AUS and NZ Dopers -- What to do and see?

In January, the hubby and I are taking a cruise from Auckland to Sydney, with stops in Christchurch, Tauranga, Hobart, and Melbourne.

We’d rather not take the packaged tours the cruise line offers (well, except for the one in Sydney – clibming the Harbour Bridge), so if anyone has any suggestions for what to see or do in those cities, or even wants to get together for a micro-Dopefest, I’d appreciate it.


We were in Sydney about a month ago and you have to see the Taronga Zoo! You can buy the zoo package (something like $44 IIRC) and that includes a boat to and from the zoo. Make sure you check out the seal and bird shows which are twice-daily I think. For the seal show get there early to sit in the front row, and for the bird show anywhere is good (although based on the one we saw try to sit about 3/4 of the way up and have a $2 coin ready in your hand - you might get to be part of the show!)

In Auckland, hire a car, download a map and head over to the Waitakere Ranges. There’s bush walks to fantastic waterfalls signposted along the main road and you can turn off to several amazing beaches, including Karekare (where ‘The Piano’ was filmed) and Muruwai beach, which has a gannet colony just off shore that you could swear was lifted straight from a Japanese silk painting.

What day of the week will you be in Hobart? The Salamanca Markets (on a Saturday) are quite food fun. If you’re happy to hire a car and drive a bit outside Hobart then the trip out to Port Arthur is great from a historical perspective. Also the Tahune airwalk.

With a stopover in Christchurch, you’ll be disembarking at Lyttleton – so depending on how long your stopover is, you have a choice of either Christchurch itself (the central city area is very cool, lots to see) or Banks Peninsula and the French-themed town of Akaroa. If you can see both, I envy you now! :slight_smile:

Tauranga has some heritage sights and walks relatively close and part of the city area itself, which is right by the port. I enjoyed Taurang the last couple of times I was there. Both Tauranga and Christchurch have a good bus service, so you can see a good selection of the sights in a reasonable timeframe.