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Tauranga - Hobbiton - No Tours Available

Host Jazzbeau

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We also had a tour with Clem a few days ago. A little wires crossed about pick up time as they suggested by email a number of times that the pickup be 0700 (as our ship scheduled arrival time changed to earlier a couple months previous) which we confirmed but they were not at the port at that time when we arrived. Another local tour operator called them and both Clem and Judy arrived shortly. All the tour operators know each other and it is a small local area. There was another couple booked onto our same tour and they had been told 0800 pickup. It all worked out and we really enjoyed our visit to the Te Puia geothermal area and Hobbiton. The countryside is very picturesque. I would suggest to make sure you have pickup and tour details reconfirmed just before your tour date.  

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We toured with Clem less than 2 weeks ago, although not to Hobbiton.  I was happy with the experience, and also grateful that CJays offered (pre-cruise) to drive us with luggage to Auckland airport after our touring in the Rotorua area.  We looked at car rental, but decided against that and took CJay's offer. 


We were scheduled to dock at 9 in Tauranga, got there a bit early, and the ship was cleared a few minutes after 9.   We had made arrangements to leave in Tauranga instead of the next day's port (Auckland), and NZ authorities requested a face to face meeting with us with luggage  and 7 other people doing the same thing.  That was done on the ship before it was cleared and took about 10 minutes for the 9 of us.  After that we left the ship and headed out to meet Clem.  It was kind of a long, slow walk to get to where the vendors meet cruisers, made slower by the fact that we were pulling our over-packed 35 days and 3 countries' worth of luggage.  (The ship helped us get it down the gangplank, but then of course we were on our own.)  When we got beyond the port gates, we saw vendors waiting in a circle with names.  I scanned the names and didn't see ours, so stood there still talking to our newly-made cruise friends, who were heading off on their own adventures.  Then I realized there was at least one person standing next to a van with a sign that I couldn't read.  It was Clem. 


We toured, going first along the traffic-heavy but nice beach area in Tauranga down to the kiwi farm (brief stop), and then Waiotapu and Rotorua.  I messed up, couldn't remember what places I'd indicated I wanted to go on our somewhat customized tour (hadn't looked at my notes for 34 days!), and misunderstood that the planned lunch stop was to be at Te Puia.  I managed to tell Clem we weren't all that interested in TePuia since we had seen geysers before in our own country.  I wasn't really connecting the dots that there would be time to do both TePuia and Waiotapu and what I wanted to see in Rotorua.  


In any case, we had a wonderful day, and the only reason I'm writing this long story is to let you know:

1. If you don't see anyone holding a sign with your name, check the parking lot (to your left)!

2.  If there's anything you don't understand in what you receive from Cjay's, ask!

3.  Ship arrival times DO often change pre- or during a cruise; stay on top of changes and coordinate with Cjays!

4.  There's a 5 minute walk from the ship to where you meet the vendors.  

5.  Very little food is allowed off the ship in New Zealand; however, packaged "confections" are allowed, so if you're diabetic, no worries!



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