New Zealand for the Hobbit Lovers Amongst Us

New Zealand’s tourist industry was given a massive boost when the Lord Of The Rings movies were to be filmed in various locations around the country. Tourists would travel to New Zealand to visit the sites that made the movie and the locals in the country are hoping for a similar effect following the release of The Hobbit. These are the places that everyone who loves the Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit should see on their tour of New Zealand.

Hobbiton Tour, Matamata Photo: lalalydia of Flickr

Hobbiton Tour, Matamata in New Zealand


Located 160 kilometres south of Auckland, Matamata was once a peaceful farming town until Peter Jackson, the director of the Lord of the Rings, decided to create Hobbiton here. Previously, the first set for the films was dismantled and taken away when filming was completed, but with the return of the filming crews for The Hobbit, the locals of Matamata made an agreement that the set from this film would be permanent, meaning tourists can walk round Hobbiton. A word of warning however, Matamata is not like Hobbiton in the films, as during winter the weather here is wet and cold.

Weta Cave, New Zealand Photo: LabLab of Flickr

You might bump into Gollum at the Weta Cave, New Zealand

Weta Workshops

Heading six hours further south still and you will arrive at Wellington. It is in Wellington that you will find Peter Jackson’s film studios, which are sadly not open for tours, and Weta Workshops, the special effects company for the films. The Weta Cave is a free museum which is worth a visit for movie buffs and so is the Roxy Cinema, which was rebuilt by the founders of the Weta Workshops and designed by them.

Turquoise colored water of Lake Pukaki Photo: Peter Nijenhuis of Flickr

Turquoise coloured water of Lake Pukaki, New Zealand

Lake Pukaki

Located south of Christchurch, Lake Pukaki is home to so many scenes from the movies that you will feel like you have stumbled into Middle Earth. You can stay overnight at the small town of Twizel which was used for filming or travel a little bit further to Mt Cook village where you can take a short hike up into the mountains.

New Zealand Photo: orkneysports of Flickr

Glenorchy in New Zealand


Wanaka lies close to Queenstown and boasts days and days of great Hobbit and Lord of the Rings locations, while there are numerous tour companies that are willing to take you on a tour through them. Many locations for the films here are on private land so sadly you will need to book a tour to see them.

However, some locations are easily accessible such as Glenorchy in Queenstown, so depending how much you wish to visit, a tour may not be necessary. If you are travelling to New Zealand, remember that the weather in some of the more remote locations will be quite cold, so it’s best to prepare appropriately for it.

Te Anau, Fiordland, New Zealand Photo: Sandy Austin of Flickr

Te Anau, Fiordland, New Zealand


South of Queenstown, Fiordland was the location for many of the fly over scenes in the movies. To relive those scenes in person you will need to hire a helicopter or chartered flight, which while not cheap is quite impressive. However, you should be mindful of the fact that flights cannot take off should the clouds be lower than the surrounding mountains and that there is temperate rain forest in Fiordland, so prepare for some levels of rain.

This article is brought to you by Cheap Flights, who provide the best deals and the ability to search specific dates and locations, as well as travel planning tools to make sure your holiday goes with a swing.

Photo credits: Hobbiton Tour by lalalydia, Weta Cave by LabLab, Lake Pukaki by Peter Nijenhuis, New Zealand by orkneysports, Te Anau by Sandy Austin, and Hobbit hole by Daniel Peckham.

More tales from New Zealand

A motorhome adventure through North Island, New Zealand
Coastal beauty and adventure in New Zealand
Where to stay in Queenstown on a budget – New Zealand

This article is originally published at – Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

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White sand beaches, sheep and Maori culture – a motorhome adventure through North Island, New Zealand

In this Guest Post, Allison MacLaughlan shares her journey through the North Island of New Zealand by motorhome in which she found stunning white sand beaches, dipped into Maori culture, passed thousands of sheep and kayaked in the waters of the Tasman Sea.

This past winter my partner and I set off for the amazing adventure of traveling through New Zealand. The plan was to do two weeks on the North Island and then two weeks on the South Island. After much research, we decided to explore the whole North Island by motorhome.

Travelling the mountain roads of North Island, New Zealand by Motorhome Photo by Allison Mac published on

Travelling the mountain roads of North Island, New Zealand by Motorhome

Starting our Motorhome adventure

Both of us love to travel but neither one of us had ever driven or gone anywhere in a motorhome. The idea sounded convenient and fun. So we did our research, chose the motorhome we wanted to rent and flew off for the adventure of a lifetime. We met up with the owners of our big 2-bed motorhome at a large parking lot close to the Auckland airport. We loaded in our stuff, got comfortable, pulled out our maps and headed out for the open road.

