New Zealand Posts

Visiting Edoras: New Zealand’s Mount Sunday

New Zealand

It’s hard to be in New Zealand and not eventually stumble upon some of the filming locations from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. While most of the scenic areas from the films are on the South Island, there are plenty of opportunities on the North Island to take a visit to Middle Earth, most notable is of course Hobbiton near Matamata. During our two week campervan adventure on New Zealand’s south island, we had an impromptu idea to visit Edoras, which was the primary filming location for the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. It’s situated on private property, but the owners don’t seem to have a problem with tour busses and individual tourists making the trek up to the top. The actual hill where the Golden Hall was located is known as Mount Sunday in New Zealand, and that’s your destination. To get to Mount Sunday [Google […]

Finding Free Wireless Internet in New Zealand

New Zealand

Unless you are coming from Australia, you’ll likely arrive in New Zealand and be instantly surprised with how hard it is to find usable Internet, or how much money you have to pay to get online. Sure, some coffee shops give you 30 minutes of free time with the purchase of a coffee, but that’s hardly enough time to send a few emails or check in with friends and family on Facebook. If you want to do anything useful, such as upload photos or do a few online chats with people back home, you’re going to find it very difficult all over New Zealand unless you’re willing to shell out $3-$5 an hour whenever you do find it. Even if you do shell out any money to get online, you will likely have a bare-bones data-cap to contend with, often only 50MB or so for a one hour session. I […]

Back In New Zealand

New Zealand

A little over 24 hours ago we boarded Air New Zealand flight 83 in Vancouver for a 14-hour trip back to Auckland, New Zealand. I spent four weeks in Auckland about two years ago and really enjoyed myself. My original plan at the time was to slowly make my way south to the South Island and spend some time in a CamperVan, but eventually decided against it because I couldn’t find anyone to share the adventure with me. Thankfully now I have a girlfriend, and she was excited to spend a few weeks in a CamperVan in New Zealand. So we booked a three week trip back to New Zealand, and are currently in Auckland getting ready for New Year’s Eve. We are here until Friday, at which time we will likely take a bus to Matamata and spend part of Saturday back at the set of Hobbiton. I was […]

New Zealand Campervan Adventure

New Zealand

A few years ago I visited New Zealand and fulfilled one of my lifelong dreams. The highlight of the trip for me was undoubtedly my trip to Matamata, New Zealand to visit the actual, real-life set of Hobbiton from the Lord of the Rings movies. Due to time constraints, I only spent one month there and only saw the North Island. I had wanted to head down to the South Island at the time and possibly rent a campervan, but it didn’t really seem like something that would be that fun by myself. So I decided at the time to head back to Canada and enjoy Christmas with my family. A New Trip Luciana and I were recently trying to figure out something to do for New Year’s eve, and found a ‘cheap’ (all flights to New Zealand are relatively expensive) flight to New Zealand for around the same time. […]

My Tour Of Hobbiton In Matamata, New Zealand

New Zealand

Almost exactly a year ago