WELCOME TO TAURANGA, New Zealand
Thank you Gilly. You are correct. Auckland is a terrific walking city.
We began last evening with a pre-dinner drink at the Crystal Cove. They held the muster drill for all newly embarking guests while we were there.
These are the dinner menus from Waterside.
We dined at the Italian Specialty Restaurant Prego. They revised the menu for this leg of the World Cruise and also added some new items to the menu.
One of them was the Pan Fried Fresh Barramundi which is a local fish. Keith had this entree and thought it was delicious. The fish along with the items which accompanied it made for a tasty entree. Anne Marie had a half-portion of the Veal.
This is the revised Prego Dinner menu.
The featured show last evening was Crystal In Motion.
We slept well as we sailed to our next port of call of Tauranga, New Zealand.
We enjoyed the views before sunrise and as we were making our way into port.
We began the day with our normal routine of a workout for Keith followed by Breakfast in our room.
Tauranga is the fifth most populous city in New Zealand with a population of 150,000 residents. It is a popular tourist area in the Summer. The ports play a major role in the export of kiwi fruit, timber and dairy products. It is also the gateway for Rotorua which is one of New Zealand's most famous attractions.
The last time we were here was in 2015 and we did a private tour with dear friends Bob and Glo.
The tour included:
Drive to the lake area of Rotorua and exploration of the Redwood Forest. The Redwood Trees are 115 years old and the seedlings came from the United States.
Visit to a very active geothermal area [Te Puia] which includes 2 of only 8 spontaneous geysers in the world, The geysers were unlike any we have ever seen such as at Yellowstone National Park or in Iceland. One of the Geysers goes on for almost 90 minutes at a time.
Visit to a genuine Maori village where boiling hot springs and fumaroles surround their homes.
Drive into Rotorua city visiting the government gardens seeing many hot spa's and further geothermal activity including steam vents gushing from peoples back yards.
One of the 2015 World Cruise shoreside events was also held that evening and was a Hobbiton. Unfortunately, we were unable to attend. We were determined to visit Hobbiton the next time we were here and this is precisely what we did today.
We had Crystal Cruises arrange a private tour for us.
We were met at the pier by a private car and driver,Peter, and taken to Shires Rest, the Movie set for an exclusive tour. We toured for ninety minutes by tour guide Hayden where we were met at the Green Dragon Inn by Russell Alexander, owner of the Farm where they shot the Lord of the Rings and Hobbiton trilogies. He joined us for lunch in the Marquee and then we were shown the behind the scenes of Hobbiton. This included the backstage where they make many of the items that are part of the set.
We learned so much about how the property was selected, when and how the movies were shot and all of the little details which went into the selection of the farm and the filming of each of the movies.
We forgot to get a photo with Russell. We did get one with the Chef who checked up on us a couple of times to be sure we enjoyed the meal. The meal was delicious.
Russell runs Hobbiton while his brother runs the large farm.
A couple of other items. This area is in need of rain as it has not rained other than a sprinkling for 45 days. This will be an issue if this continues including food for the sheep and cattle. 80% of the New Zealand Kiwis come from this area.
Tourism is a bit down right now given the Coronavirus.
This was an amazing day.
Following is the daily Reflections Program.
Anne Marie & Keith