Centrally located in the Bay of Plenty and home to a deep water harbor, the port of Tauranga is a popular cruise hub with over 85 ships arriving every year. The port is actually located in the township of Mt Maunganui, a laid-back beach town set 4.3 miles (7 km) from the streets of downtown Tauranga. In addition to serving as the home base for visitors arriving by cruise, the port is also offers convenient access to day trips to Rotorua, where steaming geysers and geothermal wonders make for an otherworldly landscape.
How to Get to Tauranga
From the cruise ship dock at Salisbury Wharf, it’s only a five-minute walk into Mt Maunganui. While many cruise lines provide shuttles to the town's i-SITE Visitor Information Centre, all of Mt Maunganui's main attractions are within a 10-minute radius of the cruise port. To reach Tauranga, you can either take a 20-minute ride on the Bay Hopper bus, or cut the drive to only 10 minutes by hopping in a private taxi. If you'd like to continue traveling by water, use the ferry service available between Salisbury Wharf and the Tauranga waterfront.
One Day in Tauranga
Visitors with a day at the Port of Tauranga have two different options for how to spend the day: Explore the communities of Tauranga and Mt. Maunganui, or take a shore excursion to the city of Rotorua.
For those who choose to stay in town, start the day by grabbing a bite at a café in Mt. Maunganui. This is “surf city” for the Bay of Plenty, and the beach town vibe and consistent waves create an artsy and laidback community. Follow the road north towards “The Mount” beach for a look at the shoreline and surfers, and those who are feeling particularly fit can make the climb to the top of “The Mount.” This 750-foot promontory offers panoramic views looking out over the beach and back towards the city of Tauranga, and it’s the perfect place to stretch your legs and enjoy an hour-long hike. After you’ve soaked up the Maunganui beach scene, head to The Strand in downtown Tauranga for the dining, entertainment, and shops.
While Tauranga might be one of the fastest-growing cities in New Zealand, a visit to the historic Brain Watkins house provides a glimpse of 19th-century New Zealand. Constructed out of native kauri wood, the house is still in the exact same order as it was over 130 years ago.
For those heading to Rotorua, the shore excursion to the geothermal playground will likely occupy the whole day. Given Rotorua’s large population of Maori, try to find a tour which combines the thermals with a visit to a Maori marae.
Since Salisbury Wharf is in such close proximity to the center of
Mt. Maunganui, a full range of ATM and currency exchanges are located
within walking distance of the port. The currency is Tauranga is the New
Zealand dollar, and the language spoken is a Kiwi dialect of English.