Cruising Through New Zealand: Exploring Bay of Plenty and Hobbiton Adventure


Cruising Through New Zealand: Exploring Bay of Plenty and Hobbiton Adventure

Welcome back to our exciting journey through New Zealand on our P&O cruise! On this leg of our adventure, we made our second stop at the Port of Tauranga in the stunning Bay of Plenty region, specifically Mount Maunganui. Located just 1km from the township of Mount Maunganui and 7km from Tauranga city, this port offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and cultural exploration.

As we disembarked from the ship, we were warmly greeted by friendly and helpful locals who were eager to offer assistance and provide maps. Our first stop was Mount Maunganui's Main Beach, which was just a short five-minute walk from the port. With its pristine sands and picturesque waterfront walks, this beach was a perfect spot to start our day. For those in the mood for a leisurely stroll, turning left from the port leads to the Pilot Bay harbour area, while turning right takes you to the scenic walks around Mauao, the iconic hill at the opposite end of the port. The sweeping views of the surrounding area from Mauao are simply breathtaking.

After enjoying some time by the beach, we ventured into Mount Maunganui's main street to grab a coffee and explore the local shops. Kim even managed to pick up a few bargains, adding a touch of excitement to our day.

Next, we headed back to the port for our highly anticipated tour to Hobbiton and Middle‑earth. This iconic filming location is a dream come true for Tolkien fans and an immersive experience for all visitors. However, if you're intrigued by the movie-making geniuses that brought Middle‑earth to life, a visit to the Wētā Workshop Experience in Wellington is a must. This guided tour offers a behind-the-scenes look at the movie magic that made these films come to life.

Our guided tour to Hobbiton began with a scenic drive through a picturesque 1,250-acre sheep farm, offering stunning views of the Kaimai Ranges. As we journeyed through the hilly landscape, we spotted the colorful Hobbit Hole doors, including the famous Bag End, home to Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. Arriving at Bagshot Row, we were treated to a glimpse of the interior of a humble Hobbit's home, capturing the essence of the Middle‑earth experience.

Continuing along the pathways, we passed The Millhouse and crossed the enchanting double-arch stone bridge. We finally arrived at the world-famous Green Dragon  Inn, where we savored a complimentary exclusive beverage from the Hobbit Southfarthing range, bringing our Middle‑earth  adventure to a delightful conclusion.

It was indeed a spectacular day filled with awe-inspiring landscapes and childhood dreams brought to life. As the day drew to a close, our tour bus took us back to the Wharf, and we sailed off into the mesmerizing sunset, heading towards our next port of Napier.

Exploring Bay of Plenty and indulging in the magical world of Hobbiton was an extraordinary experience that left us wanting more of New Zealand's natural wonders and cinematic marvels. From the pristine beaches to the captivating film sets, this journey has only just begun, and we can't wait to see what awaits us in Napier, our next destination. Join us as we continue to uncover the beauty and adventures of this incredible country on our unforgettable cruise through New Zealand.

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