Journey Three / Chapter 8

North Island of New Zealand

November 2018

Travels across the North Island of New Zealand, full of amazing National Parks, LOTR filming locations, hot springs, jaw-dropping cave systems and inspring Maori culture.

After crossing the Cook Strait we start our tour of New Zealand in Wellington, the country's capital. Major attraction for us in the capital is visiting special effects studio that stands behind movies like Lord of the Rings and Hobbit, but also many others.

Yes, in fact most of our visit to the North Island will be dominated by Lord of The Rings themes. As we head out north from the capital inland, our first stop is Tongario National Park, an volcanic area in the middle of the island. We head onto famous Tongario Alpine Crossing, a full day trek across the park. This barren but beautiful area is home to many majestic volcanoes that are still active. And yes, this is where Mordor and Mr. Doom scenes from Lord of The Rings were filmed.

Afterwards we continue our trip up north through region of lake Rotorua, home to hundreds of hot springs. And our visit to this region would not be complete without visiting Waitomo caves, where we head onto once in a lifetime adventure of abseiling 100m into a deep cave that looks like a Lost World, cross through the cave in a series of tunnels and get out using different exit after a lot of climbing up. Another place in the region that is unmissable for any visitor is the famous Hobbiton, an permanent movie set that was used in filming LOTR and Hobbit movie series.

For our last part of New Zealand trip we head briefly to Coromandel Peninsula, famous for its natural beauty and unusual attraction - a hot water beach, where on low tide visitors can dig out their holes in the sand and enjoy their very own private and free hot spring. And then off to the largest city in the country - Auckland, sitting on a dozen of volcanoes.