These “sheltered waters”, the meaning of the name Tauranga in Maori, will also shelter you while on an MSC World Cruise in New Zealand.
The city extends along a narrow peninsula dotted with parks and gardens lying behind a vibrant promenade, The Strand. Tauranga is a delightful city in which you can spend half a day wandering around between shops, restaurants and art galleries. If you miss the ocean, you can take a taxi to Mount Maunganui, the name of both the mountain that protects the port of Tauranga and the district overlooking the Pacific, with its long sandy beach and surfers.
One of the city's main attractions is the Tauranga Art Gallery, which opened in 2007. The gallery is housed in a former bank that was transformed inside by creating large exhibition spaces; the exterior is completely sheathed with metal panels, similar to those of medieval armour. On The Strand, there is an ad hoc structure that houses the Te Awanui, a 14-metre long carved Maori war canoe used during ritual ceremonies; it is a truly remarkable example of New Zealand’s indigenous art. If you want to relax, seek out the roses and Begonias in Robbins Park, or if you prefer to dive into the past of Tauranga, there’s nothing better than a visit to the immaculate Elms Mission House, one of New Zealand's oldest standing houses, built between 1835 and 1847 for the first missionaries. A visit to this house, which still has its original furniture, is part of an MSC tour that ensures that you don’t miss out on anything in Tauranga.
If you want to go further afield, about 70 km inland you can visit Tudor-style spa bath houses and the Government Gardens near the town of Rotorua, which are well worth a visit, as are the Glow-Worm Waitomo Caves and the Hobbiton Movie Set, where Peter Jackson reconstructed J.R.R Tolkien’s County for his The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.