Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
mrsfecura

Itinerary help - stick to Australia coast or do NZ from Syndey

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Hello, 

We're looking at an Australia and/or NZ cruise next year in November or December, we're from NY.  We're typically Royal Caribbean cruisers but I've seen some interesting itineraries on Princess and Celebrity.  My dilema is - stick to an Australia itinerary or do one on RC that starts/ends in Sydney but is entirely NZ ports.  We'd do at least 3 nights in Sydney before or after the cruise.  But then I miss out on ports like Brisbane, Newcastle, Airlie Beach, Kangaroo Island, Cairns.  We can really only do 2 weeks total with our jobs.  Are the NZ ports of Wellington, Christchurch, Picton and Dunedin worth splitting my time?  Should we devote this 2 weeks to Australia hoping that we get back to NZ someday?  Help.

Edited by mrsfecura

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, mrsfecura said:

Hello, 

We're looking at an Australia and/or NZ cruise next year in November or December, we're from NY.  We're typically Royal Caribbean cruisers but I've seen some interesting itineraries on Princess and Celebrity.  My dilema is - stick to an Australia itinerary or do one on RC that starts/ends in Sydney but is entirely NZ ports.  We'd do at least 3 nights in Sydney before or after the cruise.  But then I miss out on ports like Brisbane, Newcastle, Airlie Beach, Kangaroo Island, Cairns.  We can really only do 2 weeks total with our jobs.  Are the NZ ports of Wellington, Christchurch, Picton and Dunedin worth splitting my time?  Should we devote this 2 weeks to Australia hoping that we get back to NZ someday?  Help.

Two weeks is limited time to see both countries.

 There’s a few one way cruises from Auckland to Sydney which would save time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Weather wise, I would choose NZ.  It’s going to be pretty hot and humid in Nov/Dec in ports like Cairns, Brisbane and Airlie Beach.  

 

And with the exception of Kangaroo Island and Newcastle, the Australian ports are pretty much all tropical destinations.  Is that the kind of trip you are looking for?

 

I think you would find more varied scenery and activities in NZ (as well as more temperate weather.) 

 

Finally, have you considered a land vacation?  Two weeks in either Australia or NZ would allow you to see a lot of great places that are not confined to port cities.  (I love cruises, but having been to Australia and NZ many times, I think you can be shortchanged with cruises to those countries.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I had the same dilemma a number of years ago, and did Sydney (+Blue Mountains)/Melbourne + North Island of NZ over two weeks (non-cruise). A couple of years later, I did 2 weeks of just the South Island of NZ on a self-driving land tour. By far, the 2 weeks of just the South Island of NZ was way better. If I had to do it all over again, I would have just done Australia the first trip, and saved 4 weeks of vacation time for one fantastic NZ trip by land/ferry. We love NZ so much that we are booked on a future NZ cruise , but I can already tell: it won't be as good as our two land trips, which covered a number of the ports (been to Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, and Christchurch). The reason why is that you can't reach a lot of the most awesome things to do in NZ by cruise ship, by cruise ship (except via expensive overnight shore excursion). My advice would be to do NZ's south island over two weeks by car. It's really easy to do, especially if you have a Garmin GPS unit (we bought one just for the trip), because you can load a crowd-sourced NZ map pack  for the Garmin for free online (just google it). If you have 3 weeks, then add the north island. Also, if you do it by car, you can do a lot more things. For example, instead of taking a shore excursion to Larnach Castle in Dunedin, you can actually stay over night there and have dinner in the Castle (we did it, and it was amazing! We had a corner room, which overlooked the Otago Peninsula). Or, you can fly on a helicopter and land on top of Franz Josef or Fox Glacier. Or you can hike to the base of Mount Cook and eat a fantastic buffet meal at the Hermitage in Aoraki.  You can do jetboating on the Dart River near Queenstown. These are all things you can't do on the cruise. That being said, there are some things which you can do from the cruise, but they are going to be rushed, or you have to choose between two great activities for your one day; i.e. in Tauranga, most would choose to do geysers/Maori village in Rotorua or visit Hobbiton for the day, but you would miss out on Skyline Rotorua, which offers a really fun day plus fantastic buffet, or you miss out on the glowworm caves (or are rushed at the caves). We stayed two nights in Rotora, so we did all of it. In Auckland on a one-day cruise stop, you can't do all of Auckland, Devonport, or the fabulous Waiheke Island, which is worth a full day in, and of itself. I would save Australia for another trip, with just Australia for a few weeks.

Edited by leongcpa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It really doesn’t matter much, either way you will see some great spots you haven’t seen before, and then start planning to come back and do the other one.

 

if you choose NZ at least look at one that also includes Melbourne and Hobart so you see a bit more of Aus than just Sydney.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're going to have to decide what you value more, and whether the part you miss is appealing/an option to visit again.

