Things to do in
Tauranga

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Our most recommended things to do in Tauranga

From Tauranga: Half-Day Dolphin and Wildlife Cruise

1. From Tauranga: Half-Day Dolphin and Wildlife Cruise

Meet at the Tauranga waterfront jetty and board your vessel. Relax as you leave the city behind and spend the cruise exploring the pristine Bay of Plenty coastline and islands. Watch seasonal seabirds, penguins, seals, whales, sunfish, school fish, sharks, orca, and even turtles. Passenger numbers are limited for comfort and to enable a more personal experience. The large spacious boat is also ideal for families. The Captain and experienced crew will be more than happy to share their marine knowledge with you and will provide fascinating commentary and point out all that they see so you won’t miss a thing. You can also enjoy a drink from the onboard bar as you relax and soak up the sun. Don’t forget your camera as you are able to get up close to wildlife, making it a photographers dream for those once in a lifetime snaps. You will return to Tauranga by 2:00, giving you the rest of the day to explore this beautiful region, the Bay of Plenty, or continue your travels.

From Tauranga: Half Day Swimming with Dolphins Tour

2. From Tauranga: Half Day Swimming with Dolphins Tour

Step aboard a purpose-built dolphin-viewing vessel and embark on a wild encounter with the ocean's most fascinating creatures. After meeting your crew at the dock, set off into the open water to several well-known dolphin spotting locations, all the while maintaining a respectful distance. With a crew filled with experience sea-farers and dolphins-watchers, trust that your experience will be thrilling, informative, and above all, humane to the dolphins.  The sunshine capital of New Zealand, the "Bay of Plenty" is home to diverse and spectacular sea life from majestic dolphins and orca to the beautiful fur seals, penguins and marine birds. As you travel from spot to spot, keep your eyes peeled for the plethora of marine life that call the bay home. With your expert crew, you’ve got a great chance to to find a pod of dolphins with which you can swim—which is, without question, a magical experience.

Tauranga: Hobbiton & Rotorua Geysers Shore Excursion

3. Tauranga: Hobbiton & Rotorua Geysers Shore Excursion

Join a small-group shore excursion from Tauranga to explore North Island's top attractions. Experience geysers, mud pools and steam vents with Maori culture and visit the real Middle-earth at the Hobbiton Movie Set. You will be picked up from Tauranga Port, dependent on your ship's arrival time, and journey to Rotorua. For centuries Whakarewarewa village has been home to the Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao people.This is a unique location with the largest geyser in the southern hemisphere and an official Maori guide will meet you for your visit. Encounter a strange landscape of sights, sounds and smells and marvel at the way the Maori's have tamed this land for their own purpose.  Here you'll get the chance to see the iconic Kiwi bird in a purpose made Kiwi bird enclosure. Admire boiling mud pools, native bush, and the National Schools of Wood Carving and Weaving. Then depart Rotorua and its geothermal wonderland to travel to the second venue of your tour, Hobbiton Movie Set!   Discover the magic on a guided tour with an official guide for an experience to tantalise your senses. Find yourself engulfed in the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of The Shire, at the home of the Hobbits, as featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies.  After your tour, enjoy a complimentary drink in the Green Dragon (either alcoholic beer or non-alcoholic ginger beer) that is included in your tour.  You will be returned to Tauranga Port, guaranteed to be back in plenty of time for your ship's departure.

