>  Attractions   >  Cultural Australia & New Zealand shore excursions

With new shore excursions that venture off the beaten path, and tours led by specialist guides, you’re sure to find something new to do on your next Australia or New Zealand cruise. The following tours venture beyond the usual to explore the fascinating local history, thriving culinary scene, and rich indigenous culture which make these countries two of the world’s most sought after cruise destinations.

Hunter Valley food, wine and history

Take a trip to the Hunter Valley, one of Australia’s most beautiful and oldest wine regions, where history meets fine wine. These famous vineyards are only 45 minutes from the port which means less driving and more imbibing. Along with plenty of beer and wine tasting, you can enjoy cheese sampling at Binnorie Dairy and a leisurely lunch with matched wines at an acclaimed local restaurant.

Australian winery
Explore the Hunter Valley wine region

Discover Aboriginal culture at Tjapukai

Traditional dance, stories and demonstrations bring the world’s oldest culture to life during a 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 during this lively interactive tour.

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 open air museum is beautiful and deeply moving, and remains one of Australia’s most compelling and fascinating historic attractions. Some shore excursions include a scenic cruise with gripping storytelling that reveals historic details about the site, the prison staff and the convicts who were incarcerated here.

Port Arthur in Tasmania

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Enjoy a taste of Scotland in Dunedin

Discover why Dunedin is known as the ‘Edinburgh of the South’ on a Scottish themed tour which explores the city’s Scottish connections and explains why many locals still speak with a Scottish burr. Highlights include a Scottish Highland dancing demonstration, a haggis ceremony and a visit to Glenfalloch Woodland Gardens which were established in the 1870s.

Exclusive 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.

Auckland Museum
Explore the Auckland Museum

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 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. Nearby, the Little River Gallery and Café showcases artwork from New Zealand’s most famous artists.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.