I’m always anxious thinking I’m not living my life to the fullest, I guess that’s why I love going on adventures so much, specifically travelling the world. The earth is so big, I’ve hardly made a dent in it, and after coming out of a five year relationship feeling like I’d accomplished absolutely nothing, I knew I had to drastically change my life and start doing things for me. This led me to create a rather substantial bucket list, over 500 things in fact, and still counting. You can see a snippet of the list here – it’s my favourite section, the geeky section.
Two years ago, I decided to cross off a couple; Numbers 19 and 20 – Visit Hobbiton and Visit Mordor. You know what that meant? Taking a 24 hour flight from England to New Zealand. To date, it has been my most favourite trip anywhere. NZ is absolutely stunning. It’s not just the home of Lord of the Rings, it’s a beautiful, magical place filled with awe inspiring scenery and adrenaline fuelled adventures. I’ve never accomplished so much in two weeks; White water rafting, Black water rafting, Kayaking, Surfing, Bungee Jumping, Sky Diving, Climbing, Hiking..
My friend and I managed to coincide our trip with the Hobbit premiere as well, which made things even more special, and we even super dorky by hiring a Lord of the Rings themed Campervan, it was pretty awesome.
Hobbiton was our first nerdy stop off. It’s hidden within a village called Matamata. After Peter Jackson had finished filming the final Hobbit movie, which is due out later this year, the set of Hobbiton was left as a tourist attraction for people to visit. A walking tour takes you around all of the hobbit holes, you even get to see bag end, the home of Bilbo and Frodo, and the party tree. The guide was full of facts about the movies, and stories about other fans who had been on the tour. My favourite was a man who bought a $800 ‘one ring’ from the gift shop, then rented a helicopter to fly him over Mount Doom so that he could drop it in the volcano. Feeling that may have been a little over the top, I decided to buy a couple of bottles of Hobbit beer instead of a ring, and hike the mountain instead of fly over it.
Mt Doom and Mordor was filmed atop a selection of volcanoes. To get to these we had to hike for just under 6 hours across the 19.4km Tongariro Alpine Crossing. It was absolutely beautiful. The pain of climbing steep hills for multiple hours was cancelled out by the fact that we were surrounded by some of the best scenery in New Zealand, not to mention, the home of Sauron. After following a river to the ‘Devils Staircase’, climbing that to snow topped mountains, then pulling ourselves over the steepest part of the hike, he were greeted with an amazing view of the set of Mount Doom and Mordor. It’s hard to picture hundreds of orcs spread across the mountains, but then that’s what CG is for right?
Our final nerdy stop was Wellington, New Zealand’s Capitol, and location of the Hobbit premiere, for An Unexpected Journey. It was packed. Like us, people had come from all over the place to witness the occasion. The red carpet spread along the streets for miles, performers juggled and blew fire, statues covered the pavements, and everyone was dressed up. It was definitely something special. We even managed to catch a glimpse at some of the stars; Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt.
I honestly wouldn’t hesitate to go to New Zealand again, and now that the Hobbit movies have finished being filmed, there are even more film sets for me to check out.