Posted in Writing

24 Hours to Middle Earth by way of New Zealand

The first thing I shouldNew Zealand - Middle-earth 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 New Zealand- Middle-earth rotundame 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 ZealandNew Zealand- Middle-earth Bilbo, 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 froNew Zealand - Middle-earth Squirem 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 New Zealand-Middle-earth water fronta 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 fNew Zealand - mountainsamously 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.



I am Brenda Stapleton, a professional writer and social media enthusiast. Adaptability is my best characteristic, and humility is my worst. I am the founding columnist of “from the park bench” and blogger of "touring from the park bench". As a writer of freelance works, technical communications, articles, blogs, and the like, I have had the honor and the privilege of working with a very diverse group of people over the years. All have in some way enhanced my understanding, personally or professionally of their expertise, encouraging me to continue to seek knowledge and certifications in fields other than just those pursuant to a single degree program. Professionally- My professional accolades presently include a host of published articles and blogs with Faith Filled Family Magazine, as well as freelance writing from interviews with Voltron Publicity. The column “From the Park Bench” was published weekly in the Ruston Daily Leader from its inception. Through the Louisiana Department of Education and teaching the University of Louisiana at Monroe, I was an educator of grades 3, 5, 7-8, and 9-12 for five years. Through the University of Louisiana at Monroe RN program, I worked and trained as a registered nurse for five years. Being well-versed in both the Arts and Sciences, I hold a BA and MA in Criminal Justice with an undergraduate minor in Sociology, and graduate work in English. I was certified through (POST) Police Officer Standards Training after competing the professional law enforcement training academy in 1995, and worked in investigations for seven years. Personally- I grew up in Columbia, Louisiana in the same house, where my parents still live today. I began my life literally, stumbling every day of the way. I was fitted for my first set of braces on my legs, just so I could walk. I would wear braces on my legs, until the age of four, and orthopedic shoes until the age of six. Thinking the past was behind me, I took the world in leaps and bounds, until at the peak of my career, I faced yet another set-back, only this one, left me with a neurological injury that was irreversible. Since then, I have continuously chased a career, where my work ethic and my passions driving me forward, would often be pushed aside due to disability. Armed with a sense of humor, a desire to stay in the game of life, and a dream, I have continued on. I remember the words of Robert Frost often, “I took the road less traveled,” and I, too have learned many things along the way. I’ve learned the day is scarier than the night, for you will see the harm that befalls you. I’ve learned unconditional love is never stronger than in the very young, and in the very old. I’ve learned no matter what emotion a person is experiencing, a cuddly puppy can make you re-evaluate so much. I’ve learned the only certainty in life, is death- be ready. I’ve learned the most experienced emotions are forgiveness, grief and hope, and I’ve learned that patience is the most taught virtue. I often find myself deeply overwhelmed by nature, and I’ve come to realize how important grounding is for the body and soul. It’s the fleeting moments people don’t take advantage of, like when you are caught in a rainstorm, or snowflakes begin to fall, and melt as soon as they touch the warmth of your skin. Have you ever watched over a cocoon, as it changes into a butterfly, or a rose bud as it blooms? It is almost like watching your children grow, all too quickly, they aren’t children anymore. At the Moment- I am currently writing my first book. My two greatest accomplishments call me momma. These two beautiful ladies are inspirational to me, each in their own way, having faced their own giants, and still stand so strong. They are learning about life now, and are actively seeking their purpose in this world, through the pursuit of their own dreams. With the past behind me, my footing is a bit steadier, and I too, am focusing on what comes. Leaving my old dreams behind me, I am concentrating on writing, and continuing on with whatever comes my way, with pen and paper in hand.

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