Private Van Full-Day
Maori first discovered this area in the 13th Century and named it "Tauranga" meaning 'the place of rest or anchorage.' The area has grown rapidly in recent years and now shines as a cosmopolitan city with a combined easy-going, friendly atmosphere. A stunning coastal paradise, this region offers a multitude of choices appealing to everyone for entertainment and activities. From the mountains to beaches, world-class culinary to outdoor markets, it will not be difficult to create very special memories when you are here.
Maori are the Tangata Whenua, the indigenous people, of New Zealand. They came here more than 1000 years ago from their mythical Polynesian homeland of Hawaiki. Today Maori make up 14% of the population and their history, language and traditions are central to New Zealand's identity.
After being met at the port area by your friendly, local driver/guide you can determine exactly what you would like to do for your day in port. Your customizable tour will be conducted in a comfortable, luxurious Mercedes Van with cool bottled water, snacks, and complimentary Wi fi. Maximize your day in port and create an itinerary that is suited just for you.
Tours start at Mount Maunganui, which is well-known among New Zealanders for its extensive stretch of immaculate Pacific beaches and several multimillion-dollar houses. A few options for a shorter 5-hour tour within a 30-kilometer radius of the Port and requires less time in an automobile, includes crossing the Harbour Bridge to Tauranga's old city, where you can see historic structures like the Elms Mission Station, an 1847 Georgian-style home set in beautifully Victorian landscaped gardens. Next take a 20-minute drive to the world's largest kiwifruit orchard, where you visit one of the area's original orchards and be mesmerized by the unique fruit that is hanging in abundance from the vine. Tour the battle locations of British and native Maori, that took place in the late 1800s, when the British suffered one of their few defeats as colonial ruler and later learned trench warfare that they used to their best benefit in the Great War 50 years later. Drive through some stunning neighborhoods with Hydrangeas and other garden flowers in full bloom. Visit McLaren Falls, then stroll along some cool, refreshing pathways lined with native plants on your route to a magical waterfall.
We will also encourage you to accompany us on a ride to one of the top viewpoints on Minden Road or Reid Road so you can gaze at the view of our topographically diverse coastal landscape (and take photographs with your friends and family). If the day is clear enough, you may catch a glimpse of Whakaari (White Island), which will most likely be puffing smoke.
Next tour white sandy beaches that stretch for 125km (nearly 80 miles), where lifeguards are on duty closer to your ship , so you can rest or enjoy the surf for an hour or two.
We also offer you a journey that includes picturesque locations for photo opportunities and lifetime memories:
- Lake and Mt Tarawera, my favourite lake with the Mountain in the background that erupted in 1886 devastating the surrounding landscape and destroying the Pink and White Terraces, at that time coined the 8th wonder of the world.
- Wai-O-Tapu, a 20 minute drive beyond Rotorua towards the centre of the Island and also sited upon the Taupo Volcanic Zone, where you can be mesmerised by the boiling mud pools, on show 24/7.
- Lake Tikitapu Reserve, the blue Lake, where we go off-piste into pristine, tranquil virgin New Zealand forest and imagine what it was like for the Maori (or the first Europeans that travelled through or broke in these lands to become a mainly pastoral nation) before the country was colonised in the 1800's.
- Redwoods, a grove of Redwood pines planted closely Rotorua some 80 years ago that are now protected that have become somewhat of a tourist attraction where you can walk on rope paths through the treetops.
- Skyline Gondola, where you can gain glorious views of Lake Rotorua and choose the option of wine-tasting in a venue at the top or descend with fun in Luges with the younger people in your group to the bottom to reboard the Gondola and do it all over again.
Getting out on the water is another great choice for the adventurous type. Ever tried river rafting? Rafting encompasses the complete range of excitement, from a peaceful glide through magnificent forested wilderness to a white-knuckled, wide-eyed excursion through rapids. If this is one of your preferred options, please notify us because advance reservations may be required and passable, suitable, and safe river conditions are necessary. Additional costs per individual for this activity is $75 USD. Please be aware that this activity will take 1.5 hours, so some local sightseeing will have to be compromised.
At the end of our tour or other activities in the Rotorua Lakes and Geothermal region, we return to Tauranga on a different path where you may sleep or enjoy the New Zealand beauty in Mangorewa Gorge for fantastic photos.
Please Note: The entrance fee to the Maori Village is $35 US per person (not included). Vehicles available for this tour accommodate groups of up to 11 or 14 guests maximum. Groups with more than 14 guests will need to book multiple vehicles. Please consider this information when booking. The Skyline Gondola is also at additional cost of $37 US per person including a Luge ride, or $24 US without, and approximately 30% cheaper for the kids.