Tauranga: 5.5-Hour Te Puia Geysers Shore Excursion

4. Tauranga: 5.5-Hour Te Puia Geysers Shore Excursion

Join a 5.5-hour small-group shore excursion from the port of Tauranga in a luxury air-conditioned vehicle. Explore the marvels this land holds as well as the forces beneath its crust whilst encountering hot bubbling mud pools and erupting geysers. You'll encounter Pohutu, the largest geyser in the southern hemisphere, which has steam rising from every crevice. You will also be in awe as you spot the iconic kiwi bird in its special darkened enclosure, and will learn how the locals protect these extraordinary endangered birds. Get a deeper understanding of Maori art and tradition by listening to stories and legends which have been passed down over generations. Afterwards, watch master woodcarvers and artisans trained in the intricate art of weaving flax, with Te Puia housing the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute since the 1920s. After leaving Te Puia you will drive through Rotorua past the Tudor style museum and government gardens. On your way back to port you'll make a final stop at a working kiwi fruit orchard to learn how this wondrous fruit became established in New Zealand. It's surprisingly not a native plant, but an interesting story will explain this all. You will have the chance to taste test different varieties, along with learning a little knowledge about why this fruit thrives there. Once done at the kiwi orchard, you will be returned back to the ship with plenty of time to spare.

From Tauranga Port: Hobbiton Movie Set Tour Shore Excursion

5. From Tauranga Port: Hobbiton Movie Set Tour Shore Excursion

Take a trip through Middle Earth on a small-group shore excursion to the Hobbiton Movie Set from Tauranga. Located in the heart of the Waikato region, you can step into the world of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. See the original location which was rebuilt for the latest Hobbit films. This was the original setting for Peter Jackson’s famous trilogy "The Lord of the Rings". Learn about how this location was chosen and how it was constructed, plus which scenes were filmed here. Wander around the vegetable patches were Hobbits grow their food, with giant pumpkins lying around! Walk by the Mill and the famous Party Tree. Indulge in a complimentary beverage from the Hobbit Southfarthing range, which encompasses two traditional ales, an apple cider or non-alcoholic ginger beer, all handcrafted and exclusive to the Hobbiton Movie Set. You also have a delicious range of traditional fayre available for purchase for lunch. Enjoy your food and drink in a comfortable armchair by the roaring fire or in the beer garden, overlooking the enchanting village.

Tauranga: Rotorua Geysers & Polynesian Spa Shore Excursion

6. Tauranga: Rotorua Geysers & Polynesian Spa Shore Excursion

Join a small-group shore excursion from Tauranga to explore Rotorua's geothermal valley. Marvel at geysers, mud pools and steam vents with Maori culture and visit the Polynesian Spa for a rejuvenating experience. You will be picked up from Tauranga Port, dependent on your ship's arrival time, and journey to Rotorua.  Here you will experience the very best of Rotorua and stop at the Whakarewarewa Valley (with geysers, steam vents and mud pools). Your small group will have an official Maori guide and will experience a fascinating tour of the valley. Learn about Maori culture while watching a traditional Maori cultural performance. Observe the legendary Pōhutu Geyser, the largest geyser in the southern hemisphere, which can erupt to a height of 100 feet (30-meters) and as often as 20 times per day.   Next, enjoy a two-course lunch at one of Rotorua's highly regarded restaurants followed by tea or coffee (with a choice of menu). You will then head to The Polynesian Spa, a geothermal bathing and soul soothing retreat. Renowned for its healing waters and decadent therapies, you can experience the private elite facilities of the Polynesian Spa’s geothermal hot mineral waters. The slightly acidic Priest Spring waters relieve tired muscles, aches and pains, while the alkaline waters of the Rachel Spring nourish the skin.  You will be returned to Tauranga Port, guaranteed to be back in plenty of time for your ship's departure, after a decadent day of discovery and luxury pleasures. 

Rotorua: Geothermal Valley Shore Excursion with Lunch

7. Rotorua: Geothermal Valley Shore Excursion with Lunch

Benefit from pickup at Tauranga port, and take a scenic drive around Mount Maunganui to take in the sights. Enjoy beautiful views of the lakes and forests, along with the first hints of geothermal activity. Arrive at a Maori village in Rotorua, and get a warm welcome from a local guide. Experience the Maori way of life and learn how they use the natural resources to cook, bathe, and heat their homes. View the geothermal wonders of the Whakarewarewa valley, and watch an amazing cultural performance. Savor a 2-course lunch at one of Rotorua's acclaimed restaurants, with unlimited tea and coffee. Take a leisurely drive along the lakefront, and stop to admire the giant redwood trees in the forest. Learn about the silver fern and its relevance as a symbol of New Zealand. Next, visit a working kiwi fruit orchard to learn how it became established in New Zealand. Taste different varieties and discover numerous products made from the fruit.

