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Cruises to Tauranga

3 Awards
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.

  • Why go to Tauranga?

  • Tauranga Cruise Port Facilities?

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Westerdam
Westerdam

51 Night
South Pacific Australia & New Zealand CollectorDetails

1,067 Reviews
Leaving:Seattle
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Oct 2, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Island Princess
Island Princess (Photo: Princess Cruises)

29 Night
World CruiseDetails

1,173 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Jan 19, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Grand Princess
Grand Princess (Photo: Princess Cruises)

36 Night
Transpacific CruiseDetails

1,554 Reviews
Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Sep 26, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite
Viking Orion
Viking Orion (Photo: Cruise Critic)

91 Night
Grand Pacific ExplorerDetails

474 Reviews
Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Viking Ocean Cruises
Sep 17, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Virgin Voyages

20 Night
Transpacific CruiseDetails

1,705 Reviews
Leaving:Honolulu
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Oct 2, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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36 Night
Grand World VoyageDetails

1,004 Reviews
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Jan 3, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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31 Night
Transpacific CruiseDetails

652 Reviews
Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Oct 3, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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25 Night
Transpacific CruiseDetails

1,554 Reviews
Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Apr 6, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Australia & New Zealand HolidayDetails

1,067 Reviews
Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Dec 20, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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128 Night
128-day Grand World VoyageDetails

1,004 Reviews
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Jan 3, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Australia & New ZealandDetails

790 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Mar 11, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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26 Night
Transpacific CruiseDetails

652 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Oct 8, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

120 Night
120 Night Viking World JourneysDetails

1,056 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Viking Ocean Cruises
Jan 6, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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28 Night
New Zealand & South Australia Discovery CollectorDetails

1,067 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Nov 8, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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36 Night
Grand Australia & New Zealand VoyageDetails

561 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Mar 2, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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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.


Tauranga Cruise Reviews
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 walRead More
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Kamfish642
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
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JeffroK
Only explored Mangonui and didn't go into Tauranga. Had a large market on the day we arrived. Read More
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Kate Cunningham
With 2 Princess Ships in port, some 7000 passengers this was a bit of a miss. We've been here before, so while everyone pretty much went left into Tauranga, we turned right and found a newly opened coffee cafe. PRead More
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asdf1245

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