Go ashore and explore cultural and historical richness of Australia and New Zealand, urges Tiana Templeman
New shore excursions that venture off the beaten path and tours led by specialist guides ensure you will find something new to do on your next Australia or New Zealand cruise.
Take a trip to Little River at Akaroa
Even if you know New Zealand well, you may not have heard of Little River. This pretty Banks Peninsula town is home to a thriving community of artists and painters. On the Little River Tour you can chat with the artists as you browse their work and explore a historic railway station that has been converted into an artisan market.
Discover Aboriginal culture at Tjapukai
Traditional dance, stories and demonstrations bring the world's oldest culture to life during this half-day excursion to Tjapukai Cultural Park in Cairns. Listen to Dreamtime stories, discover the complex technique required to play a didgeridoo, gain an understanding of the medicinal values of native plants and learn about Aboriginal hunting methods and tribal law.
Enjoy a taste of Scotland in Dunedin
Discover why Dunedin is known as the "Edinburgh of the South" on Princess Cruises' Scottish Dunedin tour. This unique adventure explores the city's Scottish connections and explains why many locals still speak with a slight Scottish burr. Highlights include a traditional Scottish Highland dancing demonstration, a haggis ceremony and a visit to beautiful Glenfalloch Woodland Gardens, which were established in the 1870s. You'll return to the ship with a certificate commemorating your Scottish visit.
Uncover Australia's convict history
Step back in time at the historic penal colony of Port Arthur near Hobart, where more than 12,000 convicts served their time between 1830 and 1877. This beautiful open-air museum is deeply moving, and remains one of Australia's most compelling historic attractions. The Port Arthur Explorer tour includes a scenic cruise to Port Arthur and gripping storytelling that reveals historic details about the site, the prison staff and the convicts who were incarcerated there.
Exclusive guided tour of Auckland Museum
If you've ever wished a museum would open early so you could enjoy it minus the crowds, the City Drive & Auckland Museum tour is for you. On this trip, the grand neo-classically designed building overlooking Waitemata Harbour opens early for passengers who have booked this exclusive tour. It is a joy to wander the displays in peace, with a knowledgeable guide by your side to lead the way.
Explore the Hunter Valley food and wine trail
This picturesque tour takes a trip to the Hunter Valley, one of Australia's most beautiful and oldest wine regions. Even better, the famous vineyards are only 45 minutes from the port, which means less driving and more imbibing. Along with plenty of beer and wine tasting, there's cheese sampling at Binnorie Dairy and a leisurely lunch with matched wines at an acclaimed local restaurant.
Don't miss the new episode of Travel podcast Trip Notes, out on Tuesday. This special episode gives an in-depth run-down of everything you need to know about cruise holidays. Find it at iHeartRadio, or wherever you get your podcasts.