Hot Water Beach, Waitomo and Hobbiton

As I begin travelling down the North Island in NZ, I’ve found myself staring out of the window in complete awe at the views as if I have been living under a rock my whole life… the dramatic landscapes of soaring high mountains into the clouds, coastal shores, fields of wild dears just have me staring outside waiting for the next view to take my breath away. I’m so happy I’m finally here and sad that pictures really don’t do this place justice, especially as my camera is broken so it’s just phone pictures. 😦

Via STA Travel I booked the ‘Sheepdog Tour’ with The Kiwi Experience. This is a bus tour takes us from place to place with a few stops, food shops and activities in between.

First overnight stop, Hot Water Beach Resort with a free time stop at Cathedral Cove.

Cathedral Cove:

A 45 minute coastal scenic trek will eventually bring you to Cathedral Cove, a beautiful beach of white sand and crystal clear water.

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Hot Water Beach:

Hot Water Beach is rated one of the world’s top 10 beaches by Lonely Planet. At low tide, you dig a hole and hot water emerges… when this mixes with the cold sea water you get a lovely hot pool in the sand!

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Karangahake Scenic Reserve:

A short walk over some swing bridges to explore the bush-clad gorge and old train tunnel.

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Waitomo, Glow Worm Caves:

In Waitomo there are a few cave tours you can do. Black Abyss, Black Labyrinth or Black Odyssey tours which are a mixture of crazy adventure canyoning you could do in the caves… or there’s a boat tour of the caves to see Glow worms which the driver described as the “Granny Tour”. Granny Tour? Now that’s my kind of tour!

After a bargain 80p ice cream we were guided around a walking tour of the caves followed by a boat tour… on the boat you sit in complete silence, in total darkness and you’re guided through the caves to admire the glow worms. Sadly pictures are not allowed but it can simply be described as looking around at thousands of stars. It was very beautiful but a very short tour.

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Hobbiton:

So I have never seen any of the Hobbit films or Lord of the Ring films… Shameful I know. But I reeeeally wanted to see Hobbiton, the film set where part of the films are set. It just looked like a lovely place to see. To me it was like reading the book before watching the film… but instead I was seeing the set. 😉

I loved this place, it was a beautiful day and so little Hobbiton was glowing with butterflies and fresh flowers. I could have happily moved there, I’d clearly fit in the little hobbit homes.

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We got toured around by a friendly ‘Hobbitogist’ Jon who was Canadian and really enthusiastic about the movies and due to the tour bus being full I got my own private bus with him where he was able to explain the movies to me. I made a promise I will watch the films at some point!

Onwards and downwards on our bus journey… next we headed to Rotaroa where we’ll be seeing a sulphur lake and staying in a Maori Village for the night.

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