and not wool, so it has a shorter coat. Sheep raised for wool have coats twice as thick and can be sheared twice per year.

Haumoana ranch hand shearing sheep 2Haumoana ranch hand shearing sheep 4Haumoana ranch hand shearing sheep 5

Sheep Shearing in progress

In less than 5 minutes the lamb was bald.

Haumoana ranch hand shearing sheep 6

Completed the shearing

Haumoana pile of wool from 1st sheep

Wool sheared off a single sheep

The ranch hand mentioned that since the coat is so short, it is not good for making into wool, so is used for insulation. This type of use fetches less money. He estimated the above pile would be worth about NZ $2, but the cost to shear the sheep is > NZ $3, so it would actually cost the ranch to shear each of these lambs.

Haumoana newly shorn sheep and others

Bald lamb back with his mates

Next on the agenda was watching the sheep dogs in action.

Haumoana sheepdog close up

One of 2 sheep dogs, which were both mixed breeds

The sheep were let into the large pen, then the dogs went in to bring them back.

Haumoana dog herding sheep 3Haumoana dog herding sheep 5Haumoana dog herding sheep

Haumoana sheep escaped

Both dogs going after one that escaped the herd

On completion of the sheep shearing and dog trial, our group headed to the garage for tea and some home baked treats – sausage rolls, scones and a variety of cakes. They provided seating areas in the garage and on the outdoor patio. Very pleasant. We were also welcome to wander the grounds. The hosts were very welcoming, creating an exceptional atmosphere, when welcoming us to their home.

Haumoana Farm house and tearoom in the garage

Farm House

Behind the garage in a huge fenced grazing pasture were the kids herd of pet deer.

Haumoana deer with antlersHaumoana deer 2Haumoana deer close upHaumoana deer hand feeding

Before returning to the bus, I captured a few photos of the surrounding grazing lands and their well maintained gardens.

Haumoana FarmHaumoana Farm landsHaumoana Farm gardensHaumoana Farm and gardens

Returning to the bus, we retraced our route back about 16 miles, to Waimuku, before taking the road to Muriwai Beach. We stopped at the top of the cliff, which afforded excellent views of the West Coast.

Judi at Muriwai Beach

Judi with beach as a back drop

Muriwai Beach & Gannet colony 2

Part of the rugged West Coast

Muriwai Beach 2

Muriwai Beach

Muriwai Gannet colony

Gannet Colony

Heading down the hill, the driver advised we didn’t have time to get out and walk to view the Gannet Colony, as had to return for a 13:00 tour. Therefore we returned 1/2 hr early back at the ship.

Prior to dinner Judi and I headed up to Explorers’ Lounge to watch the departure at 18:00.

Departing berth in Auckland

Moving astern departing Queen’s Wharf

Auckland CBD on departure

Queen’s Wharf and Auckland CBD

Auckland CBD and new residential condos

Auckland CBD and adjacent large blocks of condos

Outbound from the harbour

Setting course out of the harbour

We enjoyed dinner with Alison & Ron in our usual section of the MDR, then went to the Theatre for Liar’s Club, which was brilliant.


5 thoughts on “Day 25 – 29th January 2020, Auckland

  1. Affirmative, at Queen’s Wharf you can walk off the ship and straight ashore. The wharf is right at the end of Queen’s Street, which is one of the main shopping streets.
    You are in downtown within 5 minutes of scanning off the ship.


    • Appreciate this info. Could I ask that you mention the port set-up for all the NZ ports? I need to make notes!! (snow forecast for the Lower Mainland: enjoy the sun downunder!!).


      • Will do.

        Bay of Islands – If tendering to Waitangi wharf, the cruise line provide a shuttle bus to Paihia, which is less than 2 miles. We tendered into Paihia, so were in the town. We could take a ferry from the wharf over to Russell.

        Tauranga – we were a couple of miles from the town, but unfortunately didn’t pay any attention to any shuttle bus. We left first thing and returned just before all aboard.


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