As we couldn't get onto the Taieri Gorge Railway Tour (which was disappointing) we decided to do a Hopper city run. This meant we were not under any pressure to be anywhere at a certain time. It was good in the fact that we could stop and have a look around and then get back on the bus. Lovely Botanical Gardens, the steepest road in the world, Speights Brewery etc. We stopped brewery and had a bevy in the old pub which was nice. Time just flew. By the time we got back to the Dunedin Station we didn't have a lot of time left but enough to have a look at this beautiful old building with what it contained as in an art display. Also a sporting museum but this wasn't free, so we didn't go in. The weather was cool and overcast with a little humidity. The bus driver gave us an insight to the history of Dunedin as he drove us around. A pleasant introduction to NewZealand.
This was an excellent way to see some sights while remaining flexible to choose which venues to stop and visit. The sights offered, Museum, Botanical Gardens, Train Station and Speights Brewery each took longer than time permitted to see them all or even more than two effectively, particularly if you choose to include the Brewery tour. It would be helpful to include in the advertising for this trip to acknowledge the length of the tour of the Brewery in order to better plan the day. Our travelling companions missed an opportunity for lunch in order to make the tour and then return directly to the ship. The best fish and chips served anywhere we have ever been was in the old Speights Hotel prior to the tour.
Our ship had a change in itinerary date and arrival time, but I had no issues changing the date with Headfirst travel who were very helpful. Unfortunately due to the change of arrival time 9.30 instead of 8.30 we had to bus to the half way point of the train journey and so only had it one way. The bus trip took nearly 2 hours with a toilet stop. The train was fantastic as far as views go, a great experience but our train was very disorganised if you wanted to get something to eat or drink. No-one explained to us what would happen after the train trip, so it took a little while to find someone from the excursion team to ask where to go next which was disappointing. Overall a good trip and would book with this company again, but maybe ask a few more questions myself.
This tour started off on a bad foot as our cruise arrived late into port our initial train did not wait for us and the tour operators were non apologetic to our circumstances which were out of our control. However, the situation was fixed by busing us to the halfway point of the train journey to catch its return. This turned out to be a bonus as we saw the Dunedin Plateau scenery as well as the Gorge on the trains return. One tip we would give is once on aboard the train buy your food early as they seemed to sell out very quickly. The city sights tour was excellent and the bus driver was great and did not hurry us at any stops.