NORWEGIAN JEWEL NEW ZEALAND CRUISE – SECOND PORT TAURANGA
Some great night time entertainment had us sleeping in and missed passing scared mountain before entering Tauranga. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more scenic port to sail into than Tauranga. With white sand coastline that appears on the horizon and cruise past the sacred mountain, Mauao, as you enter the harbour. You are welcomed to a piece of paradise, and our second favorite location on the cruise.
Tips: Explore The Strand and 17th Avenue in Tauranga city. Swim with dolphins. Get your waterfall fix at McLaren, Omanawa and Kaiate Falls. Climb The Mount for epic views! Surf, swim, eat ice cream and be a general beach bum at Mt Maunganui Beach. Driftkart at Papamoa.
After entering Tauranga Harbour and passing by the iconic mountain, Mauao, we berthed at Mount Maunganui (one of Tauranga’s largest suburbs). Tauranga’s CBD is a 10 minute drive away over the Tauranga Harbour Bridge, but there are also plenty of shops, cafes, restaurants and activities within walking distance at Mount Maunganui itself. The port is also gateway to Rotorua and the Hobbiton film set. If you want to experience New Zealand’s renowned Maori culture or geothermal wonders, this is the place to do it. At the Port of Tauranga we were able to walk straight off the ship and return as often as we liked during the day. Tip: Just remember to take photo ID with you (such as your passport or driver’s licence) to show port security staff when you return with your ship card.
Tauranga always rates highly with cruise ship passengers because there are so many great things to do here. Stretch your legs and explore the beautiful beach-side suburb of Mount Maunganui, or head further afield across the Western Bay of Plenty or inland to Rotorua or Hobbiton..
We booked no tours and opted to walk around on our own. From the ship you’ll have no trouble spotting the iconic mountain, Mauao, from your ship. Off the boat we headed along Pilot Bay which is one of region’s premier destinations, a beautiful sheltered beach which sits on the edge of Tauranga Harbour and beneath Mount Maunganui’s towering mountain ‘Mauao’. The bay runs along the southwestern side of Mount Maunganui’s peninsula and is sheltered from the open ocean. Small waves gently lap at the shore here as the tide flows in and out, providing calm swimming conditions all year round. It’s a great spot for families with young children who want to splash about in the water without getting knocked off their feet by big waves. Hunt for shells, build sandcastles, draw pictures in the sand and enjoy swimming with your little ones here. A row of stately Norfolk Pine trees line Pilot Bay, helping provide a picture-perfect scene for cruise passengers as they sail through the harbour entrance and berth at the nearby port. Pilot Bay is a picturesque place to relax in the sun, enjoy the harbour views and watch the world go by. With stunning scenery, clear blue water and plenty to see and do, it sums up everything we love about the Bay of Plenty.
Tip: If you are travelling down the east coast rather than taking the internal route through Rotorua and Taupo, Whakatane is a great place to stop on your way through the Bay of Plenty. There are some beautiful beaches in the area including Ohope – one of New Zealand’s most-loved beaches but the big draw for visitors is a trip to White Island – New Zealand’s only active marine volcano.
At the end of Pilot Bay we ventured to the top of our most famous landmark. The walk took about 40 minutes and requires a good level of fitness. You can choose from two scenic tracks to reach the 232m-high summit. The view at the top is worth the effort. You can see Mount Maunganui’s iconic mountain, Mauao, for miles around, and when you’re standing at its summit, the view is even more impressive. Mauao stands 232m above sea level and its summit tracks are not a casual stroll. You’ll need a reasonably good level of fitness and mobility to climb to the top but it’s certainly worth the effort.
You can survey the entire Western Bay of Plenty from this vantage point, right down the white sand coastline to Papamoa and beyond, over the harbour and Tauranga’s city suburbs, and north across Matakana Island towards Bowentown and Waihi Beach. The Kaimai Ranges loom in the distance behind Tauranga while the blue Pacific Ocean stretches out as far as your eyes can see. The view is simply breathtaking.
We then took a walk past the Mount Hot Pools which are iconic in the Tauranga region, popular with locals and visitors alike. On offer is a range of options for the whole family to enjoy, with individual pool temperatures varying from 31°c to 39°c for your comfort and relaxation. You can get moving in the active pool, relax in the passive pool (with its comforting massage jets), and watch over your kids as they play in the nearby toddler’s pool with its slide, waterfall and fountains. There are spa pools for your enjoyment and the option of a luxurious massage with their friendly and experienced massage therapists.
Just passed the Hot Pools we hit Mt Maunganui Main Beach, voted New Zealand’s best beach, ‘the Mount’ is the ultimate summer destination. With perfect white sand and thundering waves, you won’t find a better place to swim, surf, sunbathe and socialise. Holiday memories are made here. You just can’t beat the Mount’s Main Beach. This is the ultimate spot to swim, surf and sunbathe and this glorious stretch of golden sand has been voted the best beach in the country.
“How you live your life is up to you. You have to go out and grab the world by the horns. Rope it before it ties you down and decides for you.”
This beach sits at the base of Mauao, Mt Maunganui’s iconic mountain, and runs for approximately 1km along to Moturiki (Leisure) Island. Moturiki is connected to the beach by a man-made land bridge and features a spectacular blowhole at the far end of the island which bursts into life during a large swell or high tide. It’s also a great place to enjoy panoramic ocean views and look back along the coastline. A well-formed walking track will lead you from the beach right to the very top and takes about 15 minutes. Main Beach is also a fantastic place to people-watch. You’re likely to come across both impromptu and organised games of beach volleyball, soccer, cricket and more. National and regional surf lifesaving competitions are held on this beach in summer, drawing large crowds and lots of other entertainment.
We then headed to Maunganui Rd to begin exploring this retail area for Kim to get her shopping fix, and pick-up some WIFI. This main street is lined with phoenix palm trees and is a relaxed place to browse the shops. We found clothing to suit all ages and budgets here, including some of New Zealand’s top fashion designers. Souvenirs, beauty services, health stores, pharmacies, bookstores, banks and foreign currency exchange services can all be found here. Galleries showcasing local art and photography will also intrigue and inspire you. There were plenty of cafes to grab a coffee and a bite to eat we re-charge your batteries. After Kim got her shopping fix we headed back to the empty ship and enjoyed a few quiet drinks and a swim before everyone returned after their tours.
Check out our time in Tauranga, Bay of Plenty:
Night time Entertainment was;
Guy Taylor In Concert
Guy Bradley Taylor, known as G.B. is Australia’s Mr Swing and commands the audience’s attention from the start of his show with this winning personality and wonderful singing voice. Relaxed and full of fun, delivering a powrhouse, dynamic performance of old standards from all the great swingers.
Sing It If You Know It Gameshow
Prism tested your musical knowledge for this wild and crazy competition not to be missed. You didn’t need any singing skills, because the party band will be there for you to sing along with.
Love Song Dedications with Prism
Couples and lovers, hit the dance floor for a romantic evening of dancing with that special one.
“Travel brings power and love back into your life”