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So our goal was to make the visit to Hobbiton as convinient and enjoyeable for the whole family as possible. I just like the combination of a fairytale feeling and a picturesque set.

While working on the movies Peter Jackson transformed New Zealand into a huge filming stage. In this part of the World Middle Earth is always nearby. But after the movies were shot and actors went back home all the sets were removed due to copyright reasons. It is this part of the North Island which lacks mountains, but substitues them with greenery.

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Fishing in the Waikato

So, book your tickets well in advance, especially during high season of New Zealand summer. Those of you with little time can organise tours from major neighrouring cities: Matamata, Rotorua or Auckland for instance. We thought it suitable for our little one. The area of and around movie set is private — owned by Alexander family.

Week 1 - Auckland to Wellington

For one simple reason — there is nothing behind those cute doors, just earth and plywood. All the scenes inside the holes were filmed at the Wellington Studios. The facades of hobbit holes throughout the Hobbiton are full of details and are as adorable as hobbit holes can be. The tour we are talking about the standard tour most of the visitors take lasts about 2 hours and even though it may seem long you will be surprised how fast the time flies.

The tips we have learned form our visit:. Follow us on Instagram to see our latest travel stories. Renamed Pirongia to avoid confusion with the town of Alexandra in the South Island, Pirongia is an ideal place to stop for lunch. Refreshed, continue south towards Otorohanga and Waitomo.

The Ultimate Middle‑earth™ itinerary | New Zealand

While in New Zealand, you may well want to see our national icon, the kiwi - a reclusive and rather shy nocturnal bird that you will be unlikely to find in the wild. The Otorohanga Kiwi House is undoubtedly the best place for this and they have the Great Spotted, Brown and Little Spotted kiwis in night-time environments viewable during day hours. In addition, the Kiwi House is home to New Zealand's largest free-flight aviary and our native Tuatara, a reptile pre-dating the dinosaurs!

After experiencing the natural beauty of Waitomo it is time to hit the road again and head for Riverside Apartment, in Taupo. Between Waitomo and Taupo you'll drive through the beautiful Pureora Forest Park and for a short period alongside the Waikato River, by a small settlement called Whakamaru. You'll see the mighty Waikato River again, just outside your window when you arrive at your final destination, at 14 Norman Smith Street, Taupo. Settle in, relax, grab a beer or wine - hook up to our free wifi and tweet, post and pinterest day one to your friends!


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After a few hours in the car on the previous day you might feel like getting some fresh air and, weather permitting, the best way to do that is to experience what many believe to be one of the finest one-day hikes in the world. Do take care, check the forecast and remember that this is an alpine crossing and shouldn't be underestimated.

Take the right gear and be prepared. We have more information available here on the Tongariro Crossing but if the weather isn't suitable or a long walk just isn't your thing we've got a whole lot of other suggestions of what to do while in Taupo. By now you'll want to have a more relaxing day, perhaps exploring what is around the town.

Riverside Apartment is ideally located because on this day you can leave your car in the secure garaging and go for a wander. Stroll across the bridge over the Waikato River and walk through the Taupo Domain to the marina. Good coffee is to be found at Stir cafe before heading into the town itself. There are many great dining and entertainment options, far too many to list.

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Along the waterfront the Lakehouse bar and restaurant is consistently good with an excellent rage of craft beers, great menu and is a wonderful spot in nice weather to enjoy the lake views. For more family-orientated places, try the phenomenon that is Burger Fuel the kids adore the children's meals and an absolute family favourite for dining is the Lone Star, Taupo - with wonderful service and lake views. For a more romantic or quiet atmosphere, try Vine on Tuwharetoa Street. For more up to date information check out our webpage on the events and what's on in Taupo. Back to your luxury apartment for aperitivi and if you're lucky, trout caught from directly in front of the apartment.

The time around dusk is ideal No trip to the North Island of New Zealand would be complete without experiencing our cultural capital, Rotorua. After checking out of Riverside Apartment, head north-east along State Highway 5 - about an hour will get you to the tourism mecca fondly known as 'Rotovegas' or more simply 'Vegas' to the locals!

On the way there it is easy to visit the Huka Falls and Aratiatia Rapids if you haven't done so already.

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Also, a good way to spend a few hours is walking the geothermal wonderland of Wai-o-Tapu , about 40 minutes drive from Taupo. If lakes and mountains are more to your preference, you can bypass the touristy-cultural options and head east of Rotorua to the stunning nearby lakes; the Blue Lake, Green Lake and Lake Tarawera. From Rotorua, follow the signs towards Hamilton which will take you over the Mamaku Range and descend back into the Waikato region. Tirau, a small town approximately halfway between Rotorua and Hamilton has several iconic corrugated iron sculptures - massive, delightfully kitsch and worthy of a photo as you pass by.

The original sheep has been joined in recent years by a sheepdog of course and the Good Shepherd himself. Sprouting to keep them company, local businesses have also added pukekos native swamp hens , vehicles of all sorts, bees and various animals to join the corrugated fun! After Tirau and taking just a short deviation off the road towards Hamilton, you'll find Hobbiton , the set where the famed Lord of the Rings movies were filmed, a must for fans of the movies.

Roadtrip New Zealand - Day 16 (Matamata - Paihia)

Lovely Cambridge, reminiscent of an small English town, relaxed and genteel. A perfect lunch stop on your way back to Auckland. Continue on your chosen route back to Auckland to complete your road trip. Plan to arrive after the 'morning commuter's rush' and from Cambridge it should take you just over an hour and a half to reach the airport. We hope you've had fun, and would love to get your thoughts and experiences on your time in New Zealand. We'd love to get your feedback, experiences and thoughts on how we could improve our suggestions or itinerary.