Cruise day 26 – Jan 30
Visit Rotorua (Port of Tauranga), New Zealand –
Another brief stop at a beautiful place that we wished we had a lot more time to explore. As all cruisers know, although cruising has many upsides for travelers, one downside is that the stops are too short – usually one full day (or less) each. Another downside is that your visits are restricted to each destination’s port area, which may or may not reflect the situation in areas further away. Some excursions make an effort to describe areas beyond the port, but it’s certainly not the same as being there.
On this stop we arrived early in the morning and left before 5:00pm – too short!. We took a 10:00am bus tour, and if I had made more of an effort, we could have hiked nearby Mount Maunganui in addition to our excursion. But I had previously reserved a massage for my recovering back before I knew there was a nice mountain here. My bad!
Anyway, the driver/guide was excellent in his description of the history, culture and current status of Rotorua. Although the city has a population of 140,000+, it’s fairly spread out and we got a good vibe about the place:
Just a sample of interesting million-dollar homes overlooking the bay:
There was a short stop at a nearby historic village where we were able to stretch our legs a bit. It held a collection of original and replica buildings from early Tauranga. The character buildings contained the galleries and shops of local artists, offering classes and workshops. It was another rushed excursion; we had only 30 minutes to look around:
Back on the ship, we hurried to check out the Noodle Bar special at the Pool Grille – gonna be another yummy night!
Sailing onward, our cruise director advised that we were passing White Island, an active volcano where several cruise tourists were killed during an eruption last Dec 9th:
A beautiful sunset tops off another day of sailing along New Zealand: