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Lou33

Best New Zealand ports without a tour?

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Which ports in New Zealand are good to do on your own, without an organized tour?   Which have scenic areas nearby where we can rent bicycles or go for a long walk?  Which ports have attractions within walking distance or a short taxi ride?  We don't mind walking for miles.  In fact we would enjoy that opportunity.  In the past, we've found that our favorite ports were the ones that we could do for free, or relatively cheap, and on our own time schedule.  We are going to Dunedin, Akaroa, Wellington, Napier, Tauranga, and Bay of Islands.  I'm thinking that Wellington may be good to do on our own, since it's a big city?  Any advice is appreciated.  

Edited by Lou33

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Depends of course on what you want to see. You can certainly walk around in Akaroa, Wellington & BOI & see the local area.

 

The ship docks at Mt Manganui for Tauranga & you can walk around the small township, or take a bus to Tauranga itself (maybe 10-15mins), and if you are keen you can walk to the top of the mountain - I haven't, but my niece that lives in Tauranga does it often, including with her young kids.

 

The ship docks at Port Chalmers for Dunedin. You can walk around the Port Chalmers area (after clearing the working port area by bus), or catch a bus to Dunedin, where you can walk around for sure.

 

I haven't been to Napier as yet (will be there in Jan) so can't help there sorry, although I understand you must take a shuttle to get into town from the pier where the tender drops you.

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Bay of Islands - visit the Waitangi Treaty House and museum. Take the shuttle bus to Paihia. Sometimes there is a market in the park opposite where the shuttle buses stop. Take the ferry across to Russell, have lunch or a drink at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel which is one of the oldest pubs in NZ.

 

Tauranga - you can walk from the wharf into Mt Maunganui, climb the Mount if you feel energetic and/or have a soak at the hot water baths at the foot of the Mount. Local buses will take you into Tauranga itself.

 

Napier is famous for it's art deco buildings. The shuttle bus drops you off at the information centre. You can just ramble around on your own (the info centre may supply a handout on what to look for) or join a walking tour. The esplanade area is pleasant to walk along too. 

 

Wellington - take a ride on the cable car, maybe explore the botanical gardens. Visit the Te Puia museum. The Zealandia ecosanctuary gets good reviews although I haven't been there myself. 

 

Akaroa - stroll through the small village and visit the Giants House. Swim with dolphin tours are usually offered on the wharf.

 

Dunedin. Although you can just take a shuttle bus into the city this is one port where an excursion is usually a good idea. The Taieri Gorge train ride is very good. Otherwise do a tour up the peninsula to the albatross sanctuary, penguin place and Larnach's Castle.

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I was just coming in to say almost exactly what OzKiwiJJ has said so I will just endorse her post!  I can recommend the art deco society walking tour, very interesting.

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Tauanga port-there is a lovely walk around Mount Maunganui-not far from the ship. worth doing

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In Wellington my husband is doing the quad biking and I will be on my own.  Am I able to do the cable car, museum and Zealandia sanctuary on my own or should I book a tour?

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Auckland.. Definitely.. 

 

Nice city to walk around and have a cup of coffee... The port is just literally beside the city! 

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The cable car ride to the Botanical gardens is very easy to do on your own.  It's a lovely garden; nice walk back to the ship from the top too.

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On 11/2/2018 at 11:07 PM, Tommy_dbt said:

Auckland.. Definitely.. 

 

Nice city to walk around and have a cup of coffee... The port is just literally beside the city! 

Yes it is an amazing place. Flew to Auckland and had a night in hotel. Got the free bus into city and got off at post office and kept walking. Suddenly I screamed as I saw my ship almost in front of me ready for boarding. It was so close. A passer by said to my companion, " I guess she is going on the cruise ship" I was very excited. 

Google the free bus route. You can go up the big tower and even do a bungee jump.

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Re Wellington. Going there soon. We are going to get cable car up the top...then bus down to big church and shops after walking the botanical gardens. Exit near rose garden and bus on that street. 

