Confusion as Auckland ferry competes for space

Auckland Transport are crowing about a new service they plan to trial to get people to and from the Devonport ferry terminal. This is something we’ve seen mentioned in ATs board reports.

Commuters using the Devonport ferry say the Auckland harbour service is chaotic and unable to cope with the number of cruise ships coming to the harbour.

A Fullers ferry heading from the city to Devonport.

A Fullers ferry heading from the city to Devonport. Photo: RNZ / Joanna MacKenzie

The route, run by private company Fullers 360, and carries about 2 million passengers each year.

Devonport local David Slack said there were delays and overcrowding every year during the summer season as the cruise ships hit town, and this year had been worse.

“More delays, longer waits, vessels not arriving on time and a general confusion at the terminals because visitors don’t really know what’s going on.

“There’s very little guidance for them on the Devonport side. It all adds up to chaos,” he said.

Like Mr Slack, Andrew Fox regularly uses the service and said Fullers did not have the right boats plying the route.

He said Fullers needed more boats like the 30-year-old Kea, which has wide doors and is double ended so it can travel in either direction.

“If they invested in the right type of boats, particularly for the Devonport run which has got quite high volumes of people, that would make quite an improvement,” he said.

Devonport-Takapuna board chair George Wood has been inundated with complaints about the service which is exempt from any oversight by Auckland Transport.

“It’s really sad that Fullers are holding Devonport people to ransom.

“I think they’ve got to either improve their game and make the ferries more competitive and more reliable or they’re going to have to let Auckland Transport make the whole thing work properly.”

Fullers chief executive Mike Horne acknowledged February was tough, with the increase in cruise ships having a huge impact.

“The size of the ships – and, for us, where they are parking – so for the first time this year we’ve seen two cruise ships in the ferry basin itself.

A new rideshare service in Devonport will give customers improved access to public transport, reducing congestion and freeing up parking.

Auckland Transport is seeking expressions of interest to launch a one-year trial of a ridesharing service called AT Metro Local.

It will allow customers to use a smartphone app to schedule or call an on-demand electric vehicle to take them to and from the Devonport Ferry Terminal and their destination.

This scheme aims to encourage more people to use the ferry, which will reduce congestion on the roads, as well as opening up more parking spaces at the ferry terminal.

The vehicles will operate within a 3km radius of the ferry terminal, primarily in the morning and afternoon peak.

AT’s Chief Transport Services Officer Mark Lambert says, “This is an exciting opportunity to try a new way of using technology to improve public transport for Aucklanders.

“This trial will give customers more options to access the public transport network and attract new customers. The intent of the trial is to test how this type of service can improve access to public transport with a view to future potential roll-out to other hubs on the network. An added benefit is that it will use electric vehicles, which reinforces AT’s sustainability programme.”

Devonport has been chosen as the location of the trial because it has a unique geography in which the only ways in and out are on the ferry to the city centre or along the heavily congested Lake Road.

Last year AT did a two-week trial of the service which showed that ferry passengers were enthusiastic about it and there is enough demand for it to work.

Once the tender process has finished AT will announce the start date, which is expected to be mid-2018, and how much it will cost to use.

They’ve even produced this video about it

About this activityDuration 4.5 hoursPrinted or mobile voucher acceptedInstant confirmationLive guideEnglishWheelchair accessibleEasy cancellationCancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund

Select participants and date:

Check availability



  • Explore Auckland’s spectacular Hauraki Gulf Marine Park
  • Experience up-close-and-personal wildlife viewing with marine mammal sightings
  • Make the most of your time in Auckland with an incredibly convenient trip
  • Take in amazing views of the Auckland Harbour Bridge, Rangitoto Island and the Hauraki Gulf
  • Listen to expert commentary and interact with the marine research scientists
  • Relax aboard a 65-foot luxury catamaran with on-board cafe/bar

Full descriptionClimb aboard a 65-foot luxury catamaran, conveniently docked in the heart of Auckland, and set sail on the “Dolphin Explorer” to take in the sights and sounds of the city from the water. Depart via Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour, and bask in the sun on the large open deck. Enjoy a quick tour past impressive landmarks, such as the Auckland Harbour Bridge, North Head/Devonport and Rangitoto Island.

Keep a close look out for Orca and Bottlenose Dolphins, known to regularly visit the waters close to the city. Then it’s out into the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park itself, where resident populations of Bryde’s Whales, Common Dolphins and numerous colorful seabirds await.  

Get up-close viewings of whales, dolphins and sea birds while important marine biology research is conducted on board. Help protect this incredible resource of marine life on a more personal and intimate experience. As a registered research vessel, the “Dolphin Explorer” is able to get much closer than whale watching operations in other locations. Get the opportunity to learn about what you are seeing via expert commentary from the ship’s skipper, gained from 15 years running trips daily in the area.

Being wild animals in their natural environment, every trip is different. However, the boat typically heads back towards Auckland after 3 or more hours of sailing. Enter Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour with a cheery wave and the best wishes from the crew.See moreIncludes

  • 4.5-hour eco-cruise

What’s Not Included

  • Food and drinks (available to purchase on board)

When you get there

Meeting point

New Zealand Maritime Museum, 175 Quay Street, Viaduct Harbour.Open in Google Maps ⟶Know before you go• Please wear warm clothes and bring a showerproof jacket, sun hat and sunscreen, your camera, binoculars, personal medication (if required) and sea-sickness medication (should be taken prior to the trip)
• This activity is not suitable for heavily pregnant women
• Limited wheelchair access is available. Anyone with physical disabilities that require human intervention must be accompanied by a carer or guardian
• Children under 5 years old are permitted on the trip only if they are closely supervised by a parent or guardian
• A small range of snacks, hot food and drinks are available to purchase on board the boat, including beer and wine. A great range of merchandise is also available, including T-shirts, photo-cards and soft toys
• In the interest of your safety, the local operator reserves the right to cancel any trip due to wind, weather, or sea conditionsSee more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *