My family (2 A, 2C) will be taking a cruise from Sydney to NZ in Nov 2010 - the organised tours are extremely overpriced (ie over $850 Au for a day trip from Tauranga to Rotorua - entrance fees to attactions included)
We would like to do our own day trips to save money but also see things off the tourist track. ie instead of Rotorua's thermal tourist area we could head to one of the free walk around thermal parks.
Cities we will be visiting are - Dunedin, Christchurch(well the Peninsula at Arturoa), Wellington, Napier, Taurunga, Auckland and Bay of Islands.
We are restricted by time usually off ship by 9am back by 4pm so need day trips that we can do within that time without rushing.
Would appreciate suggestions from previous travellers or from locals.
There are many ways of travelling to those destinations, There are ways of still doing a tour, and being cheap but still giving you the tourist feel. The best way i would say would be a bus, you can use the Intercity Bus to Rotorua and chill out, take in the sights and walk in the parks check out the Spas! and then jump on a bus back, just need to make sure your on the right bus back before 4pm.
Things i would suggest in each area..
Bay of Island - Dolphin Swimming, Jet Boating, Maori Shows, Park walks
Auckland - Whale and Dolphin Safari, Rangitoto Island (a dormant volcano) Sailing on the American Boats, Kelly Tarltons an Underwater World, Harbour Bridge and Mt Eden
Tauranga - Make a trip to Rotorua, or climb the Mt Maunganui, walk along the beautiful beach
Napier - Has some of the most lovely wines, just place to just sit at a cafe and relax, also it is famous for the Dolphin Show.
Wellington - If you love LOTR there are so really great trips from Wellington, as well as city tours, Te Papa (A very famous museum) and shopping, Wellington has some of the best shops in New Zealand!
Christchurch - City tours, Maori shows, Gondola, Yaldhurst Museum of Transport and Science and the famous International Antarctic Centre.
Dunedin - there are museums, wildlife tours you can do here, like penguin spotting, but one thing i can highly must do, is the Cadbury Chocolate Factory!!
If you plan on doing one or any of them, you will need to pre-book just to make sure you have and space and to get back in time. You wont be able to do all of the activities, but you should be able to do one or two of them
I hope this was helpful, and i really hope you enjoy New Zealand when you come, there is so much to see and do, you and your family will love it here!! almost 10 years ago
Thank you Melesh.
You have given me heaps of options that I hadnt yet looked at - I did see the Cadbury factory and there is no way I'm missing that place (stuff the kids thats for me!! hehe)
I lived in NZ for a year when i was 8 and remember it like it was yesterday - so I cant wait to show my kids around - unfortunately we wont have time to do Glow Worm caves, Mt Taranaki or Kaikoira but theres always next time.
Its still a while away so if you think of anything else feel free to write again - and if I can help you with queries about Adelaide Australia please ask.
Pamela almost 10 years ago
Yael Gaffney: In July this year I visited Rotorua, and I also wasn't keen on paying a fortune to visit a "thermal park" (which apparently have timed geysers anyway). Kuirau Park which is right in the centre of town is free to visit and has boiling mud pools for you to marvel at!
The kids might really enjoy the luge in Rotorua - I know I did!! It's a bit like go-karting. http://www.skylineskyrides.co.nz/ almost 10 years ago