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Cruises to Tauranga

Tauranga (Photo:Tomas Sykora/zShutterstock)
Tauranga (Photo:Tomas Sykora/zShutterstock)

About Tauranga

A cruise ship visit to Tauranga (pronounced "Tao-ronger") is like getting three port calls for the price of one: Tauranga, Mount Maunganui and Rotorua. Situated in the Bay of Plenty, Tauranga deserves a half-day or more of exploration. The busy city has several historical highlights (like the Elms Mission Station, said to be the oldest building in the Bay of Plenty), interesting architecture (check out the Brain Watkins House, built with local kauri wood) and tasty seafood-focused dining at the restaurants and pubs along the revitalized waterfront.

Cruise ships actually dock in the nearby town of Mount Maunganui, which is also worth visiting. There, visitors can embrace nature and the outdoors at the surfing hotspot of Mount Beach, with easy to strenuous hiking at Mount Maunganui, and in soothingly hot or warm saltwater pools at the mountain's base. Urbanites can also find lots of shopping and restaurants on busy Maunganui Road.

Finally, there's a third option that's also quite popular as a shore excursion: the town and region of Rotorua, about 75 minutes from the port. The area is a center for geothermal activity (including historic thermal baths) and Maori culture. Shore excursions to Rotorua will typically visit a geothermal park like Te Whakarewarea, Hells Gate or Waiotapu, which features the Lady Knox geyser, a natural phenomenon that erupts every day at 10:15 a.m. Other highlights may include bubbling mud pools, steaming springs, more geysers, spas, waterfalls, visits to one of the region's dozen pretty lakes, and the city of Rotorua proper. The trip is not for the nasally sensitive, as the hot springs and geysers are often accompanied by an ever-present sulphurous "rotten egg" smell.

Sadly, cruise travelers usually do not have enough time to visit all three destinations in one port call. Most choose to either stay in the neighboring Tauranga and Mount Maunganui or take the long shore excursion to the Rotorua area. Whichever way you go, you will not be disappointed.

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120 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
San Francisco
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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DAY 1: Sydney

10 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
Sydney
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Paihia, Auckland ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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DAY 1: Auckland

12 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
Auckland
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Tauranga, Napier ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: Sydney

11 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Eden, Milford Sound ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
Auckland
Visiting:
Tauranga, Napier ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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12 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
Auckland
Visiting:
Tauranga, Picton ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
Sydney
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Eden, Melbourne ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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11 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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11 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
Auckland
Visiting:
Tauranga, Napier ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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21 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
San Francisco
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Honolulu, Apia, Samoa ...
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Cruise Line:
Cunard Line
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43 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
Auckland
Visiting:
Tauranga, Napier ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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37 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
Montego Bay, Puerto Limon ...
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Cruise Line:
Cunard Line
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32 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Melbourne, Burnie ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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12 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Milford Fjord, Doubtful Sound ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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14 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
Auckland
Visiting:
Paihia, Tauranga ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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48 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Hamilton, Port Canaveral ...
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Cruise Line:
Cunard Line
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81 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
San Francisco
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Honolulu, Apia, Samoa ...
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Cruise Line:
Cunard Line
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111 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Honolulu, Kona ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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97 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
Montego Bay, Puerto Limon ...
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Cruise Line:
Cunard Line
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112 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
Hamburg
Visiting:
Southampton, Hamilton ...
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Cruise Line:
Cunard Line
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56 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
Los Angeles
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Honolulu, Kona ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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17 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
Adelaide
Visiting:
Melbourne, Fjordland ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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12 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
Auckland
Visiting:
Tauranga, Napier ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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21 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
Auckland
Visiting:
Tauranga, Napier ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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12 Night
Cruise to Tauranga

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Eden, Burnie ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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Why go to Tauranga?

Pros:

A beachside town with nearby mountains, thermal pools, geysers and waterfalls

Cons:

With so many options for things to do, passengers are only limited by time

Bottom Line:

Rotorua mud pools are a fascinating excursion, but Tauranga is a lovely place to admire the Bay of Plenty

Tauranga Cruise Port Facilities?

There is a helpful i-SITE tourist office just 150 feet or so from the dock where visitors can pick up information, book tours or be directed to a nearby bus to Tauranga's center. Another 150 feet away is the center of Mount Maunganui, which also features shopping, dining, ATM's, post offices and a host of typical city amenities.

Good to Know?

Uber-friendly locals will stop to ask anyone perusing a city map if they need help, so don't be afraid to take advantage of their assistance. Also, remember that New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road, an important safety note when crossing the street.

Getting Around?

On Foot: All of Mount Maunganui's attractions are within a 10-minute walk of the port.

By Bus: Although some lines arrange for free buses, the only option on our visit was a city bus with direct service from Mount Maunganui to Tauranga. Leaving relatively frequently from the i-SITE office at the port, the bus costs a few New Zealand dollars per person one-way, and it takes 20 minutes to get to the middle of the commercial district of Tauranga. The bus drops passengers off at the convenient Tauranga i-SITE office and, from there, all of Tauranga's top attractions, shopping and dining options are within a 15-minute walk.

By Taxi: Taxis are available at the i-SITE office at the port, but if you are just heading into Tauranga, the city bus is the way to go. If you are going to Rotorua, a taxi or shore excursion would be your best bet.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The local currency is the New Zealand dollar. For current currency conversion figures, visit XE.com. ATM's and banks are plentiful in both Tauranga and Mount Maunganui and are usually the cheapest way to get New Zealand dollars. Credit cards are widely accepted most everywhere.

Language?

English, with a distinct Kiwi accent, is the predominant language in Tauranga and all of New Zealand, although you may hear some Maori being spoken there.

Many British-isms have found their way into the language -- like "brilliant" or "loo." However, the most unusual is the local use of "sweet as" -- meaning good or cool. It's generally used when something pleases the speaker, such as a local responding, "It's sweet as," when asked about a particular hike, wine or local beer.

Where You're Docked?

Ships dock at Salisbury Wharf at the Port of Tauranga, which is actually in the town of Mount Maunganui.


Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination

  • 2017 Top-Rated Australia & New Zealand Destinations
  • 2016 Top-Rated Australia & New Zealand Destinations
  • 2015 Top-Rated Australia & New Zealand Destinations

Tauranga Cruise Reviews

Majestic Princess
JeffroK
Sail Date: Nov 2019
Tour cancelled, caught complimentry bus into Tauranga, not much, nice town. On return we walked into Maunganui and had a delicious lunch. Nice Day.... Read More
Ruby Princess
Kamfish642
Sail Date: Feb 2020
Ship actually docked in the Town of Mt. Mauganui, which was a 5-10 minute walk directly off ship. We did a self-tour of town and walked up Mt. Mauganui. Ensure that you walk to the other side of town to see and... Read More
Sea Princess
Gail T Brisbane
Sail Date: Nov 2019
Tauranga is the town near where the ship docks at Mt. Manganui. Tauranga requires a bus trip, so we decided to walk around the town this time. Many designer shops there. many folk walk up to the top of the... Read More
Majestic Princess
Kate Cunningham
Sail Date: Dec 2019
Only explored Mangonui and didn't go into Tauranga. Had a large market on the day we arrived.... Read More
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