Day 6 (September 13, 2012)   Bay of Plenty: Tauranga and Rotorua


Route for New Zealand's 3rd day
  This day is almost entirely dedicated to sailing around the area of Tauranga, with beautiful landscapes, since 8:30h to beyond 15:30h.

   During this time they’ll look for pods of dolphins to swim with them. September is a good month for watching whales as well, which will be searched too, as well as orcas, seals, sea lions, turtles, albatross, etc… We’ve contacted to Captain Butler and his vessel Gemini Galaxsea, which sails in winter if weather allows.

   We must bring our own food here for a picnic and it will be the first time for all of us wearing neoprene clothes – which they provide - to be on those cold waters.

   When finishing, we will cover the 60 Km distance to touristic city of Rotorua, famous by their volcanic areas and Maori culture. At 18:15h, in Te Puia, we will watch Maori performing acts, with Haka as highlight (the typical dance made popular by New Zealand’s national rugby team, All Blacks). We will have a great buffet dinner and an evening visit to Wakarewarewa, a geothermal area with geysers and steaming craters with lights. The feast will be cook using the traditional Maori way by burying the food in ground, which is hot here.

   A good end for this day would be a bath in one of the hot pools of our Holyday Park.


 One day sailing for swimming with dolphins: 110 NZD
 Maori Experience with dinner: 110 NZD


Sunrise in Mount Manganui Beach    I’m awake before sunrise this morning too. Jet lag is still here. At least I can watch how sun appears at sea horizon and spread its light around to allow me see the green mount we have just here. I call to the cruise people to say we’re not going to be able of being at 8:30 AM in the Marina as scheduled because Holyday Park’s office – where we must to check out - opens at that same time.

   After breakfast, made in the big kitchens of this complex, I go for a walk to the i-site I’ve seen marked in the maps of Mount Manganui around the Park. I get into the town and I can see everything is closed at 8 AM, but for a Café, where I can ask about the i-site and I’m addressed a little further, but still I can’t find it. As time pass, more business are being opened, where I can go for indications. In a Burguer place I’m addressed backwards. I’m getting upset. I go into an Internet place to look for the i-site myself, but the couple in charge are willing to help me: “If you follow this street until the end, at left you’ll find a Holyday Park along the Mount”, he tells, “Are you meaning Mount Manganui Holyday Park?”, I ask, “That’s the one”, he answers. “But I’m coming from there! Are you telling me i-site is close to the Holyday Park?”, I ask shocked, “Not exactly. The Holyday Park office is the i-site too”.

Mount Manganui Holyday Park

   I can’t believe it, what a long walk for nothing I come back a few minutes to 8:30h but a woman opens the door anyway. I point their maps marking i-site some streets further than here, but she just answers they’re not updated. We book and pay 880$ for Maori evening experience in Te Puia and check out (145$ for three motorhomes and eight persons).

   We get the Marina in no time, pay 800$ (10% group discount) in cash to the woman and go to the boat, which is the last of a long row full of them.

Tauranga Marinavessel "Gemini Galaxsea"

   Today, this vessel is all for us. There is a Captain, a real sea wolf, a young woman which is attending us from the beginning for anything we could need. Two more women for seating in a chair at the top of the boat in shifts to look for dolphins and one guy introduced as “whale searcher”.

Sailing in search of dolphinsView of Mount Manganui from the Ocean

   Sun is doing its job and we’re grateful for that because the wind is coming cold, so soon we’re in the deck, for a bath of sun, but wearing winter clothes and even blankets over us, in a very unusual picture.

Sailing in search of dolphinsSailing in search of dolphins

   We’re more than 4 hours sailing, although, unfortunately, they’re easy to summarize, as we’ve been unlucky with animals. Just a seal in the rocks of an island and a bird flying downwards, I mean, we could see it coming from the depth of the Ocean, but just for touching the surface and turning back to the deeps. At least, we’ve got the formidable landscapes of the islands, the beach and Mount Manganui from the ocean.

Swimming suits ready for being usedReady for swimming

Sailing to islandNew Zealand's seal

Mt. Manganui beach view from Ocean

   We’re offered to repeat tomorrow for free because of their guarantee rule, but we’re on route and must leave to Rotorua. We only can thank all the crew for their efforts.Driving wrong to Rotorua

   We get fuel for all three vehicles at 1.569$ per litre. Our next step is driving to Rotorua, which is close to Tauranga but an orientation error makes us spend three hours on getting there: one in the opposite direction, another one to coming back to Tauranga and the last one to reach Rotorua. With this, we get there late, one more time. I’ve already called in our way and they were waiting for us to join the performance, although we’ve missed the welcome ceremony. I’m not going to touch noses with any other guy today!

   When talking about joining the performance, I’ve meant it literally, as me and my uncle go to stage to learning dance Haka. I’ll, particularly, need more than these ten minutes for learning this dance, as I’m showing a worrying inability to synchronizing legs and arms.

Maori cultural performance in Te PuiaMaori cultural performance in Te Puia

Maori cultural performance in Te PuiaTe Puia

   After arts performance and concert, we’re taken to the hall where our dinner is ready. We want to taste everything, including famous green-lipped mussels, which are delicious.

   This evening ends in geothermal area of Wakarewarewa, which I could check is a short name for Te Whakarewarewatangaoteopetauaawahiao. There, we seat over surprisingly hot stones with steamed landscapes in front. This is a magical place.


   The last thing to do on this long day is plugging our motorhomes in the nearest Park: Rotorua Thermal Holyday Park (), belonging to the Kiwi franchise, where we can enjoy a bath in their hot pools. All of us get inside the water until the neck with a sea of stars above. We don’t want to go out from here.