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mrsmeganford

Where to look for New Zealand Shore Excursions?

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I'm starting to feel a little overwhelmed with the options/prices for our Sydney to New Zealand cruise in October. So far we've only done Caribbean cruises and have found it very simple to find inexpensive shore excursions ahead of time (not through the ship). Can you give me some suggestions as to where to look? Any websites or even actual excursions are greatly appreciated!!!!

 

Here is the itinerary:

 

5 Port Chalmers (Dunedin), New Zealand 8:00 a.m. 6:00 p.m.

6 Akaroa (Christchurch), New Zealand 8:00 a.m. 6:00 p.m.

7 Wellington, New Zealand 8:00 a.m. 6:00 p.m.

8 Napier, New Zealand 7:00 a.m. 2:00 p.m.

9 Tauranga, New Zealand 7:00 a.m. 6:00 p.m.

10 Auckland, New Zealand 7:00 a.m. 10:00 p.m.

11 Bay Of Islands, New Zealand 7:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m.

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I suggest searching through this forum, one port at a time. There have been lots of recommendations made in the the past.

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I suggest searching through this forum, one port at a time. There have been lots of recommendations made in the the past.

 

We have booked most of our excursions through Viator for our upcoming NZ cruise in November. Many similar to what Princess is offering but at perhaps half the price. Look for shore excursions on the left hand side of their web page.

 

 

Leigh

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We'll be cruising in February. I've booked most of mine with this company. Well reviewed on TripAdvisor. Did a copy-paste of the logo on a confirmation email. You pay when you book. Their site is easy to use - it's database is preloaded with all the ships' itineraries. http://www.shoretripsandtours.com/images/shore_hm_logo.png

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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Copy paste didn't work- here's the name. shore trips and tours, division of mount classic tours ltd

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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We used Back to Nature tours in Dunedin, Akaroa and Tauranga. We were in communication with Chris and everything worked out fine. We used Silver Cloud Luxury Tours in Wellington. The tour was great and the owner Helen was terrific. We had been to Auckland before so we just walked around the downtown area. You might want to take a ferry and visit some wineries. In Bay of Islands we chartered a boat that gave us fabulous scenery and great food. However, this could be quite costly but we were 9 people. Hope this helps.

 

Janice

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If you have never been to Napier before then there are a couple of things you could try. Both can be booked when you get there.

1. The Heritage walk. This takes about 2-3 hours and you can do it at your own pace. You just pick up the pamphlet at the information centre.

2. A wine trail. There are a wide variety of these as the Hawke's Bay is one of NZ premium wine areas. Try to get a trail around some of the smaller boutique wineries. If you google this you can see what I mean.

 

To get from the ship to the centre of town is an easy walk along the waterfront.

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Here's our recommendations and what we did:

 

5 Port Chalmers (Dunedin), New Zealand 8:00 a.m. 6:00 p.m.

 

We used Good Company Tours for the Dunedin City and Larnach Castle tour.

Excellent tour and enthusiastic guide proud of his city.

 

7 Wellington, New Zealand 8:00 a.m. 6:00 p.m.

 

We did the WETA There and Back again tour (see WETA website to book) to see the Lord of the Rings movie workshop.

If you do this, do the full tour or don't bother. The free 3 minute movie and gift shop isn't worth the time to get here unless you do the tour.

After the tour, the shuttle went back to the CBD and we had time to ride the cable car up and down the hill, with a little souvenir shopping before catching the free ship shuttle bus back to the port.

Note, you cannot walk from the port to anywhere. You must take the free shuttle bus to the CBD or book a tour that meets you at the dock.

 

11 Bay Of Islands, New Zealand 7:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m.

 

 

We DIY this one. After tendering, we took the free ship's shuttle to downtown Paia and found a tour company outside the visitor center to take us to Kawiti Caves. www.Earthmothertours.nz . Stella was our guide/driver and she was excellent.

$50 NZD for the tour and $30 for the cave entrance. Much cheaper than a ship's tour. She had extras including sights not advertised like a stop at the falls, driving through the rainforest and yummy treats before the cave tour.

