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Week #6 completed. 1 week left in New Zealand. You may have realized that the number of activities and length of distance reduced over the last weeks. We reduced our speed a bit and decided to select only a few last spots to visit and then rather stay a bit longer in one place.
Here is what happened…
Must-Do: Hobbiton Movie Set!
There are various different locations in New Zealand which were used for the movies based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s books (The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings) but there is only one location where they kept (or rather rebuilt) the actual movie set with everything used for the the movies…and that is Hobbiton on the North Island.
You can book a 3-hour guided tour which leads you through the whole Movie Set including a free pint of beer that is brewed exclusively for Hobbiton. You get this little treat at the very end when you stop by the “Green Dragon” (the local bar).
The whole place is – of course – super touristy with tours starting every 20min (most of them were sold out 1-2 days in advance). But the tour is very well organized and Hobbiton isn’t as small as you might think, so you don’t really notice that you’re sharing the experience with probably 200 other people at the same time 😉
Did I already mention that we loved the tour? 🙂 We really did. It is awesome to see the whole set in reality. So many details, so many little tweaks to make the Hobbits look smaller than they actually were. It’s really quite amazing how much money, time and work is invested into these movie sets in order to make them feel as real as possible.
We Saw Glowworms – Woohooo 🙂
Have you ever seen glowworms?
Have you ever been in a cave before?
Have you ever done tubing/rafting before?
If yes is the answer to all of the above questions, then start to imagine doing all of this at the same time…in the DARK! 🙂
Chris explained everything in detail in his post. So far my absolute highlight on the North Island was the Tongariro Alpine Crossing but I must admit, Blackwater Rafting in a Glowworm Cave is right up there as well 🙂
Raglan, Yoga & Surfer Vibe But No Surfing (Yet!)
Have you ever heard of Raglan before? No? Even if you’re considering a 3-4 week itinerary through NZ, it is quite likely that Raglan won’t appear on your list. So no worries 😉 Wonder why we went? It all started with a beekeeper… 🙂
We sat in our hostel in Tauranga and had just finished dinner when a German guy sat down next to us. By now, we still don’t know his name (totally forgot to ask), so let’s call him “The Beekeeper“. It turns out he was a German beekeeper, currently on a 6-month assignment in NZ as part of his education program (so quite a young beekeeper). That evening we learned A LOT about bees.
Especially that bees are actually not as threatened by extinction as you may think. It seems a lot of the media coverage and various documentaries that we’ve all been seeing the past few years is – at the very least – quite exaggerated. He did mention that wild bees are slightly more endangered, but a lot of the “panic” being spread is mostly based on anecdotal information from the United States…where your classic honeybee isn’t even a indigenous species (yep, didn’t know that).
Anyhow, so we sat there for quite a while talking about bees and a lot of other things. By that time Chris and myself had not really made a decision where to go next. So we asked the beekeeper what he would recommend and his immediate answer was RAGLAN.
Raglan is a little surf town. It is close to a number of good surf spots, it has 2 yoga studios, 1 surfer/backpacker hostel and a few little nice cafés. Aaaaand in 2018 Raglan even won the Most Beautiful Small Town Award (not necessarily enough reason to visit for us but due to a lack of alternatives we decided to go).
We headed to Raglan and stayed there for 2 nights. As a surfer town Raglan of course has cheap surf lessons on offer and I would have definitely joined one but unfortunately the only class that was still available was at 9 am and since we had to get up quite early for a few days and the temperature in the morning was always a bit cold in NZ I wasn’t that keen. So I decided to postpone to learn how to surf (will have more than enough potential to learn it on Bali) and just went to a yoga class.
2 nights were enough for us. Raglan is indeed a little town, but if you don’t feel like surfing and don’t want to do yoga everyday, there is actually not really a lot else to do. So we decided to move on to Auckland.
Camping Gear Sold – 150 NZD Saved!
The majority of the tourist itineraries start in Auckland and do not end there – good for us since we still had some camping gear to get rid of 🙂
I had joined a few FB groups when we started our trip in Wellington at the beginning of January as we were hoping to find second hand camping gear. But at that time there was not much on offer so we decided to buy everything from The Warehouse (a local store) and spend roughly 300 NZD.
Selling in Auckland was a different story 🙂
This is obviously not everything. Just a few select things.
I posted our whole camping gear as a package for 150 NZD in 2 Facebook groups the night before we arrived in Auckland and within less than 24 hours we sold the full package for exactly that price. That was easier than expected and gave us even more confidence that we made the right decision in the beginning not to buy/rent a campervan. 11 nights in a tent were fun, but also enough for now 😀
Western Springs Parkrun in Auckland Completed
We arrived in Auckland on Friday evening and yes, of course Auckland has a parkrun. Actually it not only has one parkrun but 3 different parkruns. So both of us finished another one on Saturday morning.
Auckland, Metropolis, People, Civilisation, Infrastructure – FINALLY! 🙂
We were suffering from a “big city withdrawal” throughout the last 5 weeks and were really looking forward to Auckland.
So do we like Auckland? Stay tuned for our next recap to hear more about this!