We gained three new people on our trip to the North Island.
We travelled up north to the area in which we would be catching the ferry across to the North Island. When we left the coach we had to make sure that we got everything that we had brought on with us because we were leaving that bus behind. The main reason we had to change the bus was because it would cost the company a lot to transport the bus on the ferry.
On the boat ride over I felt rather seasick, which is an unusual feeling for me because I usually don’t feel like that.
We got our new bus once we reached the other side and it was a pretty nice bus and from there we made our way to our accommodation.
When we arrived in Wellington we had to say goodbye to a further three people leaving us with only 23 people for the rest of the journey.
Everyone split up and did all of the activities that they had previously booked. A few friends and I went on a Lord of the Rings film location tour around Wellington, the tour company was called Rover Rings Tours.
To begin we went to see several of the locations from the edge of the shire in the first movie.
We then went to Weta workshops and saw all of the different movies that they have made and also seeing all the different prosthetics and armour and animatronics.
Initially we were only going to do the half-day tour but we were enjoying it so much that we figured out how we could do the full day one. On the full day tour we were able to see so much more lord of the rings locations.
Later on, because we had joined the full day tour we got provided lunch in the park that they filmed the Isengard gardens in. It was such a different feeling actually sitting there and eating where they had recorded the scenes in Isengard.
The last stop of the day was going to be the film location of Rivendell. Along the way we stopped off at the River Anduin which the fellowship paddled down in the first movie.
We found out that they had to tow Sean Bean’s boat when they were filming because he kept paddling in circles when he tried to paddle.
We were able to see all of the different parts that made up Rivendell and how the whole set was set up. But it was nothing like it was in the movies, this is due to the fact that the only way that Peter Jackson was allowed to film in New Zealand was if he put everything back the way it was before.
Today we made our way north from Wellington, along the way we stopped off in a small town. In this town, you could do gumboot throwing and it was a lot harder than I had first anticipated.
We arrived in Ohakune and grabbed lunch then got kitted out for our mountain bike ride over the old coach road. There were some sections of the track that were terrifying to ride along because the track was only about half a meter wide and then a drop on one side. It was a whole lot of exercise but once we got to the top it was all downhill from there which was very helpful.
Josh and JC surprised us by taking us up to Mount Ruapehu’s skiing area to watch the sun go down. We all got a glass of sparkling wine to sit and enjoy the gorgeous sunset with.
It was just a short stay in Ohakune because we made our way to the largest lake in all of New Zealand: Lake Taupo. On the way, we dropped off two of our group at the sky diving airport. Doing skydiving over the lake would have been an amazing sight.
We relaxed in our rooms for part of the afternoon. Most of us were still exhausted from our long bike ride the day before. Because it was summer we took any time that we could to relax when we weren’t cooped up inside of the bus.
In the afternoon/evening we had a boat cruise on Lake Taupo and basically everyone in our group came along. We had dinner and also ate fish that was caught while on the lake. Along with the food we all seemed to drink our weight in alcohol. The whole boat ride everyone just partied away and had a grand old time. Some of the people were even game enough to jump off of the boat into the water, I was not one of those people.
After the boat party, the group split up, some people went to bed and then some of us headed to a bar. I only stayed for a short while before returning to the hotel because the bar was practically empty.
From Lake Taupo, we made our way to Rotorua. We stopped at Huka Falls along the way. This was where all of the water from lake Taupo exited. If you were to fall in there you wouldn’t be coming out.
Upon arriving we went on the Ogo ride or Zorbing as we Aussie’s call it. Alana and I rode in it together. it was so much fun, we could hardly stay sitting upright, it is something I would highly recommend.
From here we went to the Kiwi sanctuary and got to see some baby kiwis, some of which had only been born hours beforehand and we also got to see fully grown kiwis too
We got the opportunity to visit the Maitai village and see the re-enactment of the Maori culture complete with Haka and multiple dances, and also a Hangi (fire pit meal). It was quite similar to the one that I had visited years before but it was further out of Rotorua.
The best part of the Maitai village visit was being able to experience all of the cultures that the native people of New Zealand have.
Today was our proper full day in Rotorua. So it was today that everyone decided to go about and explore all of the different sections. Everyone decided to do different things.
A group of decided to climb the mountain called Tarawera, which was actually a dormant volcano. It was a long bus ride up to the top and the bus was able to go four wheel driving of sorts. There were quite steep edges around where we were walking which made the whole walk more daunting. I kept looking at my feet every time I took a step, but I just had to keep thinking don’t fall, don’t fall.
We got to a section where they said this was the point of no return and anyone who wished to head back without going down the hill would have to go now.
The last part of the hike was the absolute hardest, not physically but more mentally. This was due to the fact that I have a fear of falling and the wall in which we were walking down was steep, almost too steep for my liking.
The best part of it was, of course, the view, from atop the volcano you got a picturesque look at the surrounding lakes and other mountains in the area.
The bus ride down was quite fun, we were speeding around on the forest track and going over bumps while listening to our favourite songs.
Today was the last night that several of our group were going to be with us so naturally, we went out and partied the night away.
We made our way from Rotorua toward Auckland. We made a stop along the way at Matamata, or better put the filming location of the Hobbiton from the lord of the rings and the hobbit movie series.
Although I was hungover on our tour of Hobbiton, I still enjoyed it as much as I could have possibly done, I was like a kid in a candy store just loving every little bit of it.
When we were in Auckland we checked into our hotel and got to go to Giapo’s ice cream experience, which is where the artisan by the name of Giapo mixes music and ice cream together. This experience has been booked out for the next 3-4 years. So being on Contiki made us extremely lucky to be able to experience it.
Before we had to say goodbye to some more of our Contiki friends, we went up to the Auckland tower which gave us a 360-degree view of the entire city.
Saying goodbye is always one of the hardest things. Because you never know when you are going to see these people again. On this trip we have made so many memorable memories with each of these individuals that I won’t likely forget them in the future. Goodbyes are hard but they just mean that it was something good that had happened to make it hard.
I am an Aussie traveller who wishes to travel the entire world. I have currently been to 29 different countries. That is including my home country. I want to bring everyone along with me on my adventure.