 

Tauranga

 

At Tauranga, we had booked with Shore Trips and Tours for a Hobbiton and Rotorua tour, but a cyclone forced the ship to skip Tauranga. The company knew from the cruise line that the ship had canceled the port and promptly refunded our money without us even asking, even though we booked on our own and not with the cruise line. Great customer service! Would book again with this company without hesitation.

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Just a heads up. We booked a private tour in Akaroa, to spend the day with the local mail delivery and tour the Eastern Bays. This tour has great reviews and we were really looking forward to it. However, because of rough seas the harbour was closed and we sailed on by. NO REFUND because we didn't give them 24 hours notice. The tour operator said we should claim through our trip insurance but we now know that you need a special rider for "event cancellation" in order to claim such a loss.

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For Dunedin, we used the most amazing guide - Mateo.  He runs https://www.untamednz.co.nz/ .  Mateo was attentive and such a wonderful guide.  He specializes in small groups and private tours.  We saw so much around the peninsula and Dunedin that I can't list everything on here....

 

For Akaroa we used Coast Up Close - https://www.coastupclose.co.nz/ - an excellent afternoon on the water viewing penguins, fur seals and Hector dolphins along with other wildlife.  

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Posted (edited)

We wanted to do a rail excursion from Dunedin.  We signed up for the cruise line trip.  It was $229 USD.

 

We stumbled into the the New Zealand Gov't tourist office in Wellington.  We wanted tour information.  The had the virtually the same rail trip advertised for Dunedin.  Second train from town.  Same time.  Only issue is we had to find our own way into town but the told us there would be a local bus...which there was.  The cost?  Just under $100. NZ  We signed.

 

As an aside, there were a number of upset folks on our RCI cruise the night of the Dunedin stop.  Those that had been on the RCI trip realized that there was another train...for much, much less money.  Only difference was a box lunch and they did not have to pay $3. or so to get into town.

 

On your first stop you might want to find one of these tourist offices. The staff were extremely helpful.

Edited by iancal

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It’s very obvious if one does any research at all that you can purchase the train tour on your own and pay much less. Except in the cases where the cruise line blocks out the entire train for certain days so no other option. Princess does this 

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If it was so easy, I'd never have found these message boards years ago when I was seeking information and planning my trip to New Zealand, Australia and somewhere in the South Pacific....I hadn't figured out where yet. I had books and magazines, websites but I was going to a part of the world that would be farther than I'd ever traveled although I'd just recently traveled to Asia. I needed some feedback and it helped hearing from others.

 

Being overwhelmed was the tipoff in the opening post in this topic, especially as many of these trips are bucket list voyages and the member mentioned she'd only previously sailed to the Caribbean. Managing land and sea can get to be a lot! Also, the cruise lines probably hope (or count on) folks being overwhelmed or maybe not wanting to do the extra work seeking out shore excursions on their own, and so the higher price tags....bit of a convenience surcharge for not having to do the extra work. 

 

Fair enough I suppose but once I'd get my planning and research underway, with some help from folks on the message boards, it would always feel like my trip was well underway and the fun had started. 

 

Dunedin was wonderful by the way, the train station is such a spectacular, historic building. Enjoy the journey. 🙂

 

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On 6/29/2019 at 1:11 AM, BoopTennis said:

It’s very obvious if one does any research at all that you can purchase the train tour on your own and pay much less. Except in the cases where the cruise line blocks out the entire train for certain days so no other option. Princess does this 

When we did the train trip last November, the ship had one train which left before the one we were on which had the private tours and those who had booked their own.

 

Leigh

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There are lots of sources to use for your research; both on line and also in travel books.

 

One option is simply trip advisor.  You put in one location at a time and it usually provides top rated places to visit in each place.  That is a simple way to start.  As you narrow the places you might want to visit you can use other on line sources including Frommers or just google the site and say top places to visit.

 

I prefer to book directly with the tour guide so I use trip advisor and look for private tours and select only those with their own website and go from there.

 

Once in awhile I can't find a good direct source and will used something like Tours By Locals or Viator.  Downside is that you are working through a third party so pricing can be higher.

 

Keith

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