Edited by magpie9

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We walked around the city itself as the weather was wet and windy in Wellington.  The department store of Kirkaldy & Stains was well worth a visit even if to just get out of the rain.  We also did the Funicular railway as well as the Maritime Museum, all worth it especially in wet weather and all within easy walking distance.

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A Day in Wellington for little money

 

There is a compulsory shuttle into the centre of the city which stops at the MIchael Fowler Centre where one can find the Tourist Information Centre.  5 minutes walk from the bust stop is Te Papa museum a modern interactive museum where one could spend a couple of hours or a day. Coffee shops are also at Te Papa. A 15 minute walk back towards the city takes one to the Cable car up to Kelburn. It is about a 10 - 15 minute ride up the hill. At the top of the cable car is the cable car museum to while away another 15 - 20 minutes. If the weather is fine one can stroll back down into the city via the botanical gardens which will bring one out beside Parliament buildings. Free tours of the complex are available during the day or one can sit in the gallery watching proceedings if Parliament is in session. A 15 - 20 minute walk back along Lambton Quay will bring one back to the MIchael Fowler CEntre where one can catch the shuttle back to the ship. The Cable car costs $5 one way and $9 retrun everything else is at no cost

Edited by Beanb41

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On 11/25/2018 at 3:27 AM, magpie9 said:

Re Wellington. Going there soon. We are going to get cable car up the top...then bus down to big church and shops after walking the botanical gardens. Exit near rose garden and bus on that street. 

 

As a previous poster also mentions - If you're mobile, taking the cable car up and then walking down is great. Gives you the botanical garden, good views, the cemetery, and some exercise before dropping you off around Parliament.

Edited by Zach1213

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Dunedin.

 

There is now a ferry which runs from Port Chalmers to Portobello on the other side of the harbour.

A family member caught it today, and then caught the bus back for the scenic drive to the Octagon. 

The original plan was to visit Glenfalloch for an hour and catch the next bus, but due to timings decided just to stay on the bus.

 

Reported as a nice day out.

They also do cruises & wildlife tours on the Otago Peninsula.

 

Google port to port Dunedin and you will find their website.

Edited by Tranquility Base

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On 11/4/2018 at 2:15 AM, laurieb said:

The cable car ride to the Botanical gardens is very easy to do on your own.  It's a lovely garden; nice walk back to the ship from the top too.

Hi was this in Auckland. Thanks

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Wellington and Auckland are easymplaces to arrive, wonder around and find things to do. In the smaller ports I recommend you pre book tours 👍 

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We did a similar cruise last year on the Celebrity Solstice, most ports we did DIY with the exception of Tauranga.  I did a detailed photo review with directions of most everything we did if that helps:

 

here's a link:  https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2487796-photo-review-of-solstice-november-11-2017-new-zealand-amp-australia-cruise/

 

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We did all ports we visited, except for Tauranga, on our own. We wanted to go to Hobbiton so booked our own tour there with Zealandier. I blogged about our cruise and what we did. I hope it helps with some ideas. The blog link goes from last stop backwards.

 

https://tanyastravelblog.wordpress.com/category/cruises/2017-sun-princess-fiordland-national-park-dunedin-akaroa-wellington-napier-auckland-tauranga/

 

Edited by tsutt35

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Thank you for the wealth of information in this thread. We're going in less than 3 weeks! (HAL Noordam from Sydney to Auckland).

Have a lot of homework to do and need to book any tours quickly as it's just around the corner.

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We went 2 years ago and Wellington is great on your own but take the cable car early, it gets hot quickly and then walk dowb and visit the museum on the shore ( Te papa).  In Dunedin you have to take the ship's shuttle in town, 10 km and dangerous walk, nice stores and book the train to the gorges in advance. Akaroa , we took a viator tour to Christchurch, was not interesting. Taraunga, we walked to the mountain and climbed it, wonderful.  In Bay of Islands we visited the treaty grounds then went by free shuttle to the little town of Pahia.

So all easy except Dunedin, shuttle essential.

 

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