Saturday, November 09, 2013

Sunday, 11/10/13 Tauranga and Mt. Maunganui, New Zealand

Sunday, 11/10/13 Tauranga and Mt. Maunganui, New Zealand

The ship docked in the small town of Mount Maunganui, and Tauranga was another 10 minute drive from there.  The population of Tauranga is about 120,000; it is New Zealand’s leading export port and the fastest growing provincial area in New Zealand, tripling is size in the past 20 years.  Nearby, Rotorua is the oldest and best known resort city in New Zealand, with thermal pools used for relaxation by many New Zealanders.  However, these thermal pools have the smell of hydrogen sulfide (rotten eggs).

Took the Hop on/Hop off bus, which had stops in both Mt. Maunganui and Tauranga.  Got off the bus in Tauranga and walked the two streets in the downtown area.  As it was Sunday, many of the stores were closed, and really none of the stores held much interest.  The little town area was beside the bay, and a boat show was being held; however, there was a charge for admission, and I did not enter.  After walking for an hour, I reboarded the bus and returned to Mt. Maunganui.

Mt. Maunganui is a typical beach resort town.  There is only one “main” street filled with shops and cafes.  Every shop was open, and it seemed that most of the people from the ship as well as many townspeople and other visitors were there, browsing and enjoying the warm sunshine.  After walking the length of the street, turned toward the beach area to walk along the beach, which was very pretty and very pleasant.  It was filled!  I am assuming that most of the people at the beach were either local residents or New Zealand visitors; I doubt that anyone from the ship was at the beach.  After walking the length of the beach, turned back toward the ship, stopping at an ice cream shop that made its own waffle cones.  They would not take Australian or American money, so I got change at a shop next door, exchanging a $20 Australian for $20 New Zealand.  The woman expressed surprise that I would make an even exchange as the Australian money was worth more; however, I didn’t mind.  I did not want to go to an ATM machine and get $100 because the following day would be the last day in New Zealand.  The ice cream was very tasty as I walked along the beach back toward the ship.  This beach was in a different bay, and as the water was very shallow, it was filled with families with very small children.

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