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We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Rotorua with Tauranga Tasting Tours, which was booked through Viator. We were greeted at the port gate after we got off the ship, and were introduced to our guide, Dave. Our guide was knowledgeable and informative, and he was such a friendly, fun guy. We had a small group of 13 and traveled in a comfortable, air-conditioned van. We viewed the Maori cultural dance, visited the geysers amazing!, saw the mud baths, the kiwi bird house, and various Maori buildings in the mock village. We then had a nice lunch at the lake not included in the price, and later stopped at a kiwi fruit farm. The visit there was a little touristy, but it was interesting to see how the kiwi fruit grows. We made our way back to the ship, arriving as scheduled. I would highly recommend this trip--it seems as though we saw the same things we would have on the ship's tour at a fraction of the cost. We were very pleased with the arrangements and everything went without a hitch.
Nice to travel in a small group with Paul as our guide. He was very informative and made the drive to and from Rotorua interesting as well as explaining what we were seeing at our destination.
An amazing tour! Our tour guide Dave was exceptional, he was friendly and informative. Rates as one of our best tours in New Zealand.
An amazing experience. Our tour guide Dave was fantastic and nothing was a trouble to him. He is so knowledgeable and had a great friendly way of explaining everything there is to see along the way. This was out first experience booking a tour in NZ and it certainly won't be our last. Highly recommended
We were passengers on a Princess cruise ship and had no trouble meeting up with the tour guide at the head of the dock. We did have to wait a bit for them to accrue additional passengers from the iSite information center to fill up the bus. There were two cruise ships at port that morning with a Celebrity ship in addition to our Princess ship. The guide was friendly, helpful and easy to understand. His voice was piped over speakers so people in the back of the bus could hear. This looked like an 18 seater with 12 passengers, so we were not crowded or uncomfortable. The drive to Rotorua took a scenic route around Tauranga and beaches, then headed through rolling hills with sheep and cattle. At one point we pulled over where you could see the ships in the distance, but new construction of houses had partially obstructed that view. We then descended into Rotorua through some canyons, with views of the lake. It was nice to have our guide take us through the Te Puia center, showing us the highlights and we were fortunate to arrive during an eruption of the geyers. We never felt rushed and he did point out things that we would otherwise might have overlooked. The Maori cultural show was also excellent, with very professional and engaging performers. They had a tiny kiwi house with one female on display, but it was pitch black inside, and I couldn't see the fellow in front of me, let alone anything running around inside the small pitch black enclosure. Many people said they did have fleeting glimpses of the kiwi. I just didn't have adequate night vision to see, and neither did my wife. They did have a stuffed kiwi and stoat on exhibit though. The drive through the government gardens with narration was nice, but we didn't stop to get out or walk. Lunch at the lakeside was pleasant, but for Americans, if you order fish and chips, you have to buy ketchup for the fries Chips and it's a weird tomato sauce that tastes of cloves. You might save the money and use salt and pepper. The drive to and back from Tauranga is long, and we were glad to have someone else do it for us, especially since they drive on the left side of the road in New Zealand. As Americans, we would have gotten ourselves killed trying to do the drive ourselves. The Kiwi farm visit was brief but interesting. We had not seen the golden kiwi varieties before, but they ran out of ice cream for purchase. The drive back is along a motorway, but the scenery is similar, and conducive to a restful snooze. The guide was mindful of providing adequate bathroom stops for anyone on the bus and gave directions to the facilities at each stop. We got back to the ship with plenty of time to spare. Booking through Viator did save , and our tour bus was smaller than the Princess Cruise excursion buses.
Many thanks to our tour guide Dave who gave us a great tour, and is a wealth of knowlege. The tour was well worth what we paid for. Travelling the back route to Rotorua was very pleasant. The highlight of the tour was the thermal springs and the Maori village with its cultural display. Dave took us to a cafe next to Lake Rotorua where we had an enjoyable lunch. All in all a great day.
Our tour guide was very knowledgable and the places we visited were amazing. We got to see bubbling mud, geisers, a real live kiwi and a Mauri village and dance performance
Small group a great day
Michelle M F Australia
Great tour, Dave was a fantastic guide who walked with us through the sites and provided additional commentary based on local knowledge. Had all the show timings mapped out and organised to ensure we could get to everything and back on the ship in time. Great suggestions for local lunch spot with a view and had a table already booked. great job.
Impromptu farewell from Tauranga by local's in boats and lining the shores as ship departed was one of the highlights of the cruise. Thanks Tauranga.
Michelle M F Australia
Dave the tour guide was outstanding. Knew the timings to ensure we saw the attractions, walked with us through the attractions providing additional local knowledge/commentary. Had good suggestions for lunch spot with a view and table booked at the Cafe. Great tour, well organised.
Excellent mini bus tour and good value compared to cruise line shore excursion offered. Guide gave thorough and educational commentary and answered questions etc from travellers. A great way to see theRotorua highlights.
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