I just came back from my mid-semester break traveling the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Ten days of traveling and non-stop adventure. So much has happened I don’t know where to begin!
We began our break by flying into Dunedin. For the most part, we did a lot of driving using both transfer and rental cars. We visited the Moeraki Boulders, visited a Penguin reservation and made some stops at a few Lord of the Rings locations- like where the orcs were burned in the movie. We also did a three hour hike on Hooker Valley Trail to see Mt. Cook and really soak in the beauty of New Zealand.
Halfway through the break, we flew out of Christchurch to Rotorua. There we immediately made our way to Hobbiton. Although I have only seen the movies once, the experience was incredible! When you book a tour you are guided through Hobbiton while being explained the amount of detail and work that went into the Lord of the Rings movies. You have plenty of photo opportunities and get to have a free drink at The Green Dragon! If you come to New Zealand, Hobbiton is a MUST!
It’s very important that you make friends with kiwis because you never know if one will have parents who own a motel and will let you stay there for a discounted price! That happened to my friends and I! We stayed in Whangamata where we then did some suggested activities- Hahei Beach boat tours and the Hot Water Beach springs.
The Hahei boat tour was absolutely beautiful! The water is extremely clear and you can see amazing spotted and blue fish, sting rays, go through caves and see two locations where Narnia movies were filmed. The Hot Water Beach, only 10 minutes from Hahei beach is a must as well. You do have to pay for parking- $2 an hour- and you will want to take a spade (shovel), your togs (bathing suit) and towel. You can also rent/hire a spade from the shops by the beach. You will walk onto the beach for about three minutes and will see a group of people. Find a warm spot of sand and start digging. Before long, you’ll have a warm little spring for yourself! Just so you know though, the hot spots will move; some will go cold and some will also grow a lot hotter so just be careful!
My friends and I ended our break by going to the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves and let me tell you, I’ve never seen anything more beautiful! You unfortunately aren’t allowed to take pictures in the caves but the experience is well worth it. From there we visited Lake Taupo and the Huka Falls where like the rest of New Zealand, the views are incredible!
Now that we are back in Wellington, we only have one more month of classes left. Afterwards finals will begin. For the remaining time here in Wellington my goal is to do something new/different every weekend. I want to make sure I stay focused on my classes but I also want to make sure I make the most of my last two months.