Travel Log: New Zealand Part 1

Though I've been to New Zealand a few times, nothing compares to the recent trip I took in December/January that allowed me to see the country for its true magnificence. The expansive mountain ranges that go on for miles, the cute little sheep that dot the countryside and glorious sunsets every single day, it's no wonder this country is so often used as the setting for so many films.

Speaking of films, as a major Lord Of The Rings and Hobbit enthusiast, it seemed only natural that Hobbiton would be stop number 1 on our trip. It certainly did not disappoint - over 40 quaint little hobbit holes make up the Shire - all of which I would happily take up residence. It's the little details  that make this place special; little ladders, workshops, clotheslines and chimneys really individualise each home. Starting on the road where Frodo meets Gandalf on his cart, the two hour tour takes you through the Shire, showcasing the party tree and the houses of Bilbo and Sam, ending at the Green Dragon for a drink - giving you a little peek into the life of a Hobbit.

From here, we headed to Te Puke where we would stay with family for the next week and a half. Having come from Australian summer - which essentially means unbearably hot weather and a brown lawn - the cool breeze, green grass and adorable countryside houses were a welcome relief. When we weren't lazing around, sipping tea in the garden, time was spent exploring the sights and taking day trips to the Redwood forest, mud pools and plenty of lakes and beaches. A particularly relaxing few days was spent at the bach -  a block of land by the beach with a caravan, a tent and small utility shed. It was just what we all needed to relax, unwind and just enjoy the company of family as the year came to an end. 

Even just after a week, I had fallen completely in love with this country all over again. Sure it may not seem as exotic or foreign as Europe, Africa or Asia, but I think we all take it for granted that one of the worlds most beautiful places is right next door. I already can't wait to return!