Accompanied by our Bon Appétit Culinary Center Chef, you'll tour a flourishing kiwi orchard, while enjoying its fruit in various products, and then visit a bubbling geothermal pool, in which your traditional lunch will be cooked Maori-style.
Depart from the pier and drive south following the Bay of Plenty a unique pocket of land where kiwifruit, the world's healthiest fruit, grows better than anywhere else on earth. Your destination is Kiwi 360, a horticulture theme park that revolves around the kiwi fruit. Although kiwi is synonymous with New Zealand, the fruit is indigenous to China. In 1904, the first seeds were imported; spurring the growth of what has become a major commercial enterprise. While touring Kiwi 360, you'll learn all about this vitamin-rich, high-fiber fruit, which is exported to more than 60 countries worldwide. Nearly 90% of New Zealand's crop grows in this part of the country, and the versatile fruit is used in everything from beauty products to beverages to condiments. Before leaving, you'll be treated to a morning tea which features chilled kiwi juice, freshly baked scones with kiwi jam and fresh whipped cream with slices of green and gold kiwifruit. You'll also have a chance to browse the onsite souvenir shop.
Rejoining your coach, you'll travel inland past the many lakes of Rotorua to Whakarewarewa, a geothermal valley created more than 40,000 years ago. Filled with hot springs, bubbling pools and gushing geysers, this wild landscape has been inhabited by the Maori since the early 14th century. Interestingly, the heat from these natural hot springs has long been used for cooking "kai," the Maori word for food.
Upon arrival, you'll join your local guide for a walk through the valley down into a private area that overlooks your own hot pool. Maori have been using the hot geothermal water for cooking for over 650 years. Your lunch will be prepared in the traditional way by placing it in a woven bag which is then lowered into the pool where it will cook naturally in the hot water. As your food cooks, you will prepare tasty dips with the chef that will include traditional Maori native herb alternatives. Later, as you dine on your tasty lunch, your guide will explain the history of Maori occupation in the region, bringing alive Maori stories and tales while interweaving the importance that location played on the choice and availability of food to the indigenous people.
Following your meal, you'll re-board your coach for the leisurely ninety minute drive back to the pier in Tauranga.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2 hours of moderate walking/standing. There will be some steps at Kiwi 360 and a 1/2 mile of pathways at Whakarewarewa to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and not considered suitable for those with mobility concerns. Weather appropriate clothing that should include a light water-proof jacket; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Guests must be at least 18 years of age in order to be served any alcoholic beverages.