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willtup5

Picton or Wellington?

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I am hoping to get people's thoughts on which port would you pick and why? We are considering a cruise January 2021. One cruise goes to picton the other goes to wellington. We are more interested in beauty and nature if that helps. 

Thanks in advance for your thoughts

David

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Wellington has some really great cultural attractions - Te Papa the national museum, the botanical gardens, zelandia wildlife reserve etc.  It is the second largest city in NZ so you will have to get out of the city to see nature.

 

Picton is in the Marlborough sounds so very picturesque and has amazing walks and boat trips around some of the loveliest parts on NZ.  The town itself is tiny - basically the stop for the ferry service between the two islands.  

 

I work in Welly and travel semi frequently to Picton and love them both - but for different reasons.  Depending on what you want to do that day will make a big difference.  If you want to get out into nature Picton wins but if you want to understand what makes NZ special then it is Wellington....

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On 12/13/2019 at 7:28 PM, sweetp12 said:

Your detailed information makes me want to go back to Wellington.  We caught the ferry to the South Island.  Does the car route to the west coast go via Picton?
 

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It really depends on what your interests are, personally I love Picton, a small town abundant in natural beauty, Wellington probably has more cultural attractions

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One thing you cannot predict is the weather.  If you are on the fence about these two, Wellington affords alternative attractions in the event of inclement weather.  

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On 12/13/2019 at 4:28 AM, sweetp12 said:

Hello,

OMG !! all this information is very interesting as we will be in Wellington port in February. 

 

My question is do you think it is possible to walk from the cruise port to the cable car and then do the Botanical garden and then Zealanda ?

 

Thanks

Sea Ya

Eric

 

 

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On 12/26/2019 at 8:15 PM, Goldconnection said:

Both are great. Just off the Jewel and had the opportunity to visit both.

We are booked on the Jewel later this year. Can you tell me what there is to do in Picton? Any suggestions? Also can you add advice for Lyttleton, NZ and Whangarei ? I'm having a hard time finding out any information on these ports. 

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Our cruise ship is now avoiding Milford Sound and going to Picton instead (because of a storm).  For those who have been to Picton, I need to figure out pretty quickly what to do there.  I, like the other poster, am interested in scenery and nature.  Since we'll cruise in very early morning, some of the boat tours (like the mail run) don't work with our hours.  I'm leaning towards taking a boat trip to Motuara Wildlife Sanctuary, which I gather is mostly birds.  If anyone has been there, I'd love to hear your impressions - did you have to walk long distances?  was the trip there scenic (looks to be different route from where ferries and probably cruise ships travel).  

 

Did anyone do a boat trip?  If so, in your opinion, was it worthwhile for scenery/possible wildlife sightings?

 

As for Wellington, I haven't been there yet, but I understand there is a shuttle to a couple places, including one that's within fairly easy walking distance of the cable car.

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Hi Eric

Yes you will be able to do the cable car + the Gardens and Zealandia in one day - take the cable car up to the Gardens and then grab the free shuttle from there to get to Zealandia.  https://dev.visitzealandia.com/shuttle As Wellington is a working port you are shuttled off the port into town.  There are two stops - by Parliament and then further down the CBD.  For the cable car get off at stop one and walk down Lampton Quay to the cable car (an easy 5-7 min walk on flat ground).  

 

As for Lyttleton - there is very little to do there, it is the port for Christchurch so broaden your search for that.  Singnrn what type of things are you interested in?  Whangarei is the port for the Bay of Islands so lots of things but you are likely to have to broaden your search again.  If you like historical / cultural things Russell and the Treaty of Waitangi grounds could be worth a look.   

 

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23 hours ago, sweetp12 said:

Hi Eric

Yes you will be able to do the cable car + the Gardens and Zealandia in one day - take the cable car up to the Gardens and then grab the free shuttle from there to get to Zealandia.  https://dev.visitzealandia.com/shuttle As Wellington is a working port you are shuttled off the port into town.  There are two stops - by Parliament and then further down the CBD.  For the cable car get off at stop one and walk down Lampton Quay to the cable car (an easy 5-7 min walk on flat ground).  

