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Top Tours for Cruisers

By Viator, November 2014

4.5 105 Reviews | Add your review

No matter where your cruise ship is headed in New Zealand, you'll step onto the dock and into a new world, one with more to discover than you could possibly have time for. As a cruiser, there's no time for lollygagging around a cruise stop – you have to do what you can to make the most of the time you have in a location, whether it's Dunedin, Auckland, Akaroa or Tauranga. To ensure you do, check out some of our top tours for cruisers, both right off the ship and on land.

Dunedin:
Visitors to Dunedin can opt for an easy shore excursion through the spectacular scenery surrounding the Taieri River on the Taieri Gorge Railway Tour and City Sightseeing tour. Once your cruise ship docks, you'll be taken to the grand Dunedin Railway Station for a four-hour journey to Pukerangi. Traveling in a historic wooden train carriage, you’ll follow the course of the Taieri River, passing through almost a dozen tunnels and climbing the edge of the steep-sided Taieri Gorge. Then, when you've returned to Dunedin, you'll join a scenic two-hour city sightseeing tour that includes the city's neo-Gothic churches and other 19th-century buildings.

Outside of the tightly timed shore excursion options in Dunedin, travelers can choose the Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula Wildlife Tour, which include highlights of the city center and an afternoon immersed in the beauty of the peninsula. Those with a full day can take the Taieri Gorge Railway and the Otago Peninsula Day Trip from Dunedin for a more in-depth experience with these attractions.

Auckland:
Auckland is a New Zealand hub of activity, as the most populous area in the country. If you're on a cruise that docks here, take a seven-hour shore excursion that includes a city sightseeing tour, harbor cruise and the Sky Tower. The excursion begins with a tour of Auckland's most famous sights, including Quay Street and the Tamaki Waterfront, and then continues on with a 90-minute harbor cruise. Finish the day off with a trip up the 1,075-foot Sky Tower for stunning views of Auckland's buildings and harbors from the observation deck. 

And even if you're not a cruise passenger, you can choose the Auckland Harbour and Hauraki Gulf Lunch Cruise for an afternoon of the sights, a three-course lunch and a relaxing trip around the harbor. As your cruise sets out, take in highlights including Auckland Harbour Bridge, the seaside town of Devonport and its twin lookouts of North Head and Mt Victoria, Bean Rock Lighthouse and Bastion Point. The captain shares informative commentary on Auckland’s history, the America’s Cup base here, and iconic landmarks that you pass during the cruise. 

Akaroa:
While your ship is in port in Akaroa Harbour, take a shore excursion to tour the scenic Banks Peninsula and visit the city of Christchurch. You’ll see how Christchurch is emerging from the devastation of the 2011 earthquake, take a stroll through the city’s beautiful botanic gardens and admire New Zealand’s magnificent scenery. Travel by coach through the Banks Peninsula along the Akaroa Highway with its breathtaking scenery of Akaroa Harbour, Little River, Lakes Forsyth and Lake Ellesmere. As you make your way into the city with your guide, enjoy the splendor of the Southern Alps and the Canterbury Plains, then take in Christchurch's landmarks and the old CBD before continuing to the beach suburb of Sumner and then returning to Akaroa.

Tauranga:
Take in the highlights of New Zealand's most beautiful city, Rotorua, when your cruise ship docks in Tauranga. Receive a traditional welcome at Whakarewarewa, New Zealand’s only authentic living Maori village, and explore the Rotorua region, where otherworldly geysers, lunar landscapes, scenic countryside and Maori culture come together. This shore excursion of Rotorua's highlights first heads to Te Puke, New Zealand's kiwifruit capital, before traveling through the Bay of Plenty's beautiful farmland to the area's unique thermal wonderland of erupting hot springs. Complete your Rotorua shore excursion with a tour of Rotorua’s highlights, including the Government Gardens, historic bath house and natural hot springs at Whangapipiro (Rachel's Pool).

Please note that while all tours do welcome cruisers, only those with a "Worry-Free Guarantee" ensure your on-time return to the port. If you are booking a tour that does not include this guarantee, be sure to plan accordingly to avoid missing your cruise ship.

Tours & Tickets

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Dunedin Shore Excursion: Taieri Gorge Railway Tour and City Sightseeing

4.5 star rating: Recommended 51 Reviews

When your cruise ship docks in Dunedin, take a trip through the spectacular scenery surrounding the Taieri River on board the Taieri Gorge Railway. Travel ...  Read more

Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
Duration: 7 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $115.13

Tauranga Shore Excursion: Rotorua Highlights

4.5 star rating: Recommended 23 Reviews

Take in the highlights of New Zealand's most beautiful city, Rotorua, when your cruise ship docks in Tauranga. Receive a traditional welcome at Whakarewarewa, ...  Read more

Location: Tauranga, New Zealand
Duration: 7 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $111.16

Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula and Christchurch City Sights

4 star rating: Recommended 24 Reviews

While your ship is in port in Akaroa Harbour, take a shore excursion to tour the scenic Banks Peninsula and visit the city of Christchurch. You’ll see how ...  Read more

Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Duration: 6 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $67.49

Taieri Gorge Railway and the Otago Peninsula Day Trip from Dunedin

4.5 star rating: Recommended 2 Reviews

Explore the South Island’s gorgeous scenery on a full-day excursion from Dunedin. In the morning, travel aboard the Taieri Gorge Railway through stunning ...  Read more

Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $142.12

Auckland Shore Excusion: City Sightseeing Tour, Harbor Cruise and Sky Tower

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 3 Reviews

While your ship is in port in Auckland, see the city sights, take a cruise under the Harbour Bridge and enjoy bird’s-eye views of Auckland from the Sky Tower. ...  Read more

Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)

From USD $115.13

Auckland Harbour and Hauraki Gulf Lunch Cruise

Enjoy a scenic lunchtime cruise around Auckland Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf on board a 146-foot (44.5m) catamaran. See highlights including Auckland Harbour ...  Read more

Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $62.88

Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula Wildlife Tour

See the highlights of Dunedin’s city center and Larnach Castle in the morning, then spend the afternoon immersed in the natural beauty of the Otago Peninsula. ...  Read more

Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
Duration: 7 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $150.06

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