You will see
- All types of native birds of prey found in New Zealand.
- Forests and lakes
- Kiwi fruit orchards at KIWI360
- Mount Maunganui's famous golden sand beaches
- Rotorua lake and city centre sights
- Stunning scenery
- The New Zealand falcon flying
Once you have met your personal guide at the port gates, we board our transport [coach or minibus depending on group size] for a scenic drive to Rotorua, approximately 75 minutes from the port.
We travel along the beach front of Mount Maunganui where you pass the impressive homes of millionaires, with views along the sweeping coastline of the Bay of Plenty.
Heading inland along the coastal plains, we first come to Te Puke, famous as the birthplace of New Zealand's kiwi fruit industry. We make short stop at KIWI360 to see the vines growing and taste some of the produce from this amazing fruit.
Our route then climbs ever higher through both native and man made forests, to the lakes region of Rotorua, passing Lake Rotoiti and then the largest lake in the region, Lake Rotorua.
We take a short tour through Rotorua City to see some of the geothermal sights, along the lakefront and through the picturesque Government gardens, before heading out to Mamaku to start the "rail cruise".
Arriving at the rail head, you will be shown the individual rail cars [each seats 4 persons] that will take you on a Railway Cruise through forests and valleys. A short demonstration of how they operate and a simple safety briefing will see you soon on your way along this once forgotten stretch of track. A full commentary is provided in each rail car.
At the end of the run the cars are "turned" ready for the trip back up the valley, returning back to our starting point. Here there is time to enjoy a picnic, either your own or one that we can arrange for you, before we board the coach for a short transfer to our next destination, the only Falconry centre in New Zealand.
Set in a natural amphitheatre, with farm land surrounded by forests, a display is given using New Zealand's only falcon species, threatened New Zealand Falcon.
The age-old art of falconry is used as a method to prepare birds for release into the wild which is the aim of this charitable operation. The free flying falcons are passionately described as little "spitfires". You will be impressed by their fast flight, steep climbs and stoops to catch their prey.
At the end of the flying display you can look through the centres aviary where the birds are housed, have your photo taken holding one of the birds and learn more about the work the centre is doing to help conserve the birds of prey found in New Zealand.
We then head back to Tauranga, via an alternative route over the hills, through gorges and forests, to rejoin the ship.
If there are just a few of you interested in this tour and you would like to keep the costs down, then why not place a message on our "Tour Share" facility to find others on your ship to join you. You will first need to Register and create a "My Cruise" account. You could also post on sites like Cruise Critic or FaceBook.
- A chance to hold a falcon
- Comfortable transport
- Complimentary Tea and Coffee is available at the Rail Cruising Station
- Falconry flying display
- Full comentary throughout
- Rail Car cruise for 2 hours
- Any meals, but we do have a picnic option
- Tours depart at the time shown on the web site unless this conflicts with the ships ETA or ETD, in which case the tour will operate so that you are back in port at least one hour before sailing. Please meet us at least 15 minutes prior to the departure time.
- You need to be able to enter the rail cars using small steps
please contact us for a quotation for your group
How many people go in each rail car?
Each rail car seats four adults comfortably.
Are the rail cars easy to operate?
Yes, there is basically one lever [the handbrake] to operate, but full instructions are given.
Are the rail cars safe?
Yes totally, their speed is controlled by sensors at all times, they can not crash into each other as they have proximity sensors. You don't even have to steer!
How long are we are on the rail cars?
The whole rail car experience lasts about 2 hours, this includes the briefing and allows for stops along the way.
Can i bring my own picnic?
Yes that fine, or if you prefer we can supply a simple picnic box for a small extra charge.
Will we see much of the Rotorua sights?
We take a short drive through Rotorua city and along the lakefront on the way to the rail Cruising location, so you will some of the famous sights such as the Government gardens and the Rotorua bath house.
What if our group is larger than 24 persons?
We can provide quotations for larger groups if needed, please contact us for details.