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We are planning to cruise to New Zealand next year--anytime from late January into March and are looking at different cruise lines.  They all seem to show a different itinerary as to ports.  Most do cruising the Fiords.  Some also show cruising the Bay of Islands.  We don't particularly care which ship or departure port.  Budget matters since we also want to spend 2-3 weeks touring Australia.

 

What are the must see ports?  We want to see as much as possible, of course, mostly interested in scenic beauty and I really want to go to Hobbit Town.  I've noticed some of the shorter cruises leave out Tauranga, Napier, Wellington.  And some leave out Aukland.  Most seem to have Dunedin and Christ Church.  Some have Picton.  

 

We will probably only do this once, so don't want to miss anything truly spectacular.

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14 hours ago, Nebr.cruiser said:

We are planning to cruise to New Zealand next year--anytime from late January into March and are looking at different cruise lines.  They all seem to show a different itinerary as to ports.  Most do cruising the Fiords.  Some also show cruising the Bay of Islands.  We don't particularly care which ship or departure port.  Budget matters since we also want to spend 2-3 weeks touring Australia.

 

What are the must see ports?  We want to see as much as possible, of course, mostly interested in scenic beauty and I really want to go to Hobbit Town.  I've noticed some of the shorter cruises leave out Tauranga, Napier, Wellington.  And some leave out Aukland.  Most seem to have Dunedin and Christ Church.  Some have Picton.  

 

We will probably only do this once, so don't want to miss anything truly spectacular.

Do you want to cruise from Australia or from a NZ port? Most mainstream cruise lines do a round trip from Australia to NZ and back - sailing from Sydney, Melbourne or possibly Brisbane. There may be a small number of one way cruises from Australia or NZ (Auckland).

 

My favourite destination is Fiordland for NZ, then Dunedin, Tauranga and Auckland. From Tauranga, you can visit the Hobbit movie set and film locations or visit Rotorua for the hot springs and Maori culture.

Fiordland - the ship usually sails into the sounds for the passengers to have a good view of the scenery. Depending on the cruise line, you may visit 4- 5 sounds including Milford Sound which is the best (I think). In Milford, the ship will sail up the sound almost to the end where the village is situated and turn around to sail out. If there is an overnight excursion from the ship, depending if the ship is sailing from or to NZ, the ship will stop while turning for the excursion passengers to either disembark or embark. A point to remember is that depending on the weather conditions, ships may not always make it into the sounds. 

 

I would suggest you do some research on the NZ ports and what their attractions are. That way you will find which ports will suit you most and you can choose your cruise accordingly. 

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I agree. Fiordland scenic cruising is a rare pleasure as the scenery is spectacular. Also Dusky Sound can only be accessed by water and is a fantastic example of pristine NZ waterways.

 

Dunedin - little Edinburgh - blends Scots heritage with modern NZ living, spectacular scenery and a chance to see a bit of inland NZ on the Taieri Gorge train trip. Mind you, I'm a bit biases, I lived there as a child and my brother still lives there.

 

Yes, do go to Hobbiton, it is amazing. Andvit's a lovely trip over from Tauranga.

 

Auckland was my home for 15 years and is a lovely city plus the ships dock right at the downtown area of the city.

 

Napier is amazing if you like Art Deco architecture.

 

Late February or early March is the best time for NZ cruising.

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Posted (edited)

Thank you!  I have been researching but it is always good to get personal reviews.

 

We are open to cruising either from Australia or New Zealand.  I actually just put flights on hold yesterday, although I may be changing them.  Good deal using FF miles, hoping we can stand the long flights in premium economy.  

 

Some of the cruises just say 'Fiordland cruising, others mention the different sounds.  Having done the Cape Horn, Magellion straits cruise, we understand about weather, etc.  and know nothing can be predicted in that way.  

 

It will be the trip of a lifetime, since we plan on doing land tours in Australia as well.

Edited by Nebr.cruiser
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If you are doing a one way cruise from Auckland to Sydney the ship will enter Dusky sound first thing in the morning. Dusky Sound links to the Acheron Passage giving a one way transit through there. 

 

Around the middle of the day the ship will enter Doubtful Sound which links to Thompson Sound for another one way transit.

 

Late afternoon the ship will enter Milford Sound, go to the end, turn around and maybe wait for passengers who have done the two day excursion from Dunedin to reboard, then head back out to the Tasman Sea and across to Australia.

 

High seas or severe winds can stop the ships getting into the sounds, especially Milford. It's just the luck of the draw. We've been lucky to have good conditions on all three of the NZ cruises we've done.

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Posted (edited)

Sorry, duplicate.

 

We realize weather or other conditions may make cruising the sounds iffy--just have to hope for the best!

Edited by Nebr.cruiser
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As Julie said in her post, the Taieri Gorge train trip is a great way to see a little of inland NZ with beautiful scenery. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip, there is food and drinks available to purchase onboard and if you do a ship's excursion, lunch is usually included and you board the train from the dock beside the ship. We chose to do a private excursion which meant a coach from the dock to the train station to board the train. It was much cheaper than the ship's excursion and also meant we had time to look at the amazing station.

Dunedin Railway Station: One of the Nicest Old Buildings in New Zealand

 

Inside Dunedin Railway Station - Ed O'Keeffe Photography

 

Taieri Gorge Railway

 

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That looks amazing--what port is that from?  We usually do independent tours.

 

Booking today a round-trip from Sydney 12 night to NZ and an 11 day Sydney to Port Douglas roundtrip before the New Zealand cruise, on Princess.  We'll have 5 days between the cruises and 3-4 days after the NZ cruise to tour in Australia.

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10 hours ago, Nebr.cruiser said:

That looks amazing--what port is that from?  We usually do independent tours.

