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Thursday, September 19, 2013

New Zealand: From All Angles

The last few weeks I've been planning my end of year family holiday and what to do when the cruise ship Voyager of the Seas docks in New Zealand. We are going to 3 ports Auckland, Tauranga and Wellington and in true form I've been madly organising what to do to get the most out of our day in port.
I've been to NZ twice before, once on a cruise ship the Oriana and visited 2 ports Christchurch and Auckland. Then years later I did a 2 week Contiki tour of both North and South Islands and saw heaps of the beautiful NZ country. This will be my third time and again arriving on a cruise ship the Voyager of the Seas, we will be visiting 3 different ports and I can't wait to explore this beautiful country again.
Royal Caribbean - Voyager of the Seas
I like to think outside the box and do things a little different on holidays, I don't like to book all the same city sights tours I like to experience places from different angles by doing different adventures. This is what I have planned for the NZ stop overs ....
Auckland - I'm a wine lover I really enjoy going to wineries and doing tastings and trying different wines. I'm also a fan of New Zealand wines we stock quite a few here in Australia, my favourite is Oyster Bay. So that has led me to book a full day wine tour for the day in Auckland just for Mr P and I to spend the day together we'll catch a ferry over to Waiheke Island and spend the day visiting wineries, beer tasting, it's going to be heaps of fun.

Mudbrick Vineyard on Waiheke Island
Tauranga - This is going to be a family day and I've booked a private tour bus that will seat up to 11 people. We have our own van and tour guide to take us wherever we'd like to go for the whole day which means we can move at our own pace, stop for photos if we see something we want to visit, no crazy long lines or waiting for others who lose track of time. This is going to be a really action packed day seeing the sights of Tauranga and exploring Rotorua with it's geysers and boiling mud, Maori culture, Kiwi fruit orchid, Forest, Waterfall, Lakes and so much more!
Te Puia in Rotorua - Gateway to the thermal valley
Wellington - Oh Wellington you windy city you! We are going to do our own thing in Wellington and catch the local bus around, this will give us a relaxing day moving at our own pace. A trip to the free Te Papa Museum and a Cable Car ride up to the gardens is on the to do list. I'd also like to check out Cuba Street with it's trendy cafes for a coffee (or a cocktail!) and some last minute shopping.
Cable Car and view over Wellington city and harbour

I think these ventures are a good mix with a large tour group, a private tour and a do it yourself tour. We're seeing the best of what NZ has to offer from wineries, boiling mud, culture, city and sights. And it's a good balance of family time and romantic time with Mr P .... It's going to be a fantastic holiday I can't wait!
Do you have any must see places or things to do in New Zealand?
I'd love to hear them!
[Images via 1, 2, 3, 4]
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  1. I don't have any for the places you're going, but we went to the South Island last October and a must see for ANYONE going to the South (I think) is Milford Sound. There are lots of 1/2 day trips, but we did an overnight trip on the Milford Mariner and it was the most amazing experience ever. I blogged about it here:
    x Aroha

    1. Yes Milford Sound is absolutely beautiful, although the memories of my overnight boat trip are a mixture of red wine and card games which was not a good mix I can tell you! Im off to check out your post right now!

  2. I love RC Caribbean cruise line! I have been on two of their cruises, I love planning all of the excursions for the ports. So fun! Enjoy! We are considering a Disney cruise this next year.

    1. This is my first Royal Caribbean cruise and Im so excited! Yes the planning what to do is the best bit for me too. That sounds like a lot of fun, I bet the kids would absolutely love that :)

  3. Michelle,

    Waiheke is a good choice - other places that are worth visiting include the Wynyard Quarter - within walking distance of your ship - it's funky with lots of nice eateries, there are also good eateries in the Britomart precinct - also in walking distance but in the other direction.

    If it's a nice day in Wellington I'd recommend going up Mt Victoria - just a short cab ride - the views back over the city from there are spectacular. To be honest I'd give Te Papa a miss but each to their own. A ferry trip over to Day's Bay on the other side of the harbour is also great on a good day.

    Hope you have a lovely time.

    PS I did a post some time ago on the top ten places in NZ that I have been to.

    1. Thanks so much for the tips Carole, Ill add those to my to do list. I agree, I will probably give Te Papa a miss I have been before but I thought the family might like it. I will go and check out your NZ post now :)

  4. This sounds like such a great trip! New Zealand is one of those places on my bucket list . . . well, I guess most places are on my bucket list, but NZ is one of those few places on Chris's list as well. Maybe one day . . .
    I hope you have a lovely time!


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