New Zealand, a country that I’ve always heard so many great things about and a place I never thought I’d see myself. Or at least, not as an American 23-year-old. A land whose natural beauty rivals that of fantasies; and for that exact reason, film crews flock to New Zealand (and rightfully so). A country where there is no shortage of sheep, Hobbit holes, and super friendly locals.
New Zealand, you are marvelous.
After a whirlwind of a week in literal paradise, my sister and I hopped on a plane to Auckland, New Zealand. We flew over the International Date Line on this flight, and doing so “lost” a day (RIP June 5, 2017 – I never really knew you) when we landed in the capital city. We were greeted by much colder temps and rain, as we realized we were no longer in Bora Bora anymore.
After a quick airport shuttle ride into the heart of the city, we settled into our AirBnB by taking a little power nap. By that time, it was already getting late and we were in dire need of food. On the shuttle ride in, we saw a Nandos, so we had to for sure hit that up. We actually fell in love with it when we were in London, and because there isn’t one near where we live in the States, we ate here twice.
During this first evening in the city, we also learned how to cross the street diagonally. It’s what the Auckland locals do, and I wouldn’t be opposed to adopting this practice here in the States… It saves so much time!
Our second day in New Zealand started off on a bus down to Rotorua, with a stop at Hobbiton. Now I have never seen any of the Lord of the Rings movies, definitely didn’t read the books, and only watched the second film in the Hobbit series.. However, I am a fan of fantasy (I’m talking Game of Thrones and Harry Potter, woo!) and can appreciate a movie set.
The amount of detail that went into these Hobbit holes is unreal. Each Hobbit hole is decorated to represent the different residents of the Shire. Everyone knows Bag End, the home of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. However, there’s also the Baker, the Beekeeper, the Inventor, the TOWN DRUNK (lol.) And knowing their occupation, you can easily identify their respective homes – the Baker has pastries and bread in their windows!
I really enjoyed touring the film set despite not really knowing the film/s. Though, I think I would have appreciated it more if I was a LOTR fan. (I did end up watching the first Hobbit film on the flight back to the States). We ended the tour with ginger beers at the Green Dragon!
Janelle and I only spent about 12 hours in Rotorua; half of which was spent asleep as it was only an overnight stay. Rotorua – the city that smells like rotten eggs, due to the sulphur in their world-renown natural hot springs. It was FREEZING (for southern Californian standards) but we rallied and spent our evening literally soaking in a hot spring pool at the Polynesian Spa. The hot water felt so good on our sore muscles, and the natural minerals did wonders for our skin.. Or at least, that’s what we had hoped!
Although there is so much more to the little town than the hot springs, it was all we managed to see and do during our short overnight stay. When I go back to New Zealand, Rotorua is on my list to visit again!
Auckland – The City of Sails
Back in Auckland for the last couple of days, Janelle and I froze our buns off, but enjoyed the city life for all that it’s worth. I could definitely imagine myself in Auckland; it definitely gave me San Francisco vibes. Although, if you know me, London is the goal and forever the standard I hold all cities to (just kidding, but not really).
On one of our last days in the city, we took a harbor cruise and got the greatest views of the Auckland skyline. We spent some time on those benches just watching the sailboats go by. Did you know that Auckland’s nickname is “City of Sails”? Over 135,000 yachts and sailboats are registered in Auckland. With a population of 1.4 million, that’s a good amount of boats to people!
Although it was a short stay, it was as the Kiwis say, “Sweet as!”