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Cruises to Tauranga

248 Reviews
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.

  • More about Tauranga

  • Why go to Tauranga?

  • Tauranga Cruise Port Facilities?

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Royal Princess
Royal Princess

20 Night
Transpacific CruiseDetails

1,719 Reviews
Leaving:Honolulu
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Oct 2, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Royal Princess
Royal Princess

27 Night
Transpacific CruiseDetails

1,719 Reviews
Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Sep 25, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Royal Princess
Royal Princess

23 Night
Transpacific CruiseDetails

1,719 Reviews
Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Sep 25, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Majestic Princess
Majestic Princess TA Listings Page Image

26 Night
Transpacific CruiseDetails

666 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Oct 8, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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16 Night
Australia CruiseDetails

217 Reviews
Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
Dec 28, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

33 Night
World CruiseDetails

387 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Feb 13, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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13 Night
New Zealand CruiseDetails

1,571 Reviews
Leaving:Melbourne
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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13 Night
Australia CruiseDetails

1,719 Reviews
Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Mar 2, 2024
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Cruise Critic Favorite

14 Night
Australia CruiseDetails

237 Reviews
Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
Feb 1, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Australia ProductDetails

2,078 Reviews
Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Australia & New ZealandDetails

795 Reviews
Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Mar 23, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Australia & New ZealandDetails

795 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Feb 11, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Australia & New ZealandDetails

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

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

666 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Apr 4, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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More about Tauranga

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
I went on the excursion called, "Highlights of Tauranga & Maori Culture" and enjoyed the drive, time in the culture centers and the overlook photo op. Read More
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GEMarshall
Despite the rain, we had a wonderful day touring the Bay of Plenty on the "Bay of Plenty Foodie Tour."Read More
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553Makai
Excellent, we went kayaking on a Celeb Tour: Kayaking Scenic Lake Rotoiti and Glow Worm Cave Read More
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Alix James
Lovely port to visitRead More
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jamfife

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