As we navigated our way down the busy Auckland highway we realized that driving our new camper was going to be a bit of an adjustment. For one we were driving on the opposite side of the road than we were used to and for another this motorhome was big! In fact it seemed far larger in person than it did on the website and the streets felt very narrow.

In hindsite taking our first drive in rush hour traffic was probably not the brightest move. We left the busy streets of Auckland as fast as we could.

Travelling North Island, New Zealand by Motorhome Photo by Allison Mac published on

Travelling North Island, New Zealand by Motorhome

Once we hit less populated roads we began to relax, get into the groove and enjoy the scenery. We headed first to a little town called Tutukaka on our way towards the Northern tip of the North Island. I loved the name of the town and it was to be our first stop over.

Tutukaka is a gorgeous little fishing town right on the ocean with stunning white sand beaches and a vibe that says “welcome, come chill out with us”. The holiday park bordered on a farm that had hundreds of cows who at some point during the afternoon all ventured by to take a look at our home on wheels. We walked the beach, ate some particularly good food at the Oceans Resort Hotel restaurant, had a mediocre first sleep in our motorhome and took off the next morning for more adventure.

The Beaches of North Island, New Zealand Photo by Allison Mac published on

The Beaches of North Island, New Zealand

Heading Towards Cape Reinga

Cape Reinga is at the very northwestern tip of New Zealand along the Aupouri Peninsula. It is literally 100km from the nearest town and is home to a stunning 90-mile long beach, warm sunny weather and loads of spiritual folklore. The locals quickly informed us that the native Maori of New Zealand named this cape ‘Reinga’ which means the ‘Underworld’. They believed that the cape is the point where spirits of the dead enter the underworld.

The drive to Cape Reinga took us through a lot of farmland with tons of sheep… and I mean tons of sheep. I learned that New Zealand is home to over 4 million people and over 30 million sheep! As you can probably imagine there were fields and fields of them. Eventually we arrived at a town that quickly became a favorite of ours called Paihia. Paihia is a funky little town on the ocean with lots going on. The Maori culture is very prominent which is reflected in the artwork and architecture of the buildings.

Maori Treaty House at Pahaia, North Island, New Zealand Photo by Allison Mac published on

Maori Treaty House at Pahaia, North Island, New Zealand

Paihia is rich in history and a fascinating stopover. It is well worth a visit to the grounds where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 between various Maori chiefs and representatives of the British Crown.The grounds are stunning and have a sprawling view of the turquoise colored ocean. The design and architecture of the Maori treaty building are unique and beautiful. We enjoyed Paihia so much that we stayed for three nights and really took full advantage of the nice weather and abundance of sightseeing.

Later that week we finally made it up to the Northern tip of Cape Reinga. This area of New Zealand is particularly hot and we found that although the 90-mile beach was gorgeous, it was far too hot to walk on with bare feet. After removing our sandals we could not walk for more than a few seconds without scorching the soles of our feet! We took it all in, admired the beauty of our surroundings then decided to quickly move on and continue our journey.

We began to make our way back down the other side of the North Island. Driving narrow and winding mountain roads with a large motorhome was an experience I will never forget and not likely ever do again. Gorgeous scenery but a bit too nerve racking to fully enjoy it.

Allison stops at Mount Maunganui, New Zealand Photo by Allison Mac published on

Allison stops at Mount Maunganui, New Zealand

New Zealand Hospitality

At the end of our two-week North Island trip and after many crazy driving experiences, both my boyfriend and I decided that we would never rent a motorhome again… at least not in a place where we have to drive on the opposite side of the road. We found it to be fairly exhausting and the gas was extremely expensive. However I have to admit that it did allow us to see a lot of New Zealand that we probably would not have even realized existed had we traveled another way.

With a motorhome we found that we explored back roads, tried out different campsites and met a lot of very happy and friendly New Zealanders. We heard much about the endangered and flightless Kiwi bird – which we never once saw. We tried all kinds of interesting food, walked countless beaches, kayaked in the waters of the Tasman Sea, explored the wineries of Napier, survived the toxic smells of Rotorua and braved the crazy wind ripping rain of Wellington.

Mount Maunganui, North Island, New Zealand Photo by Allison Mac published on

Mount Maunganui, North Island, New Zealand

We ended the trip in what turned out to be our absolute favorite town, Mount Maunganui. This is a small surfing town in the Bay of Plenty with a little mountain at its far edge. The beach, the mountain, the great food and the surfing vibe made this place electric and I could have stayed for a month. It was the perfect place to chill for a few days before leaving the North Island.

We dropped off our motorhome back at the Auckland airport parking lot, breathed a sigh of relief and headed to our next destination… the South Island of New Zealand. It was hard to imagine topping this amazing experience but we were going to give it a try!