 

As for Lyttleton - there is very little to do there, it is the port for Christchurch so broaden your search for that.  Singnrn what type of things are you interested in?  Whangarei is the port for the Bay of Islands so lots of things but you are likely to have to broaden your search again.  If you like historical / cultural things Russell and the Treaty of Waitangi grounds could be worth a look.   

 

Again your info are so welcomed. I will do exactly what you have written for Wellington as its seems to pretty much be an entire day. 

For Bay of Island we have done the Russell thing last year so thought of doing the Glowworms tour unless you thought of other interesting thing to do.

 

For Turanga we are going to do the Hobbiton tour.

 

The only one still not decided on yet is Napier as it seems everyone is doing a wine tour and they are almost sold out. 

 

We are pretty much nature people we love walking and walking. We dont like shopping.

 

Thanks again 

 

Eric

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So Napier has a couple of really good, non wine options.  It is well known for being an Art Deco town, which was due to an earthquake in the 1920's wiping out most of the buildings.  On cruise ship days the Art Deco trust does their tours from just down from the shuttle drop off https://www.artdeconapier.com/Cruise+Passengers.html 

 

For a more nature focused experience is to visit Cape Kidnappers - https://www.hawkesbaynz.com/see-and-do/attractions/natural-wonders/cape-kidnappers/ 

 

I have done this tour (not through the ship - but while i was up there on holiday) http://gannetsafaris.co.nz/cape-kidnappers-gannet-tours/cruise-ship/ and found it really worth enjoyable - you get a different perspective than the beach trip and also a better commentary.  There is also the one that goes along the beach - which is tide dependent. https://www.gannets.com/tour/faq/#cruise-ship

 

There are some great walks in the Hawkes Bay but you are likely to need to either rent a car or arrange transport to get to them.

 

Glow worms are a solid choice, just set your expectations as you are likely to spend a lot of time on a bus to have a short time in a cave.  It is really cool though and almost a quintessential kiwi experience 🙂   

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We just got off Celebrity Solstice earlier this month and our ship stopped at both places.  We rented a car and drove along the Marlborough Sound to the little town of Havelock for lunch.  And then we drove back.  Because it was low tide, the sound was not looking its best, but it is a beautiful area.  

 

At Wellington we took a private 1/2 day city tour and then went to the Te Papa Museum which is pretty awesome.  

 

They are two very different cities.  Picton gets the nod if you are interested in nature and scenery.

 

306E4528-CEB3-4009-AE0D-109372B6A1C1.jpeg

Picton, Dec 26 2019

 

 

BD1A2ED1-ACA3-4511-BB4F-E338BBCA9604.jpeg

Wellington, Dec 28 2019

Edited by mahdnc

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We did the Snout Walk in Picton.  Lots of great views of the harbor..  The town itself is also a great place to walk around with small cafes and shops.

 

In Wellington, the one place not to miss is Te Papa.  I'm not big on museums (and truthfully, the idea of a natural history museum on NZ did not exactly excite me), but this is absolutely the best museum I've ever visited.  You could spend all day there if you wanted.  We only had a couple of hours and barely scratched the surface.  If you take the shuttle in from the port, skip the first stop near Parliament and get off at the second stop which is a block from Te Papa.  You'll likely beat most of the tours and avoid the cable car lines that occur early in the morning (since everyone gets off at the first stop).  After Te Papa, you can walk over to the cable car and ride it up.  Walk back down from the top through the botanical gardens, and when you get down, you'll only be a couple of blocks from the first shuttle stop.

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We just got back from our Bali, Australia & NZ trip.  Thank you for the Picton information, everyone.  I ended up taking a Delivery boat tour around the area - delivering cases of Corona beer and toilet paper, picking up or delivering the occasional box or bag of things, and ferrying hikers to points along the hike that is very popular there.  The first part of the trip wasn't great, as it's pretty much the same route the cruise ship takes to get into Picton.  However, the last part of the ride was scenic and very nice.  It can be booked last minute, I believe, assuming there's room for you.  It was not crowded at all when we left from Picton.  Picton is nice in that you can walk from the port to the central business district, and the blue line leads the way!  I enjoyed my visit. 

 

The Gannet Safaris tour from Napier was awesome - assuming you like to see large birds close up.  I'm not sure how late they're there, so check with the company.  On cruise days they meet you at the back of the MTG building (museum) - close to where the shuttle will drop you, which is close to the iSite info center.  You can sit on the wall that surrounds the park and esplanade there to wait for them.  You do NOT meet them right next to the MTG building, though - go across the street!  The drive up to the Cape was a bit lengthy and not for the faint of heart.  But the whole experience was wonderful, and for a photographer like me, it was a dream come true!  You'll be asked to pay before the cruise, but given that I was afraid of missed ports because of the bush fires, I asked to pay on the day of the tour.  They said no problem.  

 

We also had time to walk around Napier, looking at Art Deco buildings, old cars, and murals on walls.  The iSite can give you more info on those.  The National Tobacco Building is wonderful, but too far to walk.  The shuttles arranged by cruise ships do take you to the Aquarium, though - if you're into that, and just walking down the Marine Terrace promenade is worthwhile in my opinion.  Yes, the whole city is a bit touristy, but oh so fun.

 

I may have mentioned this before, but if not: If you're stopping in Bali, I can recommend an incredible driver/guide (inexpensive, as they all apparently are) who can take you around.  There isn't anything to do at or really near the port.  

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Speaking of driver/guides - does anyone have a recommendation for Picton?  We'd rather not rent a car but the tours we're seeing seem to be all one thing or another.  We'd like to stop at a winery not multiples and see the beauty of the area, get out to Havelock, drive the coast.

 

Is it possible to get a cabby at the port to take us around?  We've had some great experiences in European ports, just not sure if it's doable in AU and NZ.

 

Thanks for help and suggestions,

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2 hours ago, amonaghan said:

Speaking of driver/guides - does anyone have a recommendation for Picton?  We'd rather not rent a car but the tours we're seeing seem to be all one thing or another.  We'd like to stop at a winery not multiples and see the beauty of the area, get out to Havelock, drive the coast.

 

Is it possible to get a cabby at the port to take us around?  We've had some great experiences in European ports, just not sure if it's doable in AU and NZ.

 

Thanks for help and suggestions,

 

One thing I discovered is that you can't go to a sheep station on your own because they are only set up for cruise ship or other large groups (I was told by a private guide that the minimum charge is $5,000 per group :classic_ohmy:)

 

We are going to take a ship's tour that includes a cruise across Queen Charlotte Sound and a hike on the Queen Charlotte Track.  Eighty-five Euros per person for 3.5 hours [this is on Ponant, a French cruise line].  You might be able to duplicate this at the port.

 

Another ship's tour that was briefly offered but since removed would have gone to Winterhome, a sheep farm and formal garden in Kekerengu, lunch at The Store on the Kairkoura coast, a scenic drive along the East Coast, and a wine tasting (singular) at the Hans Herzog winery.  It sounded like a very interesting all-day tour, but the price was 160 Euros per person.  As noted, you can't duplicate this as a private tour.

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19 hours ago, amonaghan said:

Speaking of driver/guides - does anyone have a recommendation for Picton?  We'd rather not rent a car but the tours we're seeing seem to be all one thing or another.  We'd like to stop at a winery not multiples and see the beauty of the area, get out to Havelock, drive the coast.

 

Is it possible to get a cabby at the port to take us around?  We've had some great experiences in European ports, just not sure if it's doable in AU and NZ.

 

Thanks for help and suggestions,

I didn't try to find a driver/guide or taxi in Picton.  However, I did run across something that was called a hop on hop bus in the greater Picton area.   It made a circuit around the area, and basically seemed a way to visit various wineries and see some nice scenery.   It also stopped somewhere that had a car museum, I think.  I just pulled up the link lcmortenson posted, and I think the bus service is listed there. 

 

But I found the iSITE info centers in NZ to be excellent.  Maybe they can point you in the right direction.

 

If you have extra time, Picton's actually a kind of nice small city, good for walking around the waterfront. 

Edited by roothy123

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