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Best time to visit New Zealand

New Zealand Cruises

Get the ultimate "Lord of the Rings" experience while cruising along New Zealand

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Last updated: by Nataliia Chaika
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If you’re going to New Zealand for the first time, cruising might be the perfect way to explore the huge country. You’ll be able to move along the 9,320 miles (15,000 km) of coastline, witnessing New Zealand’s breathtaking nature. Cruising around this country won’t give you the paradisal vibe, but you are surely guaranteed a “Lord of the Rings” ambiance and cozy memories.

About New Zealand

New Zealand is known as the land of fjords, glaciers, and waterfalls. The country has one of the world's most mystical characters, attracting millions of tourists each year. Visitors can sail along magnificent sweeping vistas, take Pinterest-like photos against rainbow-lit backdrops, get soaked by one of the many spectacular waterfalls, or get out of the ship and enjoy authentic local culture on the ground. You should also know that, roughly speaking, the country is divided into two parts: North Island and South Island. The North Island is very crowded, featuring millions of residents and the nation’s biggest cities, including the capital, Wellington. South Island has a rather chill vibe, offering wide spaces and expansive views of the fjords, geysers, mountains, and lakes. The South Island has all the fairytale conditions you think of when “cruising in New Zealand” comes to mind.

The best time to visit

When planning a trip to New Zealand, keep in mind that the winter and summer months are mixed up. For example, in the country, December through February are considered summer, and vice versa, winter falls on June through August. As for cruising through New Zealand’s waters, the best time to do it is during southern summer–in other words, in December, January, and February. Although the cruising season starts in October and ends in April, it is during New Zealand’s summer that temperatures are comfortable enough to stay outside (the average max temperature is 80°F). Keep in mind that it gets colder as you travel south of New Zealand, so if you’re scared of the cold, it might be a good idea to opt for tours to the North Island. In July, there is zero cruising in the country.

Popular routes

Most New Zealand cruises depart from Australian ports, like Melbourne and Sydney. These voyages are usually roundtrips. However, there are also one-way options to Australia from Auckland or vice versa. The normal duration of the trip is around ten days, but you can go on a shorter adventure–about four days. Roundtrips normally include stops by the most famous New Zealand ports, such as Wellington, Tauranga, and Dunedin. If you go on a longer voyage, you’ll most likely stop by the Bay of Islands, Fiordland, Napier, and Picton. Cruises around New Zealand also include stops by Pacific Aria.

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