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New Zealand: Recommendations for shore excursions

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Oct 4th, 2016, 02:38 AM
  #1
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New Zealand: Recommendations for shore excursions

We're taking a cruise to Sydney and New Zealand in November on the Celebrity Solstice. I’ve been checking out excursions offered by the cruise line and www.shoreexcursions.com and finding it difficult to choose what to do at each port.

I’d appreciate any recommendations and tips you can provide about sightseeing activities in these areas:
Sydney, Australia
Dunedin NZ
Akaroa NZ
Tauranga NZ
Aukland NZ
Bay of Islands NZ

We are in our sixties and our main interests are wildlife and nature.

We also looking for advice about hiring private tour operators in these areas. We have a group of six.

Thanks for your ideas.
kwalker99 is offline  
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Oct 4th, 2016, 02:02 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
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We did a cruise in 2013 from Perth to Sydney also stopping at 3 ports in New Zealand.
In Dunedin we did the tour from the ship that took us into town where we could walk around for a couple of hours (we saw the station which is a beautiful building and also went to the Cadbury factory & cathedral)and then we went on a bus tour around Dunedin and saw the steepest street, the university, lots of interesting homes, a great view from up high, the beaches and lots of sheep.
In Akaroa we also did the ships tour as it was a sailing trip into the bay on an old ketch. My partner is a sailor so he was keen to do that. The weather was not too good but we had an amazing morning in the bay and were able to see the dolphins. When we got back we spent about an hour exploring the small town and then had lunch at a French restaurant along at the wooden pier. Very special place.
The best way to see Sydney is using the hop on hop off bus - can go all over the place with that. We also took a trip on the ferry to Manly which was great. Something else we did was have a drink and hot chips down at the opera house in the evening as the sun went down. Our hotel was near Darling harbour so we could walk everywhere. There is also an overhead railway which looked amazing - we did not manage that.
Enjoy your cruise and "down under". We were 3 over 60 couples and we had a great time. We don't usually do the ships tours but we did those two in NZ and enjoyed them.
buzzcolin is offline  
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Oct 4th, 2016, 03:04 PM
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We did a trip from Akaroa to travel on the Arthur's Pass railway and were very disappointed. Even though it was a very long day, time did not allow for us to see the most spectacular part of the pass - went mainly through suburbia and lowlands. Consequently we wouldn't recommend this shore excursion, particularly since it was quite expensive.
In Sydney (if you are docked at Circular Quay) it is very easy to wander around the city by yourself.
marg is offline  
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Oct 5th, 2016, 06:50 PM
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Does Elm Wildlife do tours from Dunedin?
mlgb is offline  
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Oct 5th, 2016, 11:36 PM
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Your travel agent should be able to provide and arrange group tours for you for your shore excursions. It makes sense with a group of 6. It will be a lot cheaper and you can customize where you want to go.

In Sydney, there's a fabulous zoo across the way, you take a ferry there and you can go independently if you're good with getting around, although the ferry terminal in Sydney is a bit confusing, lots going on. They have some very interesting creatures there since you are into nature and wildlife and the ferry ride is beautiful.

The walk along the waterfront park to the Sydney opera house lends it self for photo opportunities and be sure to take a tour of the opera house.

I also went to the Olympic stadium in Sydney and it was wonderful to see it being used for lots of events..

Chartering a sailboat in Sydney is also fun...if you find another group, you can have a race.

Sydney is such a great city..and the old town section is fun for strolling and shopping..
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Oct 8th, 2016, 07:55 AM
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If you are a big fan of Lord of the Rings and the Hobbits, you can do a LOTR/Hobbit tour in every port, from film locations to studios, they are all there.

We did the same cruise a couple years ago and it was wonderful. You did not list the scenic cruising on the south island fjords / sounds. They were absolutely gorgeous; and you will love the ship too. We hanged out at the library lots, and make sure you stop by the glass blowing demonstration at the top deck. There is real grass at the lawn area if you are interested.

Although we based most excursions on the LOTR/Hobbit theme, it took us to many great location including the Southern Alps. Whakarewarewa was a good cultural experience, along with the geyser and the Living Maori Village.

Not too familiar with NZ native wildlife other than the kiwi.
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