The humble shore excursion – once a walk around the historic old city following a guide waving a red flag – has come a long way.
Suddenly, adventure is the name of the game. Lines like Royal Caribbean, Carnival, P&O and Princess offer some decidedly weird and wacky activities. Check out some of the most unusual shore excursions in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.
1. Canyoning in the Waitakere Ranges – Royal Caribbean
Cruisers who are looking for a bit of adventure can discover the rocky streams of the Waitakere Ranges on your port call to Auckland in New Zealand. The activity includes walking, swimming and sliding into bush pools. Plus, you can abseil your way though the woodland of the ranges. For more information, click here. The excursion is priced from AUD$265.65 for an adult and $223.54 for a child. For more information, click here.
2. Fiji Natural Thermal Mud Pool – Royal Caribbean
Try the therapeutic powers of Fiji’s natural thermal mud pool. For generations, the Fijians use the mud as a way to rejuvenate the skin. They rub it onto their skin and then wash it away in the hot thermal pool which leaves your skin smooth and flowing. Visitors will also take part in a traditional kava ceremony. The excursion is priced from AUD$139.65 for an adult and AUD$97.65 for a child. For more information, click here.
3. Rainforest & Plantation Trail Ride – Princess Cruises
Try a trail ride when you call at Vila in Vanuatu. Cruisers will take a coach to Club Hippique which is on a coconut plantation with more than 500 acres of hills, rainforests and white sandy beaches. Riding instructors will assess your skill level and provide you with a horse that’s appropriate for you. You’ll ride past lush rainforests and when your each the lagoon, you can even go in for a dip with your horse. The excursion is priced from AUD$114.95. For more information, click here.
4. Villa Pub Crawl – Princess Cruises
Port Villa is one of the liveliest party town in the South Pacific and this is a great opportunity to make friends. Cruisers will visit the island’s famous Vanuatu Brewing Company and try the Tusker Lager. You’ll get a voucher for each of the pubs you visit. And the an icy cool Gudfala Coconut which is a favourite local cocktail of freshly pickled green coconut and Malibu Caribbean Rum. The shore excursion is priced from AUD$114.95. For more information, click here.
5. Lord of the Rings & Weta Workshop Tour – Celebrity Cruises
For Lord of the Rings fans, this is a journey to the real Middle Earth in Wellington, New Zealand. The tour begins at the summit of Mount Victoria and continue to where the filming of the trilogy first started. Take a walk through the picturesque forest of the ‘Outer Shire’. Visit Weta Workshop, a mini-museum with original movie props and learn the many films they have worked on over the past 20 years. The shore excursion is priced from USD$115.75. For more information, click here.
6. Turtle Bay and Brush Island Boating Adventure – Celebrity Cruises
A local guide will take guests on a boat ride to view some of the exquisite marine life in the Isle of Pines in New Caledonia. You may even get the chance to swim with some sea turtles. Cruises will also get to visit Brush Island which is an uninhabited island. And here, you’ll get some of the best snorkelling sites. The shore excursion is priced from USD$119.75 for an adult and USD$99.75 for a child. For more information, click here.
7. Paihia Parasail – Carnival Cruise Line
When you call at the Bay of Islands and if you’re not afraid of heights, try the Flying Kiwi Parasail for some breath-taking views of the Bay of Islands. You can either fly solo, tandem or in a triple if you need some moral support. There are no age restrictions and Carnival have said the youngest parasailer they’ve had was a one year old, to the oldest, who was 96. The shore excursion is priced from AUD$109.99 for an adult or AUD$99.99 for a child. For more information, click here.
8. Atherton Platypus Experience – Carnival Cruise Line
Travel into the mountains for the Curtain Fig Tree, unique and massive, it lives within a specific cooler climate rainforest, and is home to the endangered tree kangaroo. Get up close views of platypus at Tarzali Lakes, and take an educational walk with a knowledgeable guide before you enjoy a buffet lunch. The shore excursion is priced from AUD$105.99 for an adult or AUD$99.99 for a child. For information, click here.
9. Australian Muster Experience
Cruisers calling at Port Douglas in Australia will get to experience first hand what an Australian muster is like. You’ll get to see the drovers on horseback working the cattle station and doing stunts on horses with their dogs, some on quad bikes as well as a bull catcher. The shore excursion is priced from $119.99 for an adult and $69.99 for a child. Fore more information, click here.
10. Slumber Safari Overnight at the Zoo – P&O Cruises
Spend the evening at the Weribee Open Range Zoo in luxurious safari tents with their own balconies and en-suites overlooking the savannah. The experience includes close-up animal encounters, drinks at sunset, a sumptuous African feast and tales around the campfire, and night-time activities including a night walk and toasting marshmallows around the evening campfire. The shore excursion is priced from $439.99 for an adult and $359.99 for a child. For more information, click here.
11. Whale Shark Swim – P&O Cruises
The Coral Coast of Western Australia is home to an abundance of unique wildlife full of national parks and reefs ready to be explored. Ningaloo Reef is one of the best spots to see whale sharks and you will be with tour guides are very knowledgeable and passionate about whale sharks. The clear waters and visibility of the North West make for perfect conditions to swim with a whale shark. The shore excursion is priced from $429.99 for an adult and $289.99 for a child. For more information, click here.
Sign up with our newsletter for cruise tips, deals and stories on cruising. To sign up click here
Subscribe to Cruise Passenger magazine here
Like us on Facebook here
Win one of four cruises to tropical Queensland!
Cruise from Sydney to Tangalooma Resort on the world’s 3rd largest sand island, Moreton Island. Or departing from Brisbane, sail to stunning Airlie Beach – the gateway to the GBR where you can take day trips to iconic locations like Hamilton Island and Whitehaven Beach.