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Gemma Burleigh (10) was awake with the rest of her family at 7am preparing to make the 40-minute journey to Dunedin.
The trip to the city had become a tradition for Gemma, her siblings and parents.
Members of the Burleigh family were only a few small drops in the ocean of people who swarmed the streets yesterday looking for bargains.
Dunedin i-SITE visitor centre manager Louise van de Vlierd said it was an even busier Boxing Day than normal for the city as there were two cruise ships in town - Radiance of the Seas and Sea Princess.
''A lot of people were getting on shuttles and saying they were just going to town to shop. There were a good percentage of [cruise ship passengers] that know about traditional Boxing Day sales.''
Another two cruise ships - the Norwegian Jewel and Celebrity Solstice - were due today, bringing in just over 5200 passengers and 2350 crew members combined.
The city would have two days to ''catch a breath'' before the next run of cruise ships due on December 30.