Updated: 19 February 2021

The Ports of Auckland Round the Bays takes place once again in 2021 in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland. Round the Bays is easily the largest fun run and walk in New Zealand and is closing in on 50 years since it all began. The iconic run takes runners and walkers on a route around the stunning bays of Auckland.


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The date for the Ports of Auckland Round the Bays 2021 is Sunday 28 February. The race officially starts at 9:30 am. The views of the Hauraki Gulf and Rangitoto Island are as picture-perfect as they get which is partly why it’s so popular!

COVID-19 Update

Due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to keep up-to-date with all the latest news from the official Ports of Auckland Round the Bays website. Following the Valentine’s Day community case outbreak in Auckland and subsequent move to Alert Level 3 and then back to Alert Level 2 on 18 February, the safety of all participants in the race remains paramount to organisers and the event will only take place if it is completely safe to do so. With just over a week until the race is due to take place, it’s important to keep up to date with Alert Level changes and it is expected that further announcements will be made next week.


The Ports of Auckland Round the Bays is exactly 8.4 km long. The course starts from Quay St (right next to Spark Arena) with the finish line at St Heliers Bay. The route is almost completely flat making it highly accessible for all who wish to participate.

The winning male time in 2020 was 26 minutes 44 seconds while the best female time was 29 minutes 55 seconds. While those times might be fairly hard to beat, the average time was 1 hour 21 mins and 23 seconds giving you a more casual target to aim for.


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If running is not your thing, there are plenty of options when it comes to completing the Round the Bays. From the seeded runners through to the walkers and pram pushers – there is a level to suit all abilities and the main thing is to go out and have some fun. It’s a great opportunity to join thousands of others on this cracking route and also maybe raise some money for charity at the same time.


Whether it’s running for a cause that is close to your own heart or running for a charity who are looking for fundraisers, it’s a great way of raising awareness and letting everyone know you are taking part in the event. Some of the charities that people have donated to in the past include:

  • Child Cancer Foundation
  • Great Potential Foundation
  • Variety – the children’s charity
  • Cancer Society
  • Cure Kids
  • Diabetes NZ
  • Blind Foundation Guide Dogs
  • Heart Kids
  • Mental Health Foundation
  • New Zealand Red Cross
  • The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation
  • Starship Foundation
  • SPCA


With over 30,000 people expected for the run, planning your day is especially important given the crowds that will be there. Thankfully, the organisers have arranged free event shuttles on the day to make things a little easier.

The shuttles run before and after the event at specific times and locations.

The pre-event shuttles run from 7:00 am – 8:00 am departing from the Parade, Vellenoweth Green in St Heliers taking you to Commerce Street in the city.

If you need a lift back to the city after the run then you can take the free shuttle from Long Drive in St Heliers between 10:30 am and 2:15 pm which is great because it gives you time to relax after your run and enjoy the festivities at the finish line.


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As you can see, the Ports of Auckland Round the Bays is a great experience for all. If you happen to be visiting the City of Sails during that time, it’s a fun event to participate in alongside so many of our locals. On top of this, you’ll get a good stretch of the legs and enjoy some of the city’s best views.

Be sure to register for the event on the official website!

Exploring Auckland

If you are planning on flying into Auckland to take part in this iconic event and you are planning to make a weekend of it, make sure you check out our great deals on rental cars in Auckland at either of our two branches – airport or city. Once you have your rental car booked, check out some of our great resources to help you plan an amazing weekend in Auckland, including our City Guide.

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