The first thing I should say about New Zealand is 24 hours is not long enough to get acquainted with all this beautiful country has to offer. I have not taken this trip, but it is on the list of things to do as early as next year. You see, I have a 16-year-old daughter who loves necessarily, all things New Zealand. That love started with a healthy respect for Karl Urban and continued with the invitation to Middle-Earth from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit Trilogies. Since then, I have had to gain facts and other information about New Zealand to discover if this might be something entertaining.
The one thing I have found about New Zealand that draws me in is that it is uncrowded. That is such an incredible change of pace in travel. Normally, wherever you go, there’s no room to move. Not so, in this beautiful place, even the weather is fantastic. You can find temperatures in the Spring, Summer, and Fall (September – May) all ranging between in the lower 60’s to upper 70’s. Only the Winter brings lower temps, but not much lower. The welcoming of the lower 50’s and the upper 60’s usher in the cooler air and this cooler air is present in the months of June – August.
New Zealand is rich with history and today that history shows a multicultural and diversely beautiful country established under British law. New Zealand preserves its founding document in the same building the treaty was originally signed, also known as the Treat of Waitangi. So for 24 hours in New Zealand, the last thing you have to worry about is when to go and if you will have enough to see and do.
From curious geysers, National Parks, botanical gardens, and museums of maritime history, the availability of scenic excursions are quite appealing. There is no shortage of animals at the zoo, at the park, on the waterfront, and some have their colonies to see them all at their best. You will not go hungry or thirsty while there either, and regardless what time of the year you go, you should find yourself enjoying a rather lively festival of sorts.
Many people travel to New Zealand for the trip to Middle-earth. Nothing is quite like the Waikato region, or Matamata, where Hobbiton and the Shire are just a couple of about 150 locations memorably linked with The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies.and it’s not to see what remains, but to visit the preservation of all for just that occasion.
The North Island is home to Peter Jackson’s Stone St Studios, Park Rd Post, Weta Workshop and Weta Digital that was central to The Hobbit Trilogy production. The movie business center is off-limits to visitors, but the Weta Cave is open to all those who travel to see sights from the set of either location. Tours for The Lord of the Rings include helicopter rides over the limestone formations that formed Dimholt Road. Found in Wellington, this is the meeting place where Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli rode to find the ‘Army of the Dead.’ The Kaimai mountain range is also among the permanently constructed materials for The Hobbit Trilogy. Tongariro National Park in the North Island’s central plateau became the Emyn Muil for The Lord of the Rings. Thousands now tread the same path as Frodo and Sam by walking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing as if they were crossing the Shire themselves.
The South Islands should peak considerable interest for those excited Lord of the Rings tourists use a luxury FWD into the remote back of the valleys to an area transformed into Edoras, to view the capital of the Rohan people. From Queenstown, it’s possible to fly, drive, cycle, or trek to many of the locations that provided the most dramatic scenery from either Trilogy. However, it is not recommended to travel this area without a guide, or a company with you, as some areas are not as easily identifiable as others.
There was something I found disheartening about the first 24 hours of my trip to New Zealand. For an actual Middle-earth fan, the first seven days is just a trip from Auckland to Wellington. However, seven days is only the beginning. The tour may be extended seven days longer, a total of 14 days, ending in Central Queenstown. After reviewing the real fan options, I realized only the most loyal fan would come to New Zealand, and not participate in the Ultimate Tour of Middle-earth, which is a 21-day tour.
I have since found, every region of New Zealand’s Middle-earth is likened to remind these hobbit-loving tourists of the great lengths gone through in filming these Trilogies. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy itself was famously filmed in one hit, making it one of the longest and most massive productions in movie history. And for all of you who are fans of Middle-earth, that adds up to how many days for each? A little trivia for you who love of J.R.R. Tolkien? If you said, “266”? You are correct, which is how many days it will surely take you to recover from your Middle-earth tour. Your first 24 hours though will be a time of reflection, direction, and perhaps, reviewing your map reading skills and compass reading abilities. Especially since from all accounts read, when touring New Zealand with their primitive wildlife and towering mountains, there are times when those who wander without a guide, will indeed get lost.