A Guide to Cruise Holidays in New Zealand


Despite its size, New Zealand is one of the most beloved holiday destinations on the planet, and regularly tops global destination short lists.

With epic, Middle Earth-esque landscapes, cosmopolitan cities and some of the best beaches on earth – this is one destination that should be high on your to-visit list.

If you’re interested in travelling to New Zealand on a cruise holiday and are looking for some tips and advice on the best places to visit – Cruise1st Australia are here to help with our handy guide to cruise holidays in New Zealand. From popular ports to general travel advice, you can find out all you need to know to plan a dream trip to New Zealand.

Popular Ports

As an island nation comprising two separate islands, New Zealand – naturally – has a multitude of ports, dock and harbours. Usually, round-trip sailings from Australia call at two to three ports per island – here are three of the most popular ports you can expect to visit on your New Zealand cruise break.


Image sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Jaafar Alnasser

No trip to New Zealand would be complete without a visit to Auckland, the country’s largest, most vibrant metropolis. Luckily for you, most Australian round-trip cruises to New Zealand almost always stop off in Auckland, so you can spend the day exploring this beautiful city. Renowned for its culture, nightlife and retail opportunities, Auckland has a number of must-see landmarks and attractions – including Ponsonby, Queen Street and Viaduct Basin. Those with a head for heights will relish the 360-degree panoramic views offered atop Sky Tower – the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere. 


Image sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Brett Taylor

Considering it’s the capital of New Zealand, Wellington is curiously compact – but no less attractive, exciting and cosmopolitan. What the city lacks in size, it more than makes up for in beauty, with a raft of tree-lined hills surrounding the city’s waterfront promenade. Wellington is famous for its charming, weatherboard houses as well as its Art Deco style structures such as the Wellington Free Ambulance headquarters. Should your cruise liner pay a visit to the city, be sure to visit the Museum of Wellington City & Sea and ride the famous Wellington Cable Car.


Image sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Robert Young

The name Akaroa is derived from the Māori term for ‘Long Harbour’ – which makes reference to this small town’s expansive harbour. Located on the Banks Peninsula, in the Canterbury Region of New Zealand’s South Island, Akaroa is a small, coastal town whose harbour is large enough to allow large ocean liners to dock easily. Should your cruise ship dock in this attractive town, you’re in for a real treat. Surrounded by stunning mountain scenery and with several accessible beauty walks nearby, Akaroa is the perfect destination in which to begin your love affair with New Zealand’s stunning countryside.


Frequently voted as the world’s favourite holiday hotspot, New Zealand has no-end of destinations you simply won’t want to miss on a cruise holiday. Here, we look at five of New Zealand’s best-loved destinations to offer a glimpse of what you can expect on a trip to this exquisite country.

Bay of Islands

Image sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Ken Smith

Renowned for its fantastic fishing and exquisite natural beauty, the Bay of Islands is a network of 144 islands on the northern tip of New Zealand’s North Island. Made up of islands, inlets and peninsulas, this beautiful corner of the country is a popular tourist destination, and is thought to have some of the bluest, clearest skies on the planet. Whether you want to lounge on the exquisite beaches of Cape Reinga or enjoy a private day sail through some of the Bay’ lesser-known isles – this is a must-see destination on any New Zealand cruise break.

Don’t Miss: Swim with dolphins in the Bay of Islands on an Explore excursion


Image sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Megan Coughlin

For fans of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings franchise, a trip to New Zealand’s Fiordland is an absolute must – think towering, snow-capped peaks, babbling streams and dense, uninhabited woodlands that are reminiscent of Middle Earth. Fiordland is situated on New Zealand’s Southern Island, and can be accessed from a number of ports of call, including Dunedin, Invercargill and Jamestown. Rudyard Kipling once described the Fiordland National Park as the 8th Wonder of the World – we can see why.

Don’t miss: Take in Fiordland’s exquisite natural beauty on horseback with an unforgettable horseback trek.


