Hobbiton New Zealand

Home away from home

Walk through Hobbit homes, learn about Maori culture and photograph the best New Zealand has to offer.

Author

Kate Veteri

Destination: New Zealand

New Zealand is often described as a second home for Australians, and embodies the saying ‘the grass is greener on the other side’. With a similar culture, history and love of football, it is the perfect holiday destination for all those wanting an adventure-filled vacation surrounded by lush green hills.

North Island

Begin your holiday at the place where two estranged cultures collided to create ever-lasting history – the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. One of the nation’s premier attractions, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds is an interactive experience. Walk through the contemporary museum or take a guided tour of the grounds. The native forests and gardens overlook the Bay of Islands with a traditional Maori waka (canoe) nearby to show visitors how the ancestors travelled across the bay. History can also be found within the buildings on the grounds. Walk up the hillside to the Treaty House, home to British migrant James Busby. The Treaty of Waitangi, the document that established the British Colony of New Zealand, was signed in the grounds of the Treaty House on 6 February 1840. A tour of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds takes you on a cultural journey as well as a historical one with traditional Maori performances held at Te Whare Ru-nanga (the carved Meeting House). 

Rotorua volcanic walkway
Rotorua volcanic walkway
Adrian Hodge
Blue pools New Zealand
Haast blue pools track
Fraser Clements

While on the North Island visit a creation of a different kind – Hobbiton. The iconic rolling fields and lush green pasture, perfect for the Lord of the Rings series’ own Hobbiton, was found on the Alexander farm. Lying out of sight of twenty-first century creations, such as roads and power lines, the fantasy world of Middle-earth was constructed. In 2009, after filming The Hobbit trilogy, the crew left behind 44 permanent Hobbit Holes.

Today visitors can tour the hills of Hobbiton seeking out adventure by:

  • walking through the home of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins
  • learning how the Hobbit Holes were created
  • sitting under the sky-high Party Tree
  • or having a drink at The Green Dragon bar.

The magic of the Middle-earth can be found all over New Zealand. Between Blenheim and Nelson the Pelorus River offers walking paths through the forest glades, with paths leading to a waterfall and rock pool – the best in enchanting scenery. The Pelorus Bridge was a filming location for scenes from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, including the scene featuring dwarves floating in barrels down the river.

Lake Pukaki Mt Cook
Lake Pukaki/Mt Cook
Tourism New Zealand/Rob Suisted
Abseiling
Abseiling in Wanaka
Wildwire Wanaka

After touring the fantasy world of wonders, walk through the volcanic landscape of Rotorua’s Geothermal Wonders. Sitting within the Pacific Rim of Fire, the region has one of the world’s most active geothermal fields. Near the heart of the city sits the Pohutu Geyser – the main geyser of the area. A geyser is a spring that intermittently discharges water and steam. The Pohutu Geyser erupts up to 20 times a day spraying water and steam 30 metres into the air; it once erupted non-stop for more than 250 days. This geothermal wonderland is a site like no other. It is a place that won’t be forgotten by anyone who visits thanks in part to its memorable smell of sulphur. The constant smell and clouds of steam are a part of everyday life in Rotorua.

More natural phenomena can be found overlooking the waves of the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean crashing against each other, in a spectacular swirl of currents at Cape Reinga. The ultimate northern New Zealand experience is known as the place of leaping in Maori culture. History foretells that the sacred site is where the spirits of deceased Maori peoples leap into the ocean from an 800-year-old gnarled pohutukawa tree, returning to their ancestral homeland of Hawaiki.

Maori culture
Waitangi treaty grounds
Northland Inc Tourism
Maori culture
Tamaki Village Rotorua
Graeme Murray

South Island

For a change in scenery from the very north of New Zealand, head down to the South Island for an artistic collaboration of buildings at the Christchurch Street Art Trail. The creative and vibrant city is the urban phenomenon capturing the attention of artists around the world. They have taken art to the streets creating an outdoor museum of colour to adorn building walls. Visitors can use the interactive app to locate art from large murals to small paintings that fill this street art capital.

While in Christchurch experience the beauty of New Zealand’s most picturesque location lying neatly in the Southern Alps. Aoraki/Mt Cook is the highest peak in the country and is a popular tourist destination for mountain climbers and budding photographers. If you aren’t an experienced mountain climber there is an easy walking trail that shows the glories of the three-summit mountain. Enjoy a birds-eye view from the Hooker Valley Track that overlooks the turquoise water of the Hooker River below or experience its beauty by boat. If a day trip isn’t long enough to experience this marvel, then stay until the stars are out. Once night takes hold visit the Mt John Observatory to witness the clear and vast starlit skies of the world’s largest Dark Sky Reserve.

Whether travelling to the North- or the South Island, New Zealand will have a picturesque view and something to make everyone want to visit again.

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