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Day Twelve – 2 January 2011 – Port Day Tauranga
Weather – Clear skies, sunny 26° Port day meant an early rise with the curtains open to see the view. Pete decided he would hit the showers first, and while I was sitting in bed waiting for him to finish shaving about just before 6am, the sun was just peeping over the horizon. So you guessed it – I told him to stop what he was doing and get out here dressed or not and grab the camera. He obeyed, much to my astonishment and managed to get some wonderful sunrise shots. It was the first time we had actually seen a decent sunrise and it was spectacular.
Sunrise over East Cape - looking East from the Bay of Plenty
Coming into port at Mount Manuganui just after 6am
This was going to be our big day, so we headed for disembarkation early in case we could get off. We could, and we were the first at 7.30am. Just as well as the gangway was high, long and quite steep. So with two staff in front and Pete behind we disembarked slowly down the gangway. It was a good move as I wouldn’t have like to have done it will hundreds of people breathing down our necks.
We had spotted Rite Price Rentals from our Balcony, so we knew where to head. The staff were great and we got sorted on our 12 seater van, however there was one glitch. The van we were to have had a puncture! That was quickly resolved – that van was taken off and we took the van behind!
We had planned for everyone to meet at me on the wharf by 8.30am. Kim and Rich were first to arrive at 7.45am, quickly followed by Violet & Charlie, Tom & Lynda, Lilia & Dave, and ‘the kids’ were last again appearing at 8.15, but to be fair they got caught behind a huge Princess Tour Group disembarking!
So we were off! Pete was the Tour Driver/Commentator for the day! We headed for Rotorua via Te Puke for our first stop – Hells Gate. Pete talked about the Kiwifruit industry and farming all the way. We soon discovered the van’s aircon didn’t work, so it was fresh air full!!
Kim and Rich
We had an hour at Hells Gate – we wandered with 2 couples, then half way through we let them go on further and started to walk back, and met up with the other three couples who had sped ahead. Back down by the main entrance Violet, Dave and Tom tried their hand at some Maori carving!
Next stop was to the Agrodome, for the 11am Sheep show. We went via the northern side of the lake and through Hamurana, stopping on the lake side at a small stream mouth to the lake. It was a photo opportunity across the lake, but the bonus was two fishermen in their waders fishing for trout, and a huge flock of black swans. Beautiful over looking the lake on a warm morning.
With Pete’s usual accuracy we arrived at the Agrodome 5 mins before the show was due to start. There were a couple of Princess Coach Load’s there, but it wasn’t packed to capacity thanks goodness. We had changed the plan as Pete thought the 2.30 show could be packed and getting out may make the trip back tight. They all enjoyed the show, with some going up to pat the sheep and sheepdogs.
By now we were all getting hungry, and it was really hot, so we headed for the lakefront for a lunch stop. When we arrived we found it was “Fair Day” on the green, so after a quick discussion it was decided we would stop for 1hr 40 and only go to Rainbow Springs, rather trying to get out to the Buried Village.
We wandered over to the Fair, and who should we find, but none other than Sarah C, which her stand of paintings. We had a great catch up and Sarah shot off and found Colin. Pete was hungry so we spotted a van selling hot dogs and chips so with food in hand we sheltered under a tree out of the sun. Don’t know what the temperature was but it was very hot! Walking back to the van through the stalls we spotted a cap made out of “Tui” Cans! – The perfect gift for Tom who had been banging on about beers all morning.
Back on the Lakefront we found most of our group assembled having had a meal of “Fish & Chips” and resting on the benches. Tom and Lynda appeared soon after, so back to the van we went. Before getting into the van we presented Tom with his hat, to peels of laughter and clapping. Tom was very pleased with his new hat!
Our last attraction was Rainbow Springs. Pete and I didn’t go in, as by now he had nearly lost his voice – very much out of practice! While our group were either there or over at the Skyline Ride we shot off to get something to ease Pete’s throat. When we got back we parked in the bus bay under a tree. But not for long – we were told to move as 8 buses were about to arrive. You guessed it – 8 bus loads from the Ship!!! It was a mad house, and we were glad we had arrived earlier! Violet, Charlie and Tom had gone up in the Gondola’s and when they got to the top they saw a huge queue to get on, so decided to play it safe, and stayed on and came straight back down! Turned out it was the 8 bus loads of Diamond Passengers!!!
It was time to start making our way back to Tauranga, so Pete decided the shorter route via Pyes Pa. As we had promised everyone a Hokey Pokey Ice Cream, the hunt was on for an Ice Cream shop! We certainly needed something as it was exceedingly hot. We finally found a shop open at Greerton on the way into Tauranga. So the dairy was inundated with 12 people all wanting ice creams at once, and I am sure we weren’t the only ones!
On arrival back at Mt Maunganui the traffic was madness. Pete hoped to go along Pilot Bay to get a photo of the ship from the bottom of the Mount, but that wasn’t going to happen. Besides it was 4.55pm and we still had to get Diesel and get back to the ship.
Finally found the Shell Service Station, so all bets were on in the back as to how much diesel we would need!! A grand total of $24.48! Cheap eh.
Back to the ship at 5.15pm – 15 minutes to spare. Three failed attempts for a group photo and we hurried on board. Quick discussion ensured in the lift foyer to arrange a meeting point for a photos at 6pm. I missed that Tom and Lynda were not there, so when we did assemble, we were 2 short – Kim promised to Photoshop them into a photo!!!
Left rear - Violet, Dave, Tom, Lynda Rich
Middle - Lillia, Kin, Jason
Front -Charlie, Pete, Marg, Kristi
Our last Sailaway out of Tauranga was amazing!!! People everywhere as it was a public holiday and it had been such a hot day. The little public wharf was groaning with people, all away along the beach was packed and even around the base of the Mount. Jet skis and boaties everywhere, with all but one heeding the ship’s horn to stay clear! A truly magnificent send off.
Julie and Dave were in our usual spot on deck for Sailaway, so once out of port we convened to decide where and what we would have for dinner. We opted for Burgers and Chips on our Balcony! Easy and we still had wine to drink!!!
Last evening shot from the Balcony as we leave Tauranga.
Besides we still had to finish packing the bags we started yesterday. Not sure when we fitted that in! But we had the final bits to do, as our bags had to be out the door at 7pm. Well we didn’t abide by that but we finally got it all done and out by about 8.30pm. Two bags, a backpack, the new blanket in its bag and the walker!!
Time for a last walk around the ship and dessert in the Horizon Court! Who should find us there, but Julie and Dave!!!
On the way back to our stateroom, we bumped into Tom and Lynda who tried to encourage us to stay for a show starting at 9.30, but we were far too done in, we were off to bed!