Thousands of visitors from two cruise ships were converging on Dunedin on Friday.
A Dunedin City Council spokesperson says it is the biggest group of passengers to visit since the start of what has been a busy season.
Sophie Barker says one traffic lane in the Octagon has been designated for the sole use of shuttle buses to and from the ships.
Two ships docked at Port Chalmers early morning; the Diamond Princess carrying just over 2500 passengers and the Volendam carrying almost 1500 holidaymakers.
Ms Barker says that, including crew members, about 5500 people are expected to come into the South Island city.
She says the cruise ship industry keeps small businesses going while students are away from Dunedin.
Another ship is expected on Saturday. Since November, 23 cruise ships have stopped in Dunedin, and 41 more are still to come.