Travel Journal

Travel Journal - Round the world with Dusk till Dawn Photography.

Te Ika-a-Māui aka The North Island of New Zealand.

 View of Auckland from Mt Victoria, Devonport. 

View of Auckland from Mt Victoria, Devonport. 

I landed in Auckland on the North Island. I don't remember much of New Zealand as the last time I was here was when I was wee during a family holiday. What you would notice about Auckland is that every corner you turn, you will somehow find a Japanese or Korean eatery and that Auckland is a melting pot of various cultures. Auckland may be expensive when it comes to accommodation but food is relatively cheap in the city. 

 Sky Tower, Auckland

Sky Tower, Auckland

I would recommend that if you are visiting Auckland do only stay in the city for a maximum of three days as that is all you need to take in all the sights of the city. During my stay in Auckland, I also visited Devonport which is only a 12 minutes ferry ride from Peir 1 at Auckland. Devonport is a coastal town with great views of Auckland from the top of Mount Victoria. Another way to take in views of Auckland is to go up the Sky Tower. It would provide you with a 360 degree view of Auckland from it's obesavation deck and if you are an adrenaline junkie you could take a sky walk or free fall off the tower, both of which I was too chicken to try. 

 Moari Villiage, Rotorua

Moari Villiage, Rotorua

There are plenty of things to do outside of Auckland. During this trip I rented a car and visited Witomo Glow worm caves, A Maori village and geysers in Rotorua and the Hobbiton movie set. Witomo Glow worm caves were very tranquil like you are looking into the Milky Way except that the glow in the darkness was made by the glow worms. Visiting the Maori villiage gave me an insight into the Maori traditional lifestyle and the hardship that they have been through. The Maori people share many similarities to polynesians as it was thought that eight different Polynesian tride came to settle in Aotearoa aka New Zealand. It was not till about 200 years later when the first European settlers came to New Zealand but it was the British that signed a treaty with the chiefs of the Moari tribes. However the problem was that the English translation of the treaty did not match up to the Maori's and in actuality the Maori chiefs were signing off the rights to their land and agreeing to be governed by the English. The Maori people had to fight to reclaim their lands, hold on to heritage and even their language. This sounds very similar to the highland clearance which took place in Scotland. To date the Moari people are no longer the majority in New Zealand; they only make up about 15% of the population and the fight continues to ensure the voice of Maori people is heard and not forgotten.

 Geyser, Rotorua. 

Geyser, Rotorua. 

New Zealand continues to be affected by regular seismic activity which creates many geysers around the country. To those who cannot stand the smell of eggs I would advice that you wear nose plugs as the sulphur create a very strong smell of rotten eggs when you visit the geysers. There are also plenty of nutural hot springs and one could visit various spas that offer a dip in such natural hot springs.

When one visits New Zealand, there is no way to get away from the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit as they were filmed in New Zealand. Both franchises have brought thousands of tourists to visit New Zealand each year. I was a bit reluctant to visit the Hobbiton at first but to my surprise I really enjoyed my visit. The structure and the whole set at Hobbiton had been made permanent since the completion of the Hobbit trilogy and it was really interesting to find out how Peter Jackson and his team created the Shire in a joint partnership with a farmer (Hobbiton is still sitting on land surrounded by a working farm). Hobbiton also demonstrated how Peter Jackson used different perspectives to trick the human eye while filming both trilogies as the actors that were playing the roles of hobbits needed to be portrait as small. This was done by building different size doors to Hobbit's holes and filming for afar. At Hobbiton, you will be able to envision how the Shire looked by visiting various Hobbit holes as well as the Green Dragon inn during a guided tour. The guided tour takes approximately 2 hours and you will also get to enjoy a complimentary drink at the Green Drangon Inn. In order not to miss out I would recommend that you get your tickets online early as there very few tickets available on the day and you could be waiting ages for the tour.

 Hobbiton  

Hobbiton