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Hi! We are going to Tauranga on the Solstice next January. One of the ladies on our roll call is in the process of putting together a tour. We are trying to figure out which would be a better itinerary....
Waiotapu, Kiwi 360, Jet Boat Ride, and maybe Okere Falls or
Waiotapu, Waimangu, Jet Boat Ride
The Jet Boat Ride is 1/2 hour.
Has anyone been to Kiwi 360? Is it a tourist trap?
How about Waiotapu or Waimangu? Which would you recommend?
Waiotapu is fabulous, totally recommend. A place I would visit again and again. Advise you to head there first, as the main geyser is blowing at 10am by memory. Fabulous mud pools (free) to see on the way in/out of Waiotapu....well sign posted. Yes, the Kiwi 360 is touristy, but you could see it in 15 minutes.... large shop, bit on expensive side. I personally would give that a miss. Okere Falls is easy to visit on the way back from Rotorua, being 1 minute off the main road (on the left). Main road from Rotorua back to port gets busy from 3pm on, re lots of workers returning from Rotorua to Tauranga....allow extra time. Mt Manganui in itself is fabulous. The last time we were over there, last Nov, we headed straight for Waiotapu, had lunch back in Rotorua and a bit of a look around, saw Okere Falls again, left there around 2.30pm and had plenty of time to walk around Mt Manganui (nice shops, nice beach, great area in all).
We went to Kiwi 360 last cruise and found it quite interesting as we had never thought about how kiwifruit grow. We had morning tea at the cafe before being let loose at the shop and yes, it is quite expensive. I bought some Feijoa jam which I hadn't seen anywhere else (we used to have a tree in the garden when we lived in NZ and they are delicious).
We also visited Elms Mission House which I thought was very interesing as I have a love for history. There's not much to do in Tauranga, but at Mount Maunganui it is nice to walk around or up the Mount and visit the surf beach.
I, too, think there are more interesting things to do and see a bit further away.
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