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An incredible journey
An Incredible journey
It's summertime in the places where most of the people reading these hubs are based and everyone is thinking of heading off on holiday, or at least hoping to anyway so even though it's the depths of winter down here in New Zealand I thought I'd take te time to tell you a little about a holiday that our family took recently.
Only a short trip in miles (or Kilometers as we use here) but in some ways it was like being transported between worlds as we got to do some things that we'd wanted to do for years.
In April of this year I had a week off and we headed for a place we'd wanted to go visit for a couple of years, we went down to Wellington.
New Zealand doesn't have a big population, but don't let that fool you, it's a pretty big place in a lot of ways, three large Islands surrounded by thousands of smaller ones that can't be more different to each other. In this hub I'm going to take a look at the route between the two main cities and what a traveler might encounter on the way between the two
Imagine as you board the plane you watch this video!
Welcome to the 'City of Sails'
'Welcome to Middle Earth'
Believe it or not that sign used to hang in the main entrance as you came out of the arrivals terminal at Auckland International airport, and it was flanked by ten foot tall statues of the Dwarves from 'The Hobbit'. They've taken most of the dwarves away now but I think there's still one standing guard, we're kind of proud that you're walking into one of the biggest movie sets ever thought up!
Okay originally i had no intention of putting that video in but having watched I just HAD to!!!
By the way this hub is also a bit for those of us who might be struggling to afford a holiday this year, my hope is this hub will take you away to a favorite place for a few moments, so strap in and hold on as we take a look around.
With just over one and a half million people it's not a huge city on the international scale of things, but it's our biggest city, and it's the one you'd fly into if you were coming.
Twelve hours from Los Angeles, eight hours from Hawaii and three hours from Sydney it's a long flight, but don't run away just yet.
Truth is that Auckland is a great place to visit (don't tell any Aucklanders I said that though! their heads will swell!) It's the place where if New Zealand has something to celebrate (like the Rugby world cup or the Americas Cup) you'll find it in Auckland, and that's our first destination.
A great read for the flight
- Sting of the Scorpion (Scorpion one Book 1) - Kindle edition by Lawrence Hebb. Literature & Fict
Sting of the Scorpion (Scorpion one Book 1) - Kindle edition by Lawrence Hebb. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Sting of the Scorpion (S
Just a few places to see
Your arrival point
Anyone want to race an Americas cup boat? How about a bungy jump off the Sky Tower?
Okay, I live here!
Visit the actual film set, enjoy a good Beer in the 'Green Dragon' just like Bilbo and Frodo
The biggest volcano on the Earth,
Weta workshops, Te Papa museum and so much more
Taking the trip
We often go up to Auckland so this time our trip didn't start there, but it didn't seem right to start the trip half way through the country without at least an intro to what folks will see at the start of the journey.
You could easily spend a week or so in Auckland and have a great time, but if you want to see the 'real country' you'll need to travel a little ways, by the way 'Lord of the Rings' isn't the only movie made here, anyone like "The chronicles of Narnia?' those movies were filmed just outside Auckland and especially the Coromandel peninsular just east of Auckland where 'Prince Caspian' and 'Voyage of the Dawn Trader' were filmed.
About an hour and a half out of Auckland down State Highway 1 you'll find me and the city of Hamilton, not a big place but a friendly welcome will be had by all. most tourists just 'blast through Hamilton on their way to stuff like Hobbiton and the Waitomo caves, not realizing what they missing
Some friends got a nice surprise
An unusual trip
A couple of years ago we had some American friends come out for a visit. They were coming to a conference in Queenstown in the South Island but wanted to do some sightseeing in the North so they planned to fly into Auckland, they were fans of the Movies and at the time 'The Desolation of Smaug was just coming out in theaters. Imagine the shock when they looked at the plane and it was called 'Smaug' complete with the painting of the Dragon (I'm not sure they got the safety video we saw earlier!) They were totally blown away!
Actually that was pretty cool as they both played 'Gridiron' and as such they really appreciated the finer technical points of our national game Rugby, the two are very similar except no padding is worn in Rugby and the ball can only be passed backwards (but you can have as many passes as you need to, as long as it goes backwards)
They wanted to do all the stuff to do with Lord of the Rings but were a bit unsure of driving on the left, so we offered them that Jodie would take them provided they paid for things, it worked a treat and a great time was had by all except yours truly who had to stay behind to work!
Ah well, such is life!
What those who skip Hamilton miss
'The Shire' a real place
'The Shire' is a real place
Situated just outside Matamata an hours drive from Hamilton is the place that was used for the movie set.
It was interesting that the place was a farmers land and apparently when he was approached for he first movie he simply said "Okay, as long as you return the site to the way you found it"
It took them a year to prepare the holes and allow the grass to grow over the top of them before the filming began, but the film crew were good as their word and although they left the holes in (the farmer agreed to that) they left everything the way it had been.
What no one counted on was thousands of people every week turning up at the farm gate wanting to see the 'real Hobbiton' so slowly the farmer began restoring the Hobbit holes.
When they approached him for filming 'The Hobbit' the conditions was "This time leave the props" and a new and pretty unique theme park was born, not one with fancy rides but a real escape into a Fantastic land! the world of the Hobbits!
A little further down the land you get a big reminder that New Zealand is right on the 'Rim of Fire' the ring around the Pacific where most of the world's volcanoes sit, by the way did you know that they actually used an active Volcano for 'Mount Doom?'
In the middle of the North Island are four mountains that are all active volcanoes! three are not the spectacular kind but the most active one erupts every ten years or so. The one they used for the Movie was Mount Tongariro that erupts every hundred or so years, and can be pretty big but not world news, it last erupted in 2012
The last one is Lake Taupo and you really don't want that one to go off! It last erupted in the second century AD and it's believed to have been so violent it was recorded by both the Chinese and the Romans.
If it ever goes off, you'll know about it!
Three of the four 'bad boys'
That's all for now folks
Man, I wanted to tell you about our trip to Wellington, but thought I should show a bit of the other places first, then got to 'rambling' again. Oh well, Wellington will have to wait for now. Still, I hope you've enjoyed this little 'trip' we took.
Speaking of journeys, why not join me on my blog post as we explore the journey towards achieving our dreams.
Here's my Blog
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Got a dream? Have a plan? The first part is to listen.