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Traveling New Zealand

We are planning a trip to Australia and New Zealand in 2018.
Has anyone flown to New Zealand and then cruised around both North and South Island?
We would like to cruise around New Zealand but didn't want to cruise from Australia, we would prefer to fly and then spend those extra days in Australia.

Posted by
6507 posts

Everybody that I know who has cruised that area has done a combined Australia/New Zealand cruise. I do know that Princess does some cruises that are just New Zealand (rd trip from Auckland). They only do a couple each year and I do see that the 2017 dates are sold out so they may sell out early. You'd have to check each cruise company to see who else might do a New Zealand only cruise and what their dates are for 2018 because it may lock you into a narrow choice of dates. It may take some research on your part and I would start by posing your question on cruisecritic.com or checking vacationstogo.com.

Posted by
95 posts

Is it the cruise that's appealing or seeing NZ? Because a cruise is really not great way to see NZ.

Cruising from AU to NZ (or vv) is also really inefficient and not scenic.
I think you'd have to really love being on a cruise ship to want to do this. My observation is that cruise ships used to be really uncommon, but there's now plenty of them over the summer months (ie. now) so I guess there are lots of people that like it (or someone figured out that it makes sense to send EU cruise ships south and did a lot of marketing).

If you're not comfortable with driving in NZ, or want the convenience of someone taking care of getting from A to B, then there are plenty of coach tours.

Maybe (re)consider a rental car and motel/hotel/bnb holiday. We speak english (of a sort), we're connected to the internet...anything is possible! Okay, we drive on the left but our rental cars are almost always automatic...easy to drive!

Posted by
203 posts

Unless you are really into cruising I wouldn't. Cruise New Zealand. I don't see how you could effectively see most of New Zealand's main attractions if cruising.

Posted by
13 posts

Thank you everyone who replied to my question. Based on all of this info, my husband and I decided To look into a coach tour of New Zealand. We are hoping to go February 2018.

Does anyone have suggestions as to which company we should check out? We would like a smaller, more personal tour, with perhaps 20 people or so. We would also like the tour to be less than 14 days, but would like to see both north and South Island. Is this realistic?
We would also would like to stay in nice accommodations ( no tenting).

Any and all suggestions appreciated!

Posted by
203 posts

To see basics of both islands you need 3 weeks - 1 week north island and 2 weeks South Island. I can't help with tour companies as I have never used them. I'm sure there will be companies that cover it in 2 weeks - just long days and not much time in each sport.

Posted by
13 posts

Again, thanks for all your input.

Next question; if we only did one island, should it be north or south?
Also thinking of trying to find a small coach tour ( about 20 people) to tour the island.
Any suggestions.

Posted by
13206 posts

North or South? They are very different. We spent two weeks on the South Island and did not visit the North at all, so I cannot compare from personal experience. But generally, the North Island is more about Maori culture, volcanic landscapes and hot springs, the cities of Auckland and Wellington, and the Bay of Islands. It is closer to the equator and warmer/more South Pacific island feeling. The South Island has the Southern Alps with tall peaks and glaciers. Also lovely fjords to cruise, adventure centers like Queenstown with bungee-jumping, zorbing and the like, glacier trekking, golden sand beaches at Abel Tasman National Park, and wineries. Also whale-watching and some scenic train rides.. It is closer to Antarctica (but not very close) so more temperate than tropical. We thought it is a lot like California.

Posted by
13 posts

Based on many comments it seems exploring the South Island makes the most sense for us.

We also realize we will need more time in NZ than first planned, 7 days won't work. We will definitely plan at least two weeks in South Island.

Thank you everyone for all the help.

Posted by
13206 posts

Are you still looking for a tour, or are you willing to rent a car and plan your own visit? I highly recommend that, even though it means driving in the left---the roads are well-built and signed, although narrow. My husband drove and my job was navigation and "keep left" reminders at each roundabout and turn.

There are also two scenic train rides, so you do not need a car the whole time. We took the coastal train up to Picton and then a water taxi to this lovely spot for our first few days:

http://www.lochmara.co.nz

We used a bus from Picton to Nelson for Abel Tasman National Park, then flew back to Christchurch to pick up our rental car for the drive south to Mt Cook and other areas. It was a fantastic trip.

Posted by
379 posts

I drove for three weeks touring the SI and the NI. And took a day cruise to Milford Sound, and an overnight cruise to Doubtful Sound. Both are highlights of my trip.

Posted by
203 posts

Ha ha djp_syd. See how many New Zealanders you can ask questions where the answer has to be the number 6. I found it harder to formulate questions to get the answer "fish and chips" but got the answer 6 from a few. In my forties now and still enjoy the novelty of their accent. Unfortunately a lot of tourist areas had damn Australian employees. Sigh, just not the same.