There’s perhaps no finer way to see Tauranga than from a boat... and there’s no cheaper way to get out on the water. The cross-harbour ferry Spirit of Tauranga will begin its service on December 27th, running through to Easter Weekend. The first ferry leaves Edgewater Park along the Strand in Tauranga at 9 am (11 am on Sundays and public holidays). The last ferry of the day leaves Salisbury Wharf at Pilot Bay, Mount Maunganui, at 5:45 pm and arrives in Tauranga at 6:05pm. The adult fare is $8, seniors and children $5.
Bear in mind that Kiwi Coast Cruises also run sunset cruises on board Spirit, from December 27th. The two hour trips depart from Tauranga at 6.45 pm. For full details visit www.kiwicoastcruises.co.nz or phone Norrie McKenzie on cell 021-486 394.
Harbour bridge users may have spotted in the distance the gleaming white hull of The Ultimate Escape, brand new on the charter boat scene. This craft that moors off the Sebel Trinity Wharf, can accommodate up to 80 people for day cruises in the sheltered waters of Tauranga Harbour – or 6 guests overnight in ‘total luxury’ for extended cruises around New Zealand. The vessel is equipped with a full range of water sports toys, audiovisual equipment, chef’s galley and alfresco dining. The operators Craig and Patricia Armstrong, call this ‘pure luxury on the water. ’ For more details visit www.cruisenewzealand.co.nz
South Sea Vagabond, one of Tauranga’s best known dolphin-watching boats, an 18 metre sailing catamaran, has erected a new 25-metre mast. The addition means of course, the cat to sail without an engine, to create a quieter and more relaxing day out. Skipper Simon Hamer is Department Conservation licensed, and aside from dolphin encounters, offers evening cruises, corporate dinners, and winter jaunts to the Pacific Islands. For details, visit www.southseasailing.com.
Don’t forget Waimarino Adventure Park’s river boat cruises on the Wairoa River, a first for the region. The twin hull can cater for up to 40 passengers, and it includes a BBQ, spacious cabin and decks plus a CD player. The cruise options include a day tour from 2pm, and a sunset tour from 6pm. For more details visit www.waimarino.com
But Wait, There’s More...
The Western Bay has a big range of other marine-type tours on offer from dolphin and fishing trips, to luxury cruises. Check out BoTCom’s Water Activities section, or toddle along to the Tauranga iSITE for a handful of brochures. The iSITE combines an information centre and gift store, and there are also Internet terminals.