Auckland, Waitamo Caves, Mount Maunganui, Matamata, Hobbiton – 2nd-6th May 2015

I’m going to condense the next few days into one post as our last day in Auckland doesn’t have much to write about.

Our last day in Auckland was again spent with my cousin, the Auckland Museum was our first stop. It’s definitely a museum worth visiting, but then, aren’t they all? With a magnificent shrine to the ANZAC’s,

ANZAC Shrine, Auckland Museum – Photo taken by Elissa Poletti
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ANZAC Shrine, Auckland Museum – Photo taken by Elissa Poletti

a massive display of Māori culture,

Māori building, Auckland Museum – Photo taken by Elissa Poletti

and simulations of volcanic eruptions (not to mention countless other displays of animals, sea life, etc) there is plenty to see and do!

Next stop was Cornwall Park. Now I’m not sure if Cornwall Park is named after Cornwall in England but if does look and feel like English country side. Cobble stone fences keeping the sheep in, beautiful English trees, lush green grass and a stunning view from the mountain that overlooks the park.

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Cornwall Park, Auckland – Photo taken by Elissa Poletti

With a 5am start the next day we set out for the Waitamo Caves. These caves are full to the brim with glow worms and it is well and truly a sight to behold. Unfortunately there is no photography allowed whilst in the caves, but I have included a photo from the Waitamo Caves website. (So clearly someone is able to take photos…)

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Photo taken from – http://www.hamiltonwaikato.com/media/1538/waitomo-glowworm-caves-discover-waitomo-new-zealand.ClVsMA.jpg

Our destination after exploring the caves was Mount Maunganui, but we stopped in a little town called Cambridge for lunch and we’re so glad we did. It is such a beautiful town, filled with gorgeous English trees that, seeing as it was Autumn, were beautiful reds and oranges.

Despite its name, you aren’t in the mountains when staying at Mount Maunganui. It’s actually coastal, and oh so beautiful.

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Image via Twitter

Like a lot of the North Island’s mountains, Mount Maunganui is a volcano, and this one is extinct. If you have the time, I recommend going for a drive around the area, the country roads are stunning, lots of rolling hills and yes, sheep!

It’s about a 45 minute drive to Matamata from Mount Maunganui. Matamata is the gateway to Hobbiton, the massive set where The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies were filmed. If you’re going to New Zealand there is no way you can miss out on Hobbiton. It is, in a word, amazing. A bus will take you from the information centre in Matamata, out to the farmland the set has been built on.

Once at Hobbiton, you will be taken on a guided tour around the set, exploring different Hobbit holes, with little fun facts and information along the way.

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In a hole, in the ground, there lived a Hobbit – Photo taken by Elissa Poletti
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Bilbo Baggin’s home – Photo taken by Elissa Poletti

The tour ends at “The Green Dragon”, the Hobbits local watering hole, where you are treated to a locally brewed drink of your choice, I had the apple cider and it was delicious! Yummy food is also on offer at “The Green Dragon“, I tried the beef and ale pie, and my goodness did it melt in my mouth!

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The Green Dragon – Photo taken by Elissa Poletti.

Don’t forget to stop in at the gift shop on your way out, there is so much on offer in there, replicas of props used in the films, such as the key to Erebor, or Kili’s promise rune stone. Little miniatures of Hobbit holes and poster are also available.

There are several cafes in Matamata open for tea and coffee to finish off your day at Hobbition.

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