Day 30 – Tauranga – 3 Feb 2018
Blue skies greeted us as we arrived in Tauranga around 8 AM. The ship docked in the small beach resort town called Mount Maunganui which used to be a separate city, but in 1989 was combined with Tauranga which is now the official name of this area.
Our plan for today was to visit a local yarn shop and then explore the small town near the ship. We met Peggy, Rick and Margaret in the Ocean Bar at 10 AM and headed down to the Information Center on the wharf. There wasn’t much inside the Information Center, aside from a display booth with people selling day tours. Right outside the information center there was a sign for the shuttle bus that would take you to downtown for NZ$10 per person. It was about 8 miles to the downtown area and a taxi would cost about $35 New Zealand.
Since there was five of us, I wasn’t sure how difficult it might be to get a taxi that would hold five people. We considered taking the shuttle bus but when we realized that it would drop us off 10 blocks from the yarn shop, our ultimate destination, we decided to continue out into the nearby town to find a taxi.
After passing through the Information Center, it is a short walk to a street where the taxis are waiting taxis. A taxi van was first in line and we all piled in for the ride downtown to the Tauranga Knitting Centre. The taxi ride cost $35 New Zealand.
Tauranga Knitting Centre
The Tauranga Knitting Centre had a nice selection of local yarns. Judy, Peggy and Margaret enjoyed browsing the shop and purchased some TOUCH 8 ply hand dyed yarn in a blend of 60% merino wool, 30% possum and 10% silk. Rick, with the assistance of the ladies, selected some nice yarn to mail to his mother for a Birthday present. While we were shopping, we were joined by half a dozen other people from the Amsterdam which made the shop quite busy for a bit. Lynette, the proprietor, did a fine job of serving everybody quickly. This is a very nice local yarn shop, and should your plans take you to this area, is worth the visit.
We arranged for our taxi driver to return in about an hour. This gave us a little time to explore the other shops in the area. There was a nice clothing store called “Out of Italy” that carried a line of women’s linen clothing. Judy picked up a top to wear for the all-white night coming up later in the cruise. Surprisingly, the shop did not take credit cards but fortunately there was an ATM machine across the street where we were able to get some cash.
On the way back to the beach town, we had our driver take us through the Tauranga downtown area. We passed buy a lot of nice shops, cafés and bars. Taking the shuttle bus here would certainly be a nice way to spend the day. This area wasn’t all that much different from the town closest to the ship, so unless you had some reason to come downtown, you could probably find everything you would be looking for tourist-wise close to the ship.
Fish and Chips – Family Style
After the taxi dropped us off back near the ship, we spotted a fish and chips place where we decided to get lunch. The prices were quite reasonable, and we saw a family menu that was labeled ‘Family Menu Number 3’ which was only three times the cost of a single entrée. We should have read the description more carefully, because although the price was only three times as much as a single, there was six times as much food. Needless to say, we had enough to eat. In addition to fish and chips the family menu included chicken nuggets, sausages and breaded crab legs.
The weekly Saturday market was going on in the park. There was a collection of crafts, artwork and other items you typically find that these types of markets. It was only a short walk from the ship, but by the time we got there after lunch, most of the stalls were starting to break down.
At one point while we were planning this trip, we considered hiking to the top of nearby Mount Maunganui. The hike is about 2.5 miles round-trip with an elevation of over 700 feet. By the time we got back to town from the yarn shop and had lunch, we no longer had sufficient energy to take on such a hike. We learned later from our table mate, Susan, who did make the hike, that it was fairly strenuous, and you should be sure to take a lot of water if you plan on doing this yourself.
We spent another hour or so strolling through town, popping in and out of shops, before heading back to the ship. There was an interesting sign near the gate to the port which gave the details for the current cruise ship.
Tauranga is a nice port where you can have an enjoyable day within easy walking distance of the ship. If you are a fan of the Hobbit movies, many people enjoyed the various tours to the Hobbiton move set – about 75 minutes away – which were available from the ship or independently from local vendors.
Tonight’s entertainment was provided by the Queen tribute group called Rock Rhapsody. The group consists of 2 women and one man and was accompanied by the Amsterdam house band. Everyone enjoyed the excellent show which was capped by a nice rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody.
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