The sun was shining as we docked in Tauranga, and everyone was up early for our 0730 departure. Our guests had two options for the morning’s activities. The first was a kayak tour of Rotoiti Lake to visit the hot springs and make a quick visit to a small cave where we managed to see glowworms. (Fun fact: glow worms are actually maggots. The ‘glow’ is from their poop.) A bit of wind made for a decent workout on the way out, but it provided a helping hand on the way back.
The other activity was a visit to Te Puia’s thermal reserve, home to the spouting pohutu geyser, pools of boiling mud, and dramatic steam vents. A Maori guide shared local tales and legends during the tour. Next, we were taken to the Kiwi Conservation Centre to hear about the captive breeding program to boost kiwi numbers. The real highlight of this trip, however, was a visit to Te Puia’s Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, where we learned about the program that works to conserve and pass on the skills and culture of the Maori to the next generations. Our trip finished with an incredible meal (where many of us may have overeaten). At least we managed to sleep it off during our bus ride back to the ship!