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Need to book a cruise now for height of tourist season?

United States
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Need to book a cruise now for height of tourist season?

Kia Ora!

We will be going to Milford Sound for the day, driving from Te Anau in our rented car on January 4.

I know we need to leave early in the morning, around 7 am to beat the crowds.

Is it necessary to book a sightseeing small boat cruise now, since it is at the height of the tourist season when we will be there?

I do not want a cruise on the large boats, but the small one. Real Journeys has a small boat of only about 40 people.

What is your expert opinion?

Also, are there coupons that give discounts in tourist magazines that can be used? But I guess to use any of those available, we will have to wait until we arrive.

Thank you.

New Zealand
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1. Re: Need to book a cruise now for height of tourist season?

I would suggest booking as soon as you can as the small boat books up fast.

And if you can, leave Te Anau before 7am. The first buses leave early and as you will potentially be stopping at more places along the road, the buses could eventually catch up with you.

New Zealand
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2. Re: Need to book a cruise now for height of tourist season?

Well done eyesee! You should have a few more Maori words in your vocan. by the time you arrive- the locals will be impressed. :)

Give the discount vouchers a miss, you'll only be able to use them when you arrive and have them to hand. Best to book asap and be secure in the knowledge that you are 2 of only 40 people in the whole wide world that will be on a small boat cruise on Jan4th, one of the busiest days of the year. :)

United States
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3. Re: Need to book a cruise now for height of tourist season?

Ah, Zappers, I'll accept the good natured ribbing that I am taking care of too many details so far in advance. Although, this time it was my husband who wanted to make sure we were not on the large boat cruise. You would have been proud of me last July when we went to Ireland. Nothing was planned in advance except the lodging, for Ireland's accommodations get completely booked up in the smaller towns and cities, as does New Zealand.

But I could still get reservations at B&Bs and small hotels 3 months in advance of our trip to the Emerald Isle. Not so, apparently for NZ. I have already come across places that are solidly booked and have no vacancies for Dec/Jan. You live in a wonderland and a popular destination.

Wanakalakes, thank you for your advice.

I appreciate the guidance offered by all.

Wellington, New...
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4. Re: Need to book a cruise now for height of tourist season?

Eyesee I would confirm as many bookings as possible travelling through NZ at that time of year and especially in the central Otago region.

You are travelling at the height of the tourist season and many people book the prime accomodation a year in advance.

Concur with Zappers about the discount vouchers. Apart from daily attarctions you wont get too many discounts on accomodation or travel because operators dont need to discount at that time of year.

New Zealand
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5. Re: Need to book a cruise now for height of tourist season?

I was serious! :) Book now to be sure to get what you want.

Wanaka, New Zealand
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6. Re: Need to book a cruise now for height of tourist season?

Mitre Peak also operate with small boats, and yes, book it as soon as you can! By booking a boat early in the day, you will get the cheaper tour prices as most people book from 11am onwards.

Wellington, New...
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7. Re: Need to book a cruise now for height of tourist season?

I am amazed at the number of people from all over the world who travel halfway across the world for their holiday spending thousands of dollars on airfares and want to save a pittance by waiting until they arrive to book their accomodation and attractions.

When we travel we arrive with accomodation booked and major attractions we want to see also booked in advance. If I have never to a particular country before and I am unsure of the customs and rights of passage I pre book transport to and from airport to hotel as well.

Whats a few dollars over the top if it takes away the worry and stress and ensures a great holiday.

Eyesee - again you are arriving in the height of the travel season take away your stresses and prebook the necessities of your holiday and if that includes small cruises, accomodation and any other attractions and transport then do it, and that includes accomodation over the Christmas / New Year period.

United States
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8. Re: Need to book a cruise now for height of tourist season?

Thanks again to all for responding.

I have already followed your advice and booked the cruise through Real Journeys yesterday.

Beanb41: Thank you for your advice. I readily concur with you. I actually started planning in January. I do have lodging, heli hike, whale watching, dolphin swimming, and other activities that sell out in this high tourist season already reserved. (Although I know weather conditions can throw it all out the window.) You are right. No sense in travelling to the other side of the world and miss out on what we specifically want to do.

As for coupons, I wasn't going to wait to arrive to use them. In the States, we have something akin to your AA, but we call it AAA (Automobile Club). Being a member gives fantastic discounts on hotels, activities, merchandise. There are set price reductions at all major attractions, museums, hotels throughout the year for AAA members. All one has to do when making reservations is ask for the AAA discount price, even a year in advance. We also have coupons that tourists can use, but again, when making a reservation in advance, all one has to do is give the code on the coupon. This is what I was asking about, but then I was putting in a disclaimer that most tourist coupons probably have to be used to buy tickets at the actual time of use. I should have explained a bit more.

Zappers, you have been a tremendous help along the way of my NZ adventure planning. You also advised me, and rightly so, to leave room for the unexpected to happen-truly memorable experiences that weren't planned out, but make themselves available. I thought you were alluding to that.

We do want to do the Jetboat and Riverrafting. Can that wait until we arrive in Queenstown so we know how the weather will be? Or do those trips completely fill up months in advance? Can they be booked the day before or even that day? Do they have enough rafts and boats and times to accommodate the influx of tourists?

To the many wonderful TA members who help us all:

a gigantic THANK YOU!

Wellington, New...
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9. Re: Need to book a cruise now for height of tourist season?

Jet boating in the shotover can be booked the day before - as demand increases they put on more boats. The river rafting could also be booked the day before, however I would jump on the respective websites and check with the companies concerned. They are up with action all the time and I would hate for you to miss out on two of Queenstwins adrenalin favourites.

Malaysia
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10. Re: Need to book a cruise now for height of tourist season?

Hi

My family is planning to go to Milford Sound and take a scenic cruise ride in December probably 22 or 23 Dec.

If we were to stay at Te Anau the night before and would like to take the first cruise the following day, how early we have to depart from Te Anau? Is it advisable to do that?

Do we need to do booking now? From Realjourneys website, it seems the advance booking is only up to April for the morning cruise.

Can someone assist me on this? Thank you.