When we were in New Zealand 2 years ago on the Diamond Princess, we did a fantastic trip in Dunedin called the Taiiri Gorge Railway, well worth a try. other places we did our own thing. I think you can do that trip also on your own from the Dunedin railway station.
I am thinking of doing this trip independantly, but the cost of the taxi from the Port and return exceeds that of the train fare! Do RCI run shuttle busses and if so would that be an alternative for me?
We did this trip in January/February this year on Mercury we had a great time. The weather in Sydney was appalling very heavy rain so we went on a Captain Cook cruise around the various harbours and the weather improved and by the time we got back it was sunny. We were berthed immediaitely opposite the Sydney Opera House and our balcony view was fantastic. In Melbourne we did the Restuarent Tramcar ride it is the only one in the world where they serve you food and drinks and plenty of it, but the trip is not cheap but we were glad we did it. Part of the trip included a visit to the Rialto Tower with an amazing 360 degree viewing platform with views all over Sydney and when we were there it was the Australian Open Tennis Tournament and you could see the Rod Laver Stadium from the viewing area. We did a sheep shearing and sheep dog trials; visited a Kiwi fruit farm; an Oyster farm finally a couple of vineyards in New Zealand. We loved New Zealand, very much like Scotland and on the visits most of the times it was the boss who took you around not just a visitor guide. We found the New Zealanders much more friendly than the Australians and if you want to see some of the views have a look at http://billblyth.co.uk and click on Australia/New Zealand crusie 2008.
Make sure you sign up for the Meet&Mingle hosted by RCI. Good way to communicate with your fellow passengers before you cruise and you may find recommendations about shore ex to share. So if you go to the royalcaribbean.com website , then click on Contact us > FAQs > then under the On Board section you will find the link at the bottom for M&M.
Don't forget to get your Australian visa on line before you go otherwise you ain't going no where....
Any excursion to Rotorua is a must but if you are going to The Bay Of Islands, just chill out on the waterfront. We did this cruise 4 years ago and all the excursions offered by the cruise Line (NCL) were interesting.
Take one that includes a pig roast, just for the fun of it.
HI I live in Nelson, New Zealand which is at the top of the South Island .If you can let me know what ports you are going too and how long you are in these ports would be happy to offer some suggestions. Jan, Feb is right in our summer and hopefully you will have good settled weather. Wherever you go and what ever you do you will love New Zealand. Google the places you are visiting i have found this helpful when planning overseas trips.
If you are visiting Auckland you can't go far wrong by taking a ticket for the hop on hop off bus around Auckland, some lovely little places to stop off ie. Parnell Village,(Lovely coffee/chocolate shop there) The Church that was moved from one side of the road to another then on to the Victoria Market, or a trip on the ferry to Davenport, or the day trip to Rotorua - really you are spoilt for choice, but if it is your first time in Auckland I would suggest the day bus ticket because it is surprising how much you can see - we will be there in March on the P & O Aurora.
Enjoy your trip Smith, Bridgend.
If your trip takes in Tasmania and you like wildlife, visit the wildlife park there. Lots of koalas, kangaroos, walabies and the more unusal animals, found only in that part of the world. I got to stroke a Tasmanian Devil, which I wouldn't have thought possible. The journey through Millford Sound en route to Melbourne was AMAZING, and i've never seen so many dolphins. Also saw pilot whales, and an albatros flew beside our ship without moving a wing for two days. The scenery all around N Z is beautiful, and everywhere was lean and friendly. Enjoy!
I haven't actually been cruising round New Zealand, but spent three months in New Zealand last winter - their summer. I would definitely recommend Napier on the east cost of North Island, especially if you are there for the Art Deco weekend, which is the middle of February. It is fantastic - thousands of vintage cars, people dredded up in 30s gear, free entertainment from Friday to Sunday, including bands playing, dancing in the streets etc. We loved it. Another area worth visiting is the Bay of Islands, although there was a tropical storm when we were there, Paihia is a very pretty little place. We also found the Ninety-Mile Beach up to Cape Reinga in the far north of the North Island most interesting. In the South Island, a place we liked very much was Kaikoura, where they do whale-watching.