My journey to Middle Earth began as something of an adventure. While I wasn’t planning to drop off a ring at Mount Doom like Frodo did, New Zealand was an amazing experience.
The scenery took my breath away, before I was exhilaratingly knocked over by the adrenalin of my outdoor activities.
Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit
Tourism New Zealand accounted 15% of travelers were inspired by the movies to visit the beautiful country and relive the scenes on location. It’s no surprised my trip began with an LOTR location tour in Wellington. Weta Cave being the gateway to exclusive movie props and exhibitions, the guided tour was mesmerizing, as we were brought behind-the-scenes and given insights to the popular movie scenes.
Visiting the Hobbiton village was another highlight of the vacation. Many within my travel group were huge LOTR and The Hobbit fans, but you didn’t have to be one to fall in love with the amazing movie sets and themed environment. There are the 44 hobbit holes, the mill and double arch bridge, the party tree and visit the Green Dragon Inn. You can also grab a selfie at the door of Bilbo’s house, “Bag End”, looking out over the whole set to the hills in the distance.
It’s really an incredible mini-adventure on its own, complete with a Shire Store where you can buy memorabilia for friends who are fans too (they didn’t have a ring that rules them all, though).
Fun at Rotorua & Waiheke Island
I truly enjoyed myself at these two destinations. I’m not an outdoor person and don’t indulge in sports. When I was there, the activities were incredibly appealing, I couldn’t resist having a go!
The Ecozip adventures on the beautiful Waiheke Island were breathtaking – ziplining over lush forests was just indescribable! Skyline Rotorua also provides an amazing adrenalin-pumping experience. Ride the gondola leisurely uphill, enjoying the incredible view of the geothermal lakes before speeding down on the Luge. If you have a need for speed, the Skyswing catapults you up to 120kph or the 383-metre Zoom Ziplines at 80 kph. At the end of the zipline, freefall 10 metres down (in your harness, of course) via the Quickjump. If this doesn’t excite you, I don’t know what will!
My top favourite was definitely the blackwater rafting at Waitomo Cave. It’s a cave adventure that involves a series of challenges within the cave itself. Depending on what you’re after, you can try abseiling, spiderwalking, flying fox and other safe high element challenges.
Blackwater rafting is an amazing floating journey within the cave water route with glowworms hanging up from the cave ceiling. It’s an exhilarating adventure and all you need is a swimsuit, towel and your sense of adventure will naturally nudge you into the cave waters. Take it from a non-sporty person!
I not only had an adventure outdoors, it was also a gastronomic adventure when it comes to mealtimes! Fine dining at Cable Bay Vineyard was delicious. The oysters onboard the cruise lunch was very fresh and spread was tantalizing to the tastebuds. The buffet spread at Stratosfare Rotorua Restaurant & Bar was as breathtaking as the view of Rotorua Island from where we were dining.
I went on a Zest Gourmet Food Tour in Wellington on the 3rd day – the local guide brought us sightseeing and we sampled the best foods. It was a great experience knowing the local foods and where they come from and how they’re made. The chocolate store was one of the best I’ve had!
A great food experience was when I was at the Geyser Tour at Rotorua. This unique steambox lunch experience required me to handpicked my meal’s ingredients, packed it in a basket. We then walked to the geyser and hang the food basket over the steamvent and watched our food cooked over natural geyser steam! This is an ancient Maori technique of cooking and I was glad to have had the wonderful experience.
New Zealand is definitely one of the best holiday destinations I’ve been to. It drew me out of my shell a little and I tried activities I wouldn’t have. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience in “Middle Earth” with great adventures, excellent hospitality and fantastic meals. No wonder they say once is never enough when it comes to New Zealand!
Featured image: Courtesy from Tourism New Zealand
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