Shore Excursions for Every Traveler - South Island

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Taking a New Zealand and Australia cruise? Then we have got some tips on what you can see and do on land in the South Island.

Whether you are swimming with the world’s smallest dolphin in Akaroa or discovering the Scottish heritage of Dunedin, the South Island offers a vast array of exciting shore excursions for cruise passengers. Enjoy wildlife, history, amazing scenery, coastal walks, train journeys and 4WD adventures; meet the friendly locals and experience our famous kiwi hospitality. Heading ashore on the South Island a must!

From Picton and Marlborough Sounds

  • Visit the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre in Blenheim, a 25 minute drive from Picton, where the stories of pioneer aviation heroes of WW1 are brought to life.
  • A good way to see the Marlborough Sounds is to hire a kayak and get out on the water. For those who want to stay dry, walking or cycling part of the Queen Charlotte Track is a good option. Bikes can be hired from tourism companies in Picton.
  • Visitors can take a boat cruise to learn about the Marlborough Sounds and visit a Greenshell Mussell farm. Greenshell Mussels are native to New Zealand and grow well in the sheltered sounds.
  • Visit one of Picton’s waterfront cafés or join a wine tour to taste some of the regions world-famous Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Picton tourism operator’s offer dolphin cruises and dolphin-swimming experiences.

From Christchurch, Lyttelton and Akaroa

  • View penguins, learn about the icy continent, experience 4D Theatre and ride an all-terrain Hagglund Antarctic vehicle at the Antarctic Centre.
  • Akaroa mixes French colonial architecture with art galleries and modern cafés. It’s also home to the world’s smallest and rarest species of dolphin – the Hector’s dolphin.
  • Jet boat on the Waimakariri River or take a white water rafting trip to the Rangitata River.
  • Relax on a small wooden punting boat as an Edwardian punter glides you down the Avon River, past Christchurch’s botanic gardens.
  • Take a ride on the iconic TranzAlpine train journey to Arthurs Pass in the stunning Southern Alps.
  • The Willowbank Wildlife Reserve houses a variety of New Zealand wildlife, including the kiwi bird. A simulated Māori village provides a unique cultural experience.

From Dunedin and Port Chalmers

  • Central Dunedinis a treasure trove of architectural gems. Tours are also available to Larnach Castle, built by a merchant baron in 1871, and historic Olveston House, built between 1904 and 1906.
  • Visitors can indulge in tours of the Speights Brewery and Cadbury World chocolate factory. Tours include tasting sessions, of course.
  • Climb Baldwin Street, the world’s steepest street.
  • A trip on the historic Taieri Gorge Railway allows travelers to see the scenic Taieri Gorge. The journey includes refreshments and cruise passengers can board the train at Port Chalmers.
  • Dunedin’s Otago Peninsula is home to a colony of yellow-eyed penguins, the world’s only mainland breeding colony of the royal albatross, and other wildlife, including New Zealand fur seals and rare Hooker’s sea lions.

From Fiordland

FiordlandNational Park is the largest National Park in New Zealand and a World Heritage site. It’s a place where jagged peaks rise up from the water’s edge and waterfalls can be seen tumbling hundreds of meters into virgin forest. These scenic riches, combined with an abundance of wildlife such as seals, penguins and dolphins, has made Fiordland one of New Zealand’s most famous destinations.

Milford , Doubtful and Dusky Sound

Most cruise ships visiting Fiordland travel to the fiords of Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound or Dusky Sound allowing passengers to enjoy the varied scenery. Most cruise ship stopovers in Fiordland do not include shore excursions.

Can’t fit it all in?

No worries! Why not stick around for a few extra days before or after your cruise and extend your New Zealand experience? Check out some ideas for pre or post cruise itineraries

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