Image sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: John Ted Daganato

Renowned for its Art Deco architecture and vineyard heritage, the seaport of Napier is a popular tourist destination that offers a charming place to while away an hour or two on your New Zealand cruise holiday. After the town was rocked by an earthquake in 1931, the town was rebuilt from the ground up in a style that’s true to the era – making it one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in the world. In 2007, Napier was nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – making it the first cultural site in New Zealand to be nominated for the status.

Don’t Miss: A wine tasting experience in one of Napier’s surrounding vineyards.


Image sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Abaconda

Situated on the Bay of Plenty, Tauranga is the fifth largest city in New Zealand, and plays host to the country’s largest and most efficient port. Take a trip to New Zealand from Australia, and chances are you’ll find yourself in this wonderful, water-locked city. Thought to be one of NZ’s most cultural urban areas, Tauranga is teeming with things to see and do and boasts some of the country’s best beaches – including Mount Maunganui Beach, which is regularly voted among the best beaches on the North Island.


Image sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: russellstreet

Those seeking sanctuary on the north east coast of New Zealand will appreciate the tranquillity of Picton – a small, coastal town surrounded by towering, emerald mountains. Wrapped around a turquoise bay, this charming town is popular with divers thanks to its crystal waters and accessible shipwrecks. Should you be staying in Picton for a full day, book an excursion to the surrounding countryside. Picton is described as the gateway to the Marlborough Sounds – a vast region of natural wonders just waiting to be discovered.

General Advice

If you’re adamant New Zealand is the destination for you, here’s some general tips and advice on how to make the most of your cruise to this enchanting country.

Inland Exploration: Thanks to its relatively small size, it’s easy to explore inland areas of New Zealand during your cruise. The best methods of doing so are by bus excursions, which depart from the country’s main ports. Other methods include hiring a rental car, but this will need to be pre-booked in advance.

Weather: New Zealand’s weather is a fickle beast – so it pays to be prepared. Whilst summer months usually offer warm temperatures, rain is never far away and some areas – such as the Fiordland – are chillier than at the coast. Pack waterproof clothing, as well as extra layers, to safeguard against NZ’s temperamental climate.

Pre-Book Popular Tours: Since Peter Jackson filmed much of the Lord of the Rings trilogy in New Zealand – the country has seen a significant boom in tourism. To accommodate this growing demand, several tour operators now offer Lord of the Rings tours, where you can visit some of the locations from the movies. If you’re interested in taking such a tour, be sure to book well in advance, as they prove extremely popular.

Cruise1st Australia Holidays

At Cruise1st Australia, we work hard to bring you the very New Zealand cruise deals. Whether you want to explore the North Island, the South Island – or both – we can help you plan your dream trip to New Zealand. To give you a taste of what we can offer you, here are three of our most popular upcoming New Zealand cruises.

Australia And New Zealand

From Sydney to Wellington, Akaroa and Doubtful Sound – explore the beauty of Southern New Zealand with this unforgettable 17-night cruise.

Departing: 25th February 2016, Sydney

Price: AUS$1802pp

Click here to find out more

Australia and New Zealand with The Indian Pacific

Departing Fremantle and stopping in Adelaide and Melbourne before travelling to Dusky Sound, Dunedin and Picton in New Zealand – this luxury, 22-night cruise break lets you explore the best of Australia and New Zealand.

Departing: 9th March 2016, Fremantle

Price: AUS$3899pp

Click here to find out more

Royal Caribbean Australia and New Zealand

Discover the beauty of Southern New Zealand and Western Australia with this unforgettable 20-night cruise – which includes a luxury hotel stay in Sydney.

Departing: 21st February 2016, Fremantle

Click here to find out more

Price: AUS$3999

For more information on our New Zealand cruise holidays, visit the Cruise1st Australia website or call our team today on 1300 857 345.

Images Sourced Via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: Sid Mosdell, Jaafar Alnasser, Brett Taylor, Robert Young, Ken Smith, Megan Coughlin, John Ted Daganato, Abaconda, russellstreet


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