a VirtualTourist member
coming on princess cruise to dunedin december how far to dunedin tourist centre
can you recommend cheaper excursions than offered by the cruise line
How long will you spend in Dunedin? What time do you arrive? What sort of excursion are they offering and how much are they charging? You need to balance the cost of the excursions offered against the convenience of being picked up and returned to the ship.
The distance from Port Chalmers where your cruise ship arrives to the city centre of Dunedin is about 13 kilometres. There is public bus transport but there are also shuttles provided by the cruise company.
If you have a look at the transportation tips on my Dunedin page you will find a lot of information how to organise your own thing instead of booking shore excursion with your cruise company.
I would seriously consider hiring a car in Dunedin, this would give you time to explore Otago Peninsula at your own pace. (And you could share it with others, so the cost would even get lower.) The only other cost that may occur would be the admission to the Albatross Colony at Taiaroa Head (and there is no public bus going that far out) and Larnach Castle and Gardens. I cannot recommend penguin tours during day time. If you have a car you can visit the best beaches and watch NZ fur seals and sea lions, and if you are lucky, you might spot penguins - but it is not the norm during daytime.
After your tour of the peninsula you could return the car and do sightseeing in the city centre, this is compact and easy walking. Places for which a car would be handy are Baldwin Street (the world's steepest street) and the Botanical Gardens (a bit of a walk but also serviced by bus).
Another activity offered on cruises is the Taieri Gorge Railway. For that you have to compare the prices on their website and what the cruise company would charge.