Tauranga, North Island, New Zealand
We didn’t book the ship tour – way too expensive – but chose a similar one through Zealandier Tours. We had no problems with meeting our driver and were back at the ship in plenty of time to sail.
The trip stopped at Kiwi 360 where we learnt some interesting information about growing kiwi fruit then visited the gift shop to sample some liqueurs. Maybe it was just too early in the day, but they seemed quite potent and not particularly good. I suppose this might have been interesting for some, but I thought it could have been skipped. It didn’t do anything for me.
We had a brief stop to watch some white water rafters who may or may not have been crazy. It was a bit cold for me to be in the water but it did look like fun and I’d give it a go on a warmer day.
We moved on to Rotorua where we had a drive around some of the lakes and a stop to view the exterior of the museum. A lovely looking building. And, being great fans of museums, somewhere we’d like to go back to.
From there it was off to the main destination of the day: Whakarewarewa cultural village.
This was most definitely the highlight of the day. We had an excellent guided tour by one of the locals – this is a living village where Maori live traditional lifestyles as far as they can. It was an intriguing look at a part of the culture that we hadn’t seen on previous trips to New Zealand. The tour ended with a well presented performance of song, dance and haka and a demonstration of the use of flax. Our only regret was that we’d already had lunch. We would have loved to have sampled the traditionally prepared and cooked food, steamed in the hot pools that were all around the village.
One of the things that is synonymous with Rotorua is the bubbling mud, so we were quite keen to see it. Our driver did seem a bit disinterested and dismissive but pulled up at a little roadside stop so we could get out and have a look. I’m quite sure there’s a better bubbling mud experience. We’ll investigate further when we visit again. And I’m sure we will be back.
And I’ve lodged a formal complaint about the noise in our cabin. Hasn’t helped, but it does make me feel like I’m not being a mouse and just putting up with it.