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Home > Member Reviews > RohanBoat's Port Reviews of Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin

RohanBoat's Port Reviews of Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin
Sun Princess cruise in December 2011
Member Name: RohanBoat
Cruise Date: December 2011
Embarkation: other
Destination: Australia & New Zealand
Member Review: RohanBoat's Sun Princess Review
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
This was the only rainy day we experienced on the whole cruise and our day in Auckland was a great experience. The ship berths adjacent to the CBD and it's only two or three blocks walk into the main shopping strip in Queen Street. After a few hours looking around the shops we walked up to Sky Tower to get a good look at the city. We decided to do the high tea for NZ$30 each which included admission up the tower. The tower entry is about NZ$25 so the high tea package in the revolving restaurant was good value. We had to wait for about an hour for a table as we hadn't booked but they had decent free Wi-Fi and we amused ourselves in the shop on the lower level which had plenty of motion picture artifacts from Lord of the Rings and Avatar etc. The lifts up the tower to the restaurant (187m from memory) only take about 18 seconds. The view was amazing and although it was still raining we could see to the horizon. We were served our drinks but for some reason, our food wasn't served but all the tables that were seated after us were munching away. After about 40 minutes I politely complained and about 10 minutes later the cakes and sandwiched appeared, beautifully presented and delicious. The manager very kindly discounted the fee to only NZ$15 (AU$11.50 approx) each for the trouble. We then went down one floor to the observation deck with the glass floors to take some more pictures then headed back to the ship, a casual 10 minute walk. We had a quick look in The Ice Bar on the wharf but decided not to go in as it wasn't cheap for 4 of us and we weren't too sure about the ship's departure time. P&O are really clear about 'last person aboard' times, but nobody on Sun Princess even mentioned it when we disembarked earlier in the day. Auckland has a magnificent harbor, not too different to Sydney but more spread out. I went for an hour long jog around deck 7 during departure so I got a really good look at the harbor.

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Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Wow, a beautiful city. I can see why it's often compared to San Francisco or Vancouver. The large harbor is surrounded by hills and mountains covered by leafy suburbs. It appears that every house would have incredible views! It's easy to imagine being there in winter with a dusting of snow on the distant peaks. The ship docked adjacent to Westpac Stadium, only a km or two from the CBD. I believe that some people walked into town, it didn't look far but it may have been an indirect route getting in and out of port security. The bus fare into town was NZ$5 each way per person, so it would have cost us NZ$40 (AU$31 approx). We opted for a cab which ended up being about NZ$16 in and NZ$18 back (about AU$26) without the waiting. Two representatives from the local cab company were at the wharf, the called it for us and were very friendly and helpful with ideas on what to do. I'd read a few cruise reviews about catching the cable-car up to the lookout and then walking back down through he botanical gardens, which we did. The cab dropped us right outside the cable-car terminal (sort of in the foyer of an office block/arcade) in Lambton Quay. The fair was only NZ$3.50 each for the 5 minute ride up the hill. At the top we took a few photos of the view of this glorious city, had a quick look around the cable-car museum (free) and then decided to walk back into the CBD though the gardens. A guide from the botanical gardens was handing out maps and giving directions. The pathway down was quite steep but very picturesque. The gardens are superb, very European in the design and species. There were plenty of vantage points again for more pictures as we made our way down to the Lady Norwood Rose Garden. We had plenty of fun here as the fountain is full of crazy ducks, ducklings and pigeons! More photo/video opps! It was interesting to see an historic cemetery overlooking the CBD in the gardens. We crossed over the freeway and back into the CBD to the beehive (Parliament House) where we caught a cab back to the wharf (a few sore knees in our group)! The weather was beautiful again, sunny and cool with a slight breeze. I spent an hour or so on the top deck for a nap in the sunshine and cool breeze. It's also a very pleasant and picturesque sail-away from Wellington and out into Cook Strait. I couldn't recall how wide the Strait was so it was interesting to see the South Island in the distance as we left the harbor mouth.
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Port Rating: 0.0 out of 5+
The ship berths about 10 kms north of the city at Port Chalmers. Apart from it being a significant container port, the town and surrounding hills are ..... once again, very pretty (notice a trend!). You could easily just walk around Port Chalmers and up some hills to vantage points but like most people, we used the buses into Dunedin which were only NZ$10 each return. The trip into the CBD takes about 15 minutes along the pretty estuary, lots of green rolling hills, fir and poplar trees etc. After a quick lap of a few block the bus drops passengers in the heart of the CBD in the Octagon (square). They clearly advised that the last bus leaves from the same point at 5:00 pm. We saw a sign showing directions to the iSite but when I couldn't find it I asked a police officer who politely told me where to go! We grabbed a free map at the iSite shop (they love giving away free maps) and walked around the corner to Cadbury World. We spoke to some people we knew from the cruise who were leaving CW after doing one of the tours. They said it wasn't anything spectacular, especially if you've seen a chocolate factory before. So we went inside the shop, bought some stuff (it was actually very cheap) and then wandered around the displays detailing the history of the factory, the chocolate making process and watched all the animated puppets etc. Perhaps this is what you get with the short tour and we simply walked right in! Anyhow, another fine moment was actually eating a Moro bar (not easy to find in Australia, but my favorite) in the actual factory. We then wandered around the corner down to the train station, very impressive with the historic Celtic architecture. Had a quick look around the inside of the train station, very ornate with plenty of stained glass etc but not quite the size grand central! Then we wandered back to the octagon and had a quick look at the markets. There was an amazing soap stall, all the soaps looked and smelled like real cakes! We walked up George Street to find a decent NZ quality rain jacket. In one of the stores we heard on the radio that Christchurch had just had another quake measuring 5.8, a bit scary as we were about 30 kms away from it yesterday. Hurried back to the Octagon (we weren't spooked!) to get the bus back to Port Chalmers. Even the security guy who gets on the bus at the port to check IDs and passports etc was having a laugh with the passengers, they all seem very chilled out and chatty in NZ. A highland band was on the wharf to pipe the Sun Princess away. Departure up the estuary out to see was very serene and magical, cars sounding their horns and people waving from the coast roads as the ship went past, people on beaches waving and shouting 'Merry Christmas'!

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