The funky coastal city of Tauranga and the inland geothermal wonderland of Rotorua offer something to delight every visitor.

Tauranga's Mount Maunganui is an idyllic beach and popular holiday spot. In geothermal Rotorua, boiling mud pools, geysers and natural hot springs offer a unique and memorable experience. Tauranga and Rotorua are both rich in Māori history. Cruise ships dock in Tauranga and many offer optional day trips to Rotorua, which is approximately 1 hours' drive from the Port of Tauranga.

Bay of Plenty
Sunrise on Mt Maunganui, Bay of Plenty

Popular onshore activities in Tauranga and Rotorua


  • Take a surfing lesson or just relax at the golden-sand beach of Mount Maunganui. If you're full of energy - climb 'the mount' (about an hour's walk), or if you need to unwind, enjoy a soak in the saltwater hot pools.
  • Head to Tauranga city for exciting shopping and delicious waterfront dining; or go beyond the city to see the natural beauty of McLaren Falls and the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park.
  • The area around Tauranga produces some of the best kiwifruit and avocados in the world. Buy some from a local market stall.


  • Check out Rotorua's geothermal wonders - natural hot springs, boiling mud pools, geothermal vents and geysers.
  • Experience Maori culture - meet the local Maori people and see a traditional Maori haka, try flax weaving or experience a hangi (a Maori cooking method using hot rocks and steam to cook under the ground).
  • Get adventurous! Raft the rivers or horse trek. ‘Luge’ down a Rotorua hillside in a three-wheeled toboggan, or roll down the slopes inside a transparent plastic orb, known as a ZORB.

Getting around

Cruise ships arriving into the Bay of Plenty region berth at the Port of Tauranga, 1km from the township of Mount Maunganui, and 7km (4.2 miles) from Tauranga city.

Upon arrival you will be greeted by friendly and helpful locals who will supply you with maps and information as well as important information such as where to find money changing facilities.

The shops, cafés and golden-sand beach of nearby Mount Maunganui are within walking distance, and many cruise lines also offer shuttles to the Bay of Plenty i-SITE Visitor Information Centre, located in the middle of the township.

If you want to travel down the road to the city of Tauranga you can catch a bus or a taxi, which will take around 10 minutes’ of drive time. Check with your cruise ship for shuttle services from the pier into Tauranga city centre.

Rotorua is approximately 1 hours' drive (86km/53.4miles) from the Port of Tauranga and numerous options are available for trips to this geothermal region; these include guided shore excursions or shuttle services through your cruise line. You may also like to book an independent tour, or if you prefer to travel at your own pace, consider getting a rental vehicle for the day.

On foot

The township of Mount Maunganui is five minutes’ walk from the Port of Tauranga. Exit the port and head right to Mount Maunganui’s stunning Main Beach and waterfront walks. Turn left to walk along the Pilot Bay harbour area and to the scenic walks around and up Mauao (the hill at the opposite end of the port).

Public buses

From Mount Maunganui you can catch the Bay Hopper to all parts of Tauranga city. The trip costs $3.20 one-way, or you can buy a day-pass for NZ$6.30. Route information can be found at in new window) or freephone 0800 422 928.


In Tauranga or Mount Maunganui, a good option is Tauranga Mount Taxis. Contact them on (07) 578 6086 or visit in new window).

In Rotorua, you can contact Rotorua Taxis on (07) 348 1111 to book a cab.

Car rental

It’s a good idea to book rental cars in advance. Find a rental car in Tauranga.

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