See, hear, smell, touch and taste on this full-day shore excursion from Tauranga. Experience the unique and special natural beauty of The Bay of Plenty. You will visit some out of the way spots that not everyone knows about and will go where the big buses don't. This tour is not a shuttle and will not drop you off anywhere to explore on your own. It is a fully guided small-group tour with a knowledgeable, fun and friendly tour guide. Along the way you will see and learn about the uniqueness that is New Zealand and you will learn about the geothermal region of Rotorua and its significance to the Maori people. We do not visit commercial geothermal reserves on this tour. Boiling mud pools, crystal clear bubbling hot springs, volcanic lakes and picturesque forests are just a few of the sights you can expect on this lovely tour.
After meeting your friendly tour guide at the Port of Tauranga gates, your tour begins with a gentle drive past Mount Maunganui and along the coast showcasing the stunning white sandy beaches as you are told a little about the region and its history. Hear Maori legends and learn why the area was named the Bay of Plenty. Stopping at a Kiwi fruit orchard, you have a chance to view the vines and taste the green and gold kiwi fruit and juices. Learn about the significance of the kiwi fruit to the region. After this it’s back on the road as we wind our way through the rolling countryside past the dense pine forest plantations to arrive at the geothermal heart of New Zealand, Rotorua. The next stop is a visit to the Redwood Forest where you'll take a walk among these impressive trees. There are also great examples of the unique Silver Fern of New Zealand. Rotorua has a staggering 18 lakes and you will see several of them on this tour. All the Rotorua lakes are craters, calderas or valleys blocked by lava flows and they are usually nestled among steep green hills of native vegetation and are indeed spectacular. Sulphur Bay on Lake Rotorua is stunning in its own barren way. This is a unique ecological area where the birds and vegetation have adapted to the acidic conditions. Talk about why the waters are so milky and how geysers and boiling mud pools evolve. You may even see some boiling hot spots on the water’s edge and marvel at how the wildlife survives. Take a detour to the Government Gardens. This area was gifted to the New Zealand Government by the local Maori tribe the Te Arawa for "the benefit of the people of the world". The impressive Elizabethan style building dominating the grounds was the first investment by the NZ Government in tourism. It has gone from being a health spa facility being a museum. Your guide will point out some of the features of the gardens and stop for photos among the impressive flowerbeds. Visit the town "hot spot", Kuirau Park and get up close to some active geothermal features. See bubbling mud pools, steaming lakes and crystal clear boiling hot springs. There is even time for a relaxing foot soak in a thermal mineral pool heated with hot spring water right there at the source! You will be amazed at how soft and silky your feet will feel afterwards. Travel back to Tauranga via steep sided gorges with great examples of NZ lowland forest. After a great day out, be taken back at the port in plenty of time to board your ship with lots of great memories and photos to remember your day.