World Wonders Cruise Diary – Day 26 – Rotorua, New Zealand

Cruise day 26 – Jan 30

Visit Rotorua (Port of Tauranga), New Zealand –

Rotorua, our third port stop in 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.

“Kia Ora”, or “Welcome to Tauranga”, say the two Red-billed gulls

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!

Better planning would have allowed us to hike Mount Maunganui from the ship 😦

Forestry is big business here, exporting logs to China and Japan

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:

We passed a “Holiday Park” (RV Park) along the way.  No rigs as big as Betsy here!

Tall hedges protect Kiwi plantations from brutal winds

Just a sample of interesting million-dollar homes overlooking the bay:

Seven figures, (known as poupous) were created on Tauranga’s strand to represent Matariki (only five remain).

These trees are called New Zealand Christmas tree because it produces a brilliant display of red flowers in December

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:

A beautifully rebuilt church preserves special original features

Back on the ship, we hurried to check out the Noodle Bar special at the Pool Grille – gonna be another yummy night!

The Pool Grille is an informal place that serves lunch and dinner, plus excellent themed specials

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:

Guests ran to the starboard side for a picture of the island

The White Island volcano is still active, no more excursions there!

A beautiful sunset tops off another day of sailing along New Zealand:

 



 

7 Comments »

  1. That awful volcano incident seems like it happened many months ago. Time is just flying by. Hell, you guys just passed the first month on your cruise. So crazy! Anyway, this looks like an interesting place and I can certainly see why you wanted more time there. I’m sure it’s all a blur, but you’re experiencing so much… what an awesome adventure!

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  2. New Zealand would be a perfect place for a land trip for you guys … especially South Island, which offers more adventures outdoors. We spent 6 weeks touring NZ in 2015 … easily could have used 6 more. Amazing shot of White Island … and I love the last shot with the sky colors.

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  3. Planning the excursions was the hardest part of our cruise. You never know how long the time will be. Sorry you missed hiking the mountain. I looked at Google Images to see the NZ Christmas Tree with the red flowers. It’s so pretty all decked out in its red flowers. Happy sailing!

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  4. Visited NZ back in 2010 so your tales bring back good memories! The reason their RV rigs and logging trucks aren’t big is because of all the twisting winding narrow roads on the mountains, which connect to all the main artery roads. You won’t see the typical semi’s that are seen in the USA. Logging rigs are 2 short trailers hooked together to the main semi cab, so that the cab plus each trailer can turn independently. Plus, those wonderful mountain trails are ant-free! You can walk almost barefoot with no worries about stepping on insects, no snakes! For me (someone from Texas who’s accustomed to protecting myself from ants and snakes while walking anywhere) walking worry-free in NZ was wonderful!

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