 

Booking today a round-trip from Sydney 12 night to NZ and an 11 day Sydney to Port Douglas roundtrip before the New Zealand cruise, on Princess.  We'll have 5 days between the cruises and 3-4 days after the NZ cruise to tour in Australia.

The photos are of the Taieri Gorge train and Dunedin railway station where we boarded the train in Dunedin. We did an independent tour.

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11 hours ago, possum52 said:

The photos are of the Taieri Gorge train and Dunedin railway station where we boarded the train in Dunedin. We did an independent tour.

Thank you!  I'm already starting to take notes and look at possible tour ideas--might be a little early!

 

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All of the above posters have provided wonderful recommendations and our personal highlights on our cruise from Sydney to Auckland in February 2020 are some that were mentioned e.g., cruising Dusky and Milford Sound (beautiful), Dunedin (for Otago area + Royal Albatross Centre),  Napier (Hawkes Bay Express + National Aquarium to meet/feed the little penguins), Tauranga (loved Hobbiton). One not mentioned is Akaroa (Paua Bay Farm - amazing scenery).  Such a beautiful country. 

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21 hours ago, WESTEAST said:

All of the above posters have provided wonderful recommendations and our personal highlights on our cruise from Sydney to Auckland in February 2020 are some that were mentioned e.g., cruising Dusky and Milford Sound (beautiful), Dunedin (for Otago area + Royal Albatross Centre),  Napier (Hawkes Bay Express + National Aquarium to meet/feed the little penguins), Tauranga (loved Hobbiton). One not mentioned is Akaroa (Paua Bay Farm - amazing scenery).  Such a beautiful country. 

Akaroa became the closest port to Christchurch after the earthquake and the port of Lyttleton was damaged. Lyttleton has now reopened and will service cruise ships visiting Christchurch so it is likely not many ships will visit Akaroa in the future which from my point of view is a pity as I loved it but I can inderstand why.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 5/12/2022 at 5:06 PM, possum52 said:

Akaroa became the closest port to Christchurch after the earthquake and the port of Lyttleton was damaged. Lyttleton has now reopened and will service cruise ships visiting Christchurch so it is likely not many ships will visit Akaroa in the future which from my point of view is a pity as I loved it but I can inderstand why.

Agree possum52, Akaroa was stunning and so glad we saw it!

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Posted (edited)
On 5/13/2022 at 3:26 AM, OzKiwiJJ said:

Do a search in this board, port by port, and you'll see lots of recommendations and comments about excursions.

Oh, I've been doing that, as well as lots of internet surfing.  Of course since there has been no cruising or touring in NZ or Australia for quite some time, it's hard to tell what will really be available to book.  There aren't many new posts, which is understandable as I am not sure if cruising there has started up again yet.  And it's off season for most traveal there.

 

I'd also like to know if we could pick up tours on the dock, like we often do in the Caribbean, but again, even if this did happen previously, will it now?

Edited by Nebr.cruiser
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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Nebr.cruiser said:

Oh, I've been doing that, as well as lots of internet surfing.  Of course since there has been no cruising or touring in NZ or Australia for quite some time, it's hard to tell what will really be available to book.  There aren't many new posts, which is understandable as I am not sure if cruising there has started up again yet.  And it's off season for most traveal there.

 

I'd also like to know if we could pick up tours on the dock, like we often do in the Caribbean, but again, even if this did happen previously, will it now?

Cruising has restarted as of this week with P&O Aus Pacific Explorer doing a return cruise from Sydney to Brisbane. Coral Princess is due to arrive this month and other cruise lines will have ships here in time for the summer season in October. There have been small ships (under 100 passengers I believe) since last year doing cruises around the northern part of the country. Tourism is really ramping up and international tourists are returning. There will be plenty of things to do in both NZ and Australia. Yes, you quite often can pick up tours at the dock. 

Edited by possum52
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Thank you, glad to know tourism is coming back there.  Our cruises aren't until February and March next year, so hopefully we have plenty of time. yet to arrange things.

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On 5/10/2022 at 9:31 PM, possum52 said:

The photos are of the Taieri Gorge train and Dunedin railway station where we boarded the train in Dunedin. We did an independent tour.

Did your tour pick you up at the port? 
It looks online like the train is not running right now due to Covid, I am hoping it is operational by January.

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21 hours ago, Peteymil said:

Did your tour pick you up at the port? 
It looks online like the train is not running right now due to Covid, I am hoping it is operational by January.

Yes, our coach to take us to Dunedin railway station was waiting outside the cruise terminal and the guide was waiting inside the terminal.

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On 6/8/2022 at 6:52 PM, possum52 said:

Yes, our coach to take us to Dunedin railway station was waiting outside the cruise terminal and the guide was waiting inside the terminal.

Can you recommend the company?

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14 hours ago, Peteymil said:

Can you recommend the company?

Yes, it was Good Company Tours. Unfortunately it looks as if the company is not in operation at this time and also the Taieri Gorge train has been mothballed and there doesn't seem to be any indication it will run any time soon. There are other rail trips from Dunedin which may be of interest though. 

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You would be better to do things the other way round and  cruise Australia and see NZ by land. You miss out most of the best stuff by cruising NZ instead of seeing it from land and you need longer to see NZ than Australia. 

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Posted (edited)

I am sure you are right, but at this stage in our life a cruise is just easier, with less planning and hassle.  Also probably cheaper, which is a factor in this multi week adventure we are hoping to do.  I know we will miss many beautiful and worthwhile sights; it's kind of like coming to the USA and seeing only New York, Miami or LA. and I realize this. 

 

We are doing a cruise from Sydney to Cairns as well.

 

Five weeks would not be long enough to even touch the diversity of the US, and of course it isn't for Australia-New Zealand either, but sometimes compromises have to be made.

Edited by Nebr.cruiser
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