 

The Australian ports, esp north, are more beach/sea oriented, whereas NZ ports are more cultural/sightseeing based. Some prefer one more than the other which may be a factor, or you can try to split and just see highlights from both, or as suggested above, approach a different way e.g. land only. So that's why it comes down to what you prefer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Oh man.  Thanks for all the advice!  I'm not sure what we're going to do now.  I definately wasn't interested in Aus for the beaches - I really want more of a cultural feel, and wildlife experience but I might have to do land then to get into the interior of the country it sounds like.  I LOVE beach, but not for this trip.  And now that I'm reading your opinions I agree that I need to choose either one country or the other for only 2 weeks time. 

 

So, that all being said.  If I were to choose to do just Aus this time for 2 weeks what areas should I not miss?  We would definately fly into Sydney and I want to research some wine regions in Aus as we're big into wine.  

Edited by mrsfecura

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As much as I love cruising I agree with two weeks a land trip is better. The hunter valley is an easy drive from Sydney and they have fantastic wineries. You could also come to Canberra, there's some great wine produced in this area and lots of cultural activities in close proximity to each other or you could fly to Adelaide where there are lots of wineries to visit and you could go to kangaroo island. This would take two weeks.  Eac of these cities have zoos where you could see Australian wildlife. Fly into Sydney, drive to hunter then to the blue mountains for a couple of days. Then drive to Canberra and from there fly to Adelaide and leave Australia from there or go back to Sydney and leave from there. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Suzbluz has given you a very good itinerary for 2 weeks in Australia in Nov/Dec -- Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide/Kangaroo Island -- based on your stated interests.

 

Having lived in Canberra for a few years, I would say having a car there would be a big advantage.  Fortunately, driving there is not difficult, even if you, like me, have never driven on the left.  In addition to the excellent museums and galleries in Canberra, most of which are free, it's a good place to see native animals in the wild.  You will likely see birds such as cockatoos, rosellas and galahs just while walking around and kangaroos can be spotted at Mt. Ainsley or Red Hill.  But, I think the best places for seeing native animals in the wild are at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and Namadgi National Park.  At Namadgi, there is a good, easy walk (6km RT) called the Yankee Hat Hike where I can guarantee you will see lots of kangaroos right off of the trail.  Plus, at the turnaround point is a rock with Aboriginal rock drawings. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/28/2019 at 12:31 AM, mrsfecura said:

Hello, 

We're looking at an Australia and/or NZ cruise next year in November or December, we're from NY.  We're typically Royal Caribbean cruisers but I've seen some interesting itineraries on Princess and Celebrity.  My dilema is - stick to an Australia itinerary or do one on RC that starts/ends in Sydney but is entirely NZ ports.  We'd do at least 3 nights in Sydney before or after the cruise.  But then I miss out on ports like Brisbane, Newcastle, Airlie Beach, Kangaroo Island, Cairns.  We can really only do 2 weeks total with our jobs.  Are the NZ ports of Wellington, Christchurch, Picton and Dunedin worth splitting my time?  Should we devote this 2 weeks to Australia hoping that we get back to NZ someday?  Help.

 

If you are just talking cruises, then the answer is NZ. For cruising NZ beats Australia. It beats most places in the world.

 

Two weeks is really not enough for a land tour of either country.

 

Cruise Australia the next time you come, although once you've seen NZ you will want go back there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/28/2019 at 4:47 AM, mrsfecura said:

I definately wasn't interested in Aus for the beaches - I really want more of a cultural feel, and wildlife experience

If you do Hobart / Port Arthur, walk to the right once you get off the tender.  Saw a lot of small animals just wandering about. They're timid & DO NOT TOUCH. They're endangered 

 

I was in Sydney pre-cruise / Hobart / Port Arthur last year, going Melbourne pre-cruise then cruising to NZ in November 👍

Edited by Ombud

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Ombud said:

If you do Hobart / Port Arthur, walk to the right once you get off the tender.  Saw a lot of small animals just wandering about. They're timid & DO NOT TOUCH. They're endangered 

 

I was in Sydney pre-cruise / Hobart / Port Arthur last year, going Melbourne pre-cruise then cruising to NZ in November 👍

The animals would only be at Port Arthur near the Harbour Masters cottage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, GUT2407 said:

The animals would only be at Port Arthur near the Harbour Masters cottage.

I found the best viewing to be near the 2nd cove past the cottage, about a mile up a path. Just a little beach but very pretty

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Ombud said:

I found the best viewing to be near the 2nd cove past the cottage, about a mile up a path. Just a little beach but very pretty

What are the animals you saw?

 

Leigh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mostly birds. Lots of them. But then a weird animal the size of a house cat but looks more like a rodent. Lives in the ground which was unusual for this Californian.  Plus only 2 tas devils in the distance. They're dying out apparently. And something hissed but I couldn't find it.

 

If you go there walk WAY down the trail. I only saw 1 person. But I didn't see a sign that I wasn't supposed to be there

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Ombud said:

But then a weird animal the size of a house cat but looks more like a rodent.

 

Sounds like a bandicoot, but you very rarely see them in the day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A with the Coral Expeditions Team
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...