(September 13, 2012) Bay of Plenty: Tauranga and Rotorua
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
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.
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
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”.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.