People often think that going on a vacation to Australia is like traveling to the ends of the earth, and with the variety of exotic animals, landscapes and plant life, this assumption isn't far off the mark. However, explorers who are looking to go further can actually push on to a destination that could be characterized as even more than Down Under - New Zealand.
Located to the southeast of Australia, this island nation is famous for its native kiwi birds, diverse and beautiful geography and friendly people. The thriving urban centers of Dunedin and Auckland are brimming with excitement and adventure. So if you're prepared to escape completely® on a New Zealand cruise that takes you to the farthest corner of the globe, look no further than Princess Cruises to get you there in style. Here are the top Auckland and Dunedin shore excursions to get you started.
Auckland Harbor and Bridge
Though it's no longer the capital of New Zealand, Auckland remains one of the country's largest and most impressive metropolitan areas. The city rests on an isthmus that grew over generations due to the nearly 60 volcanoes in the immediate vicinity. As you explore Auckland, you'll encounter a diverse array of boutique shops, lively bars, luxurious restaurants and cultural exhibits.
Perhaps the most iconic aspect of the Auckland skyline is the Harbor Bridge, a curving landmark that spans the blue waters of the Waitemata Harbor. Crossing the bridge will afford you spectacular views of the city along with images of beautiful yachts and smaller boats passing through the waters. From atop the structure, you'll also be able to spy Rangitoto Island, Devonport and the Waitakere Ranges.
The tallest building in the Southern hemisphere resides in Auckland. Standing 1,072 feet tall, the ultra-modern Sky Tower stretches far above the smaller skyscrapers crowding below it. For reference, that's also higher than Paris' iconic Eiffel Tower. It was finished in 1997 and took about two years to complete.
If you're looking to get to the top of the tower, hop on one of the building's three glass elevators that will take you to the Sky Deck observation point in a mere 40 seconds. From the Sky Deck, enjoy panoramic views of Auckland and see Leigh Peninsula in the north and the Bombay Hills in the south.
Taieri Gorge Railway
Dunedin traces its Scottish roots back generations, earning it the name the "Edinburgh of New Zealand." In fact, you'll find the nation's only kilt maker and whiskey distillery in the city along with a statue of famed Scottish poet Robert Burns.
Dunedin's history is also closely tied to the New Zealand gold rush of the 19th century, and you can explore this aspect of the city by hopping aboard the Taieri Gorge Railway, which dates back to the 1870s. Princess Cruises offers a shore excursion on historic railway, which departs from a station right next to your cruise ship. From here, you'll gain a first-hand look at the vintage carriage, tunnels and viaducts that prospectors used to unearth New Zealand's gold.
These must-try Dunedin and Auckland shore excursions are sure to enhance your itinerary. if you're ready to escape completely® on a New Zealand cruise, hop aboard a Princess Cruises ship that takes you to the exciting cities of Dunedin and Auckland.