New Zealand: Cruise vs. Land


Mar 11th, 2014, 07:19 AM
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New Zealand: Cruise vs. Land

This same topic has arisen many many times on the Europe board and having done places in Europe both by ship (both sea and river) and overland I inevitably respond that for a "taste' of things a cruise had advantages but for any lingering or depth the visit should be made by land.

Some of the European ports are huge with many many things to see and do such as various museums, palaces, etc., if only to name a few.

And with no intention of short-changing New Zealand which has, by all our friend's accounts, some absolutely spectacular scenery, I am forced to at least ask opinions regarding a first-time visit on the cruise vs. land notion.

The duration would be 14 nights ( a couple of those would be outbound from Sydney (via Melbourne and Tasmania) with an end-up in Aukland.

We could easily extend our time in NZ for several days at the end of the cruise and this seems like a good idea given the cost of flying back and forth from the East Coast of the United States.

Perhaps much depends on where the cruise actually stops in New Zealand and I can elaborate on that if necessary.

The time of year would be January and I am assuming this would mean fairly pleasant weather.

Thanks for any thoughts both pro and con, especially thoughts which include rationale beyond saying this or that is "the obvious choice." We get that non-helpful response all too often I am sorry to say.

Thank you.
Dukey1 is online now  
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Mar 11th, 2014, 05:45 PM
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Hi Dukey -

I've been to NZ some dozen times, but never via cruise, so take this with a grain of salt.

While you can certainly get a taste of NZ from it's ports, much of the country's most stunning scenery is inland. I'm guessing your stops would include Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, Akaroa and possibly Milford. While all of these are worthy of a visit, they barely scratch the surface of NZ, as I'm sure you're well aware.

The best of NZ IMO is well outside the cities. The rolling countryside, the mountains, the rain forests, the incredible lakes and rivers, the vineyards and fruit growing areas, etc. The coastline is lovely too, don't get me wrong, but I personally couldn't limit myself to just the coast; there's so much more on offer.

I think it comes down to personal preference and travel style. I'm the type who prefers renting a car and spending as much time as possible exploring every nook and cranny of a place. My objective is to walk the tracks, soak up the peace and solitude, picnic atop mountains, and basically enjoy the great outdoors. Cities in general don't appeal to me. Rushing around and giving short shrift to a given place leaves me feeling dissatisfied, but that's just me.

A cruise might be just thing to whet your appetite for a future in depth visit. Sometimes a taste is sufficient, and helps one narrow down the options for a return visit. On our first trip to Hawaii eons ago, we took an organized tour. We haven't taken a tour since, but at the time it was exactly what we needed - it introduced us to a place we'd visit again and again over the years.

I feel that 14 days is sufficient time to hit the highlights of one island of NZ , w/o having to rush too much. I always recommend the South, as it's the one place I can't seem to get enough of. To visit both, IMO three weeks is the minimum - one on the north and two on the south.

This probably doesn't help you much, but I thought I'd give it a go.

Good luck with your decision.
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Mar 11th, 2014, 05:59 PM
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Thank you so very much for your kind and thoughtful reply which is helpful. I enjoy traveling as you do and this really does help me a great deal.
Dukey1 is online now  
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Mar 11th, 2014, 06:15 PM
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No worries Dukey. Happy to help if you decide to go the land route.
Melnq8 is online now  
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Mar 11th, 2014, 08:21 PM
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The problem with all cruises is limited time in port. I do like that this one goes to Tasmania (well worth a visit of at least several days by itself).

It just depends on what you want, Dukey. You can't go wrong either way visiting Tasmania or New Zealand.

I have been to Australia 3x and NZ 2x (once to each island) on home exchanges. Thank you Homelink & Intervac.
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Mar 13th, 2014, 09:33 PM
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I have been to New Zealand twice-38 years apart.Both visits were done independently. My last visit was a year ago for over two weeks renting a car with my adult daughter. We started in the North Island ,took the ferry over from Wellington to Picton in the South Island and toured around there.(We rented from Avis and left the one car from the North Island at the ferry terminal and got another one at the South Terminal-so easy!)
I cannot stress enough how beautiful New Zealand is and the scenery from your cruise ship will never match up to the little towns,people and mountains/lakes you will see from a rental car tour.
The magic of both the people and the scenery will make it a trip to remember!
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Mar 20th, 2014, 10:59 PM
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I really like to cruise but if I were you Dukey I'd recommend a road trip. However, January is a very, very busy time throughout New Zealand as it is the middle of summer and school holidays. So maybe a cruise is a better option.

On the cruises I've taken I just find that the ports are often just such a long way out of town that you can travel for hours and hours to end up with an hour or so at your wanted destination. If you know what I mean? Either way I don't believe you would be disappointed, at all, but as I said it is a very busy time of year and if you did a road trip you most likely would have to pre book your accommodation - which might not appeal.
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Apr 21st, 2014, 07:18 AM
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I did a cruise out of Auckland Feb 03, 2014 with Celebrity Solstice. The cruise went up to Paihia (Russell), then down south on the East coast to Tauranga, further South to Akaroa and Dunedin and around the Southern tip of NZ to the fjords.

I had some 10 days before which I used to travel by car from/to Christchurch to Queenstown, Te Anau, Fiordland NP, the West Coast, seeing the glaciers, drove across Arthur's Pass to Akaroa and back to Christchurch. I then flew up to Auckland and drove to Coromandel (Cathedral Cove)and to Rotorua.

I must say, the cruise was a nice addition to the road trip.
However time is limited and if you are on a big ship, they stay some miles away from the nearest town (i.e. Dunedin in Port Chalmers, 20mins by coach, Akaroa = 90 mins to Christchurch).

New Zealand is such a fascinating place. If you can, go by car and take more time. I will return next winter, because I felt, I never had enough time, as my roadtrip was also limited.
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