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Auckland - New Zealand

New Zealand was a country I'd wanted to visit for quite some time. My first stop was Auckland. It's often said there isn't a great amount to see in Auckland, and I'd would have to agree with this.

Auckland is however a good base to to be able to do a couple of day trips, which I'll go into more detail about below.

Don't get me wrong, Auckland was a nice city, however as it was just after New Year when I arrived, there was a lot which was still closed.

The nightlife was enjoyable from what was open, and I actually preferred the nightlife here more than in Queenstown, it was much more my scene. There are numerous bars around the city with something for everyone's taste.


In terms of sights, the only one that really sticks out in my mind is the Sky Tower. A tall telecommunications and observation tower. Much in the same style as many other cities throughout the world. At 328 meters tall, you'll get some magnificent views of the city from the observation deck.

I'd not recommend spending too long at all in Auckland, as there's nothing particularly special about the city. Use it as a base for day trips, and maybe a few fun nights out, then move on to explore the nature of New Zealand. Auckland is also a good place to pick up souvenirs, as there's a wide range of good quality souvenir shops.

For me the real beauty of New Zealand lies outside the cities, in the countryside. It's much like how I feel about Norway. There's so much more to see once outside of the cities.


There were only really two day trips I went on from Auckland, but both were worth the time to visit.



Hobbiton

Hobbiton was without a doubt one of my favourite places in New Zealand. Yes I am a Tolkien fan and even more so of The Lord of the Rings movies, so I had to take a trip to Hobbiton.

Hobbiton did not disappoint. It didn't feel like a movie set, it actually felt like a real village. It was a beautiful sunny day when I visited which I think only added to the beautiful atmosphere.


As you walk around the you'll see various colourful hobbit houses, small lakes and beautiful flowers everywhere. It was also delightful to see all the minor details scattered around the set, such as vegetable gardens, washing hanging out to dry and even a working watermill.

The only downside about Hobbiton is that you can't actually go inside the hobbit houses. Whether or not it would be possible or not, I think it would be great if they expanded on this and made it so you can actually enter some of the properties.

There is one hobbit house you can enter for a photo opportunity of you exiting or entering the house, but there's nothing actually inside.

The Green Dragon Inn however is fully furnished and sells food and local Southfarthing beer, which was actually quite nice. The inn will likely be jam packed with tourists, but it's great to spend some time inside.

Surprisingly the set itself isn't from the Lord of the Rings filming days. It's the same location it was built, but after filming all of the houses were taken down and it was turned back into a field.

Many tourists would visit asking to see Bag End, but of course it wasn't there.

So, when they had to rebuilt the set for The Hobbit trilogy, they ensured they made the sets out of durable materials and kept it erected so it could be visited by fans of the movies.

Even if you're not a fan of the movies, you may still enjoy walking around here. It's a beautiful environment which makes you feel happy and joyful.



Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Often tied in with the Hobbiton tour, this is an interesting sight to see. The first part of the tour involves being taken around the inside of several caves, which are lit by artificial light. You'll see stalagmites and stalactites. It's easy to remember which is which, a stalagmite, might reach the ceiling, and a stalactite holds tightly to the ceiling.

The first part of the tour is interesting, but if you've been to similar caves in other countries, then there's nothing strikingly different about it.

The second part of the tour is the impressive part! You'll be taken into darkness and down to an underground lake. You have to very quietly get into boats and you'll then sail through the lake observing the bright glowworms above you.

It's a very impressive sight, however photography and video are not allowed. I could quite easily have filmed i thought and I wish I had, it wouldn't have disturbed the glowworms.

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