My thanks for this Guest Post to Allison MacLaughlan from Inflatable Kayak World who loves to take her kayak along with her on her travels to explore new destinations and waterways. You can follow Allison on Twitter @IK_World and on her Facebook Page Inflatable Kayak World

More tales from New Zealand

Where to stay in Queenstown, New Zealand on a budget
Coastal Beauty and adventure in New Zealand

This article is originally published at – Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Subscribe to Heatheronhertravels Don’t miss out – subscribe to Heather on her travels

Where to stay in Queenstown on a budget – New Zealand

Some cities around the world are known as backpacker-friendly; others would just as soon have you move on to another location rather than be seen tromping around their streets. Queenstown, New Zealand, is in the former category, which makes sense, given that New Zealand is a fairly rugged country known for outdoor adventure. New Zealand is well accustomed to backpackers and understands that it will draw many of them due to its wide open spaces and laid-back vibe. You should be warned that visitor testimonials talk of intending to stay for three nights and ending up staying for three months!

Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown Gondola Photo: wikipedia

Lake Wakatipu, from the Queenstown Gondola

Queenstown has a nice selection of hostels, many of them highly rated. Most are within walking distance of the city centre and provide a kitchen, Internet access and laundry facilities. Some also have a restaurant and bar. You can usually find doubles, twin and family rooms, dorms and even private suites in Queenstown hostels.

Prices range from NZD $20-$250 per room per night, and backpackers are advised to use the in-house activity booking office and dining facilities to get the best deals. Where you end up crashing for the night depends on how much you are willing to pay, where you want to go and what you want to do when in Queenstown—hike? Ski? Go out on a lake? Some of the best hostels in Queenstown are on the edge of the city or a short distance away. If you’ve grabbed a rental car from one the many Queenstown car hire companies, this distance shouldn’t be much of a problem though.

Queenstown Mall Photo:

Queenstown Mall, New Zealand

Here are the top-rated hostels in Queenstown, as judged by people like you, the actual visitors:

Aspen Lodge

This one is in the heart of Queenstown, so if you like to be within walking distance of the supermarket, shops and a fairly hot nightlife, this should be your choice. All of those conveniences are mere steps away. It is a member of the BBH, New Zealand’s backpacker accommodations network. 4 ½ stars.

Absoloot Value Accommodation, Queenstown Photo: Absoloot Value Accommodation

Absoloot Value Accommodation, Queenstown

Absoloot Value Accommodation

This one is right on the lakefront in Queenstown and has been recently refurbished. It has boutique dorms (4 and 6 beds), double and queen rooms. It also has a fully equipped kitchen, a newish Laundromat, a TV and games room. Key card entry with 24-hour guest access and 24-hour security. 4 ½ stars.

The Flaming Kiwi

One of the newest hostels for backpackers, a five-minute walk to the town centre.  There are 48 beds in this smallish facility that prides itself on its hospitality and cleanliness. 4 ½ stars.

View from Butterfli Lodge, Queenstown Photo: Butterfli Lodge

View from Butterfli Lodge, Queenstown

Butterfli Lodge

Another hostel a short distance from the centre of town. Butterfli Lodge is five minutes from recreational reserve walking tracks as well. This hostel might have the best view in all of Queenstown—hard on Lake Wakatipu with a 180-degree look at it and the Remarkable Mountains from every room. Users rave about the scenery right out the window. 4 ½ stars.

Alpine Lodge

A couple of minutes from downtown, smaller facility with dorm share rooms, twins and doubles. Outstanding reviews by users. 4 ½ stars.

Poplar Lodge, Arrowtown, New Zealand Photo: Poplar Lodge

Poplar Lodge, Arrowtown, New Zealand

Poplar Lodge

This outstanding hostel is in Arrowtown, about 15 minutes from Queenstown. Arrowtown has a fascinating history that revolves around the gold rush of the mid-1800s. There are doubles, twins and share rooms with shared facilities. There is also a separate cottage and a bedroom unit if you so choose. Lots of users appreciate this calm escape from Queenstown. It has a large garden and BBQ, central heating and wireless Internet access, as well as off-street parking. Numerous river and mountain walks are nearby, as well as many local vineyards. Used as a base for mountain bike hire and 4WD Southern Explorer trips. If you want to go more rural and frontier feel, this should be your choice. 4 ½ stars.

For more information on Queenstown’s hostels, visit Backpackerboard

This article comes courtesy of Omega Car Rental New Zealand, one of New Zealand’s top independent car hire companies.

Queenstown and Remarkable Mountains Photo: wikipedia

Queenstown and Remarkable Mountains

Photo Credits: Absoloot Value Accommodation, Butterfli Lodge, Poplar Lodge,,,

More to see and do in New Zealand and Australia

Coastal beauty and adventure in New Zealand
Alice Springs: the Australian Outback

This article is originally published at – Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Subscribe to Heatheronhertravels Don’t miss out – subscribe to Heather on her travels

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