Over the past couple of months Julie and I have been doing our research to work out the best way to see the various ports in New Zealand in one day each. That’s not an easy task but thankfully we like much of the same things. From past experience some will book out quickly once they come available so we were ready to go. We are not booking shore excursions in each port so we will also have some free time and not be rushed down the gangway each day.
We have booked –
Dunedin – Taieri Gorge Railway
As one of the world’s great train journeys, this was top of our list. Sit back and take it all in through panoramic windows as we cross magnificent stone and wrought iron viaducts and bridges, and gasp at the sheer drops to the river below. Plunge into ten tunnels with the schist rock walls only inches from the side of the train. Disembark at points of interest to take photographs and enjoy morning tea, a light picnic lunch served along the way with continuous refreshments and take in the open-air viewing platforms.
Travel in the comfort of vintage or contemporary carriages, as you experience an amazing variety of landscapes of the city, farmland, forests and the wild Taieri River Gorge. Taieri Gorge Railway carriages are fully enclosed and have heating. Trains include heritage carriages dating back to the 1920s and featuring opening sash windows, wooden trim; and/or panorama carriages featuring panoramic windows. The trains are pulled by classic 1960s DJ diesel electric locomotives.
Akaroa morning – Harbour Nature Cruise
Step aboard a comfortable catamaran in search of an array of intriguing marine wildlife. Watch for the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin, the Hector dolphin with their rounded dorsal fin, sloping forehead, and distinctive black, white and grey coloring. Also spot the New Zealand Fur Seal on a one and a half hour cruise.
Akaroa afternoon – Scenic Akaroa by Double Decker Bus
Enjoy a sightseeing tour around Akaroa and the spectacular Banks Peninsula area while riding on board out beautifully restored 1960’s London Routemaster Double Decker Bus. You will get to enjoy the old world charm while riding on board these iconic London buses. You will learn about the fascinating geology as well as the fascinating Maori, French and British history of the area. We will make a photostop on the way to the Hilltop Cafe where you will be able to take a photo of your ship in Akaroa Harbour and purchase refreshments.
Napier – Hawke’s Bay Express
On board the Hawkes Bay Express, you’ll connect with Napier’s character in a way you never thought possible. It’s a modern road train that’s styled like an old-fashioned steam engine, but it travels on road, not rail, so you can get up close and personal with the city and the region. Inside, you’ll find a romantic, old-time atmosphere straight out of the opulent Art Deco era. Tour the sights of the city and surrounds.
Bay of Islands – Island and Cave Cruise
This spectacular tour takes you out on an exciting boat ride into the Bay of Islands, and around to the wilder, seaward side of the outer islands. Here, you will explore deep caves, view majestic island cliffs and stop off at one of the bay’s best islands. The vessel’s special hull shape allows you to get up close to the beaches and cliffs. During your adventure, enjoy a short stopover at one of the beautiful islands to explore on your own. The return cruise passes the sheltered inner-island beaches, including Army Bay, Waewaetoria Island, and the stunning jewel in the Bay’s crown-Roberton Island.
Almost each one will also allow us some free time to explore on our own as well.