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Cruising Article –05/03/2012

Experience a thermal wonderland in Tauranga, New Zealand

Tauranga, New Zealand

The Maori people are among the most kind-hearted natives in all of Polynesia, and are eager to share their land with visitors on New Zealand cruises. Those who live in Tauranga, located in the aptly named Bay of Plenty, are masters of leisure and adventure activities, whether they want to spend a day at a natural hot spring or jump out of a plane for a thrilling skydive. Their land is sacred to them, and Princess passengers with a love for nature will undoubtedly feel right at home in this environmental oasis.

Be transported to a thermal world in Te Puia

Archaeologists have rebuilt a traditional Maori village at the Te Puia Thermal Reserve, where sulphuric mud baths and geysers permeate the air with the smell of hydrotherapeutic minerals. At the entrance to this geological park, a large amphitheater allows dozens of Princess passengers to sit comfortably and listen to the Maori legend of the Pohutu geyser, which goes off at least 20 times a day. While sitting on the wooden bleachers, those on a New Zealand shore excursion will feel the ground rumble beneath them as the pressure builds up for the spectacular explosion.

While wandering through the reserve with a Maori tour guide, visitors will learn about the native's fascinating folklore as they view boldly colored lakes and ponds. Because of the area's perpetual thermal activity, many of the small bodies of water in Te Puia are teeming with minerals and, as a result, are lime green, macaroni orange or aquamarine.

As the premier cultural center in New Zealand, Te Puia's small village, Pikirangi Maori was built to be a snapshot of pre-European society in Aotearoa (The Land of the Long White Cloud) and includes wooden homes, earth ovens and massive canoes.

Visit the sacred waters of Waiotapu

For nine fantastic hours, Princess passengers will have the chance to fully absorb the most active geothermal area in Tauranga at Waiotapu, which means "sacred waters" in Maori. Located near the volcanic area of Taupo, this thermal wonderland is similar to Te Puia with its colorful ponds and bubbling mud pools. The terrain exudes an almost martian-like atmosphere and families on New Zealand shore excursions will have countless opportunities to take unforgettable photos as they stand inches away from hot these eerie pools.

Further along the excursion, passengers will tour Lake Rotorua on the Lakeland Queen ferry, where they can sate themselves with a fabulous lunch buffet while gazing at the endless views of Mount Tongariro, which was used as the backdrop for Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Visitors should take a look skyward as parachuters make their way down from an exhilarating skydive, which is a popular activity among locals and tourists in the Taupo region.

Indulge in New Zealand's soothing minerals at the Polynesian Spa

New Zealand cruise vacations provide passengers with the option of indulging in a luxurious spa treatment at the Polynesian Lake Spa Retreat. After a long day of walking through the thermal regions of the Bay of Plenty, visitors can soak their bodies in a natural hot pool that is surrounded by lush New Zealand flora as they overlook Lake Rotorua while enjoying a cool and refreshing beverage.

Guests can also experience a soothing spa treatment, which range from hot stone massages to skin-enhancing mud baths.