On a Princess cruise from New Zealand to Australia, our best single day was spent in Tauranga (Rotorua), a thermal area, thanks to Grumpy's Transfers & Tours. Our guide, Grumpy (yes, that's his real name), is a resident of Rotorua, a town built in a volcanic crater. With six of us traveling together, we were able to book his van for the entire day with an open agenda. He suggested some spots and offered us choices on others.He was waiting for us at the dock and timed our first stop for the local kiwi farm. It was a pleasant surprise, as we were able to see how the kiwis are grown and then taste gold kiwis, kiwi wine, kiwi liqueurs, and various other kiwi products. Grumpy filled us in on the local geology as he took us through some exclusive neighborhoods. In Rotorua we were amazed to see steam vents and bubbling mud pots a few hundred feet from local homes. For our group, the take-out lunch at an award-winning fish and chips place was a highlight (eaten on a picnic table at the local rose garden). We chose to see a local sheep-shearing demonstration, as it was our only opportunity during the cruise to get a glimpse of New Zealand's big export industry. Regrettably, we had to pass on the chance to roll down the local hillside in a giant plastic ball or race one another on the bicycle monorail nearby. Maybe next trip. Grumpy finished by showing us some beautiful local lakes that include some of the finest trout-fishing areas in the world. By the time he was done, we were ready to get our poles and move to the area!
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