Hobbiton Movie Set Shore Excursion from Tauranga

8. Hobbiton Movie Set Shore Excursion from Tauranga

Depart from the Port of Tauranga, and begin your journey along Pilot Bay towards the wonderful Mount Maunganui beach. Take photos and hear local facts from your guide along the way. Then, travel to The Shire, home of Bilbo Baggins and his friends. Get a meet and greet at the Hobbiton Movie Set by your official guide. Take a guided tour filled with fun facts, insider stories, and many photo opportunities. Next, sit back and enjoy a drink at the Green Dragon Inn.  Return towards Tauranga, and visit a few special spots along the way for breathtaking views over the Matamata-Piako Plains. Visit the local park to appreciate the beauty of its lake, paddocks, mature trees, and the wonderful wildlife that dwells within its boundaries.

Okere Falls: Zipline over Waterfalls Experience

9. Okere Falls: Zipline over Waterfalls Experience

Are you ready to soar over waterfalls, zoom through pristine native forests, and be enlightened through a hands-on cultural and ecological experience in Okere Falls, Rotorua? If so, then Rotorua Ziplines has you covered. Suitable for a wide range of ages and abilities, a network of ziplines, swing bridges, and boardwalks will have you in awe for 2.5 hours as you fly, walk and gaze at the stunning taiao (Environment) that is Ōkere. Born through an intimate connection with the Ōkere Awa (Kaituna River), this joint venture between Ngāti Hinerangi and Rotorua Rafting’s Ōkere Falls born and bred, Sam Sutton, has been created to showcase its mauri (spirit) and importance with Aotearoa’s soon to be premier zipline experience. End the experience with a tree in your name as the Rotorua Ziplines reforestation project plant it's way towards 60,000 native trees by the end of 2025 to see Ōkere Falls thrive for generations to come.

Tauranga Self-Guided Audio Tour

10. Tauranga Self-Guided Audio Tour

Download a vibrant MP3 self-guided audio tour combined with a fully detailed map of the area of your tour. Immerse yourself in the historic and picturesque city of Tauranga, the arrival point of the Māori in New Zealand. In this audio tour, you will explore the beautiful waterfront and hear the tales of how the Māori crossed the Pacific Ocean in the Arawa Canoe. Visit the Monmouth Redoubt with its old cannon to learn about the battles between the natives and the European colonists at The Elms Missionary. You will also see the Strand, Robbins Park, the Mission Cemetery, the Tauranga Domain Wharepai Reserve, the Old Post Office, the Art Gallery and Brian Watkins House. A diverse and interesting tour with lots of Māori history, myths and legends. This tour takes the frustration out of not knowing what to do, where to go or how to get there. Your tour. Your way.

Other Sightseeing Options in Tauranga

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What people are saying about Tauranga

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 207 reviews

Buddy was a caring and careful driver who provided reasonable commentary during our journeys to Hobbiton & Rotorua Geysers where there were separate guides. It was a good full day excursion covering the major attractions in the area and well suited for cruise ship travellers.

Really interesting excursion. Maori village was excellent experience. Also enjoyed time at spa. Lunch was excellent. Large portions! Nice spot. Driver Natalie was good and provided good information throughout bus ride.

Was a great experience. I he crew were awesome and got to see something magical that is a once in a life time thing. Would happily go again to see more wonderful sea creatures

It was a wonderful day the driver was very informative and the guide that took us through the park where the geysers and mud pits were was great.

This was a great experience and i would recommend it to anyone who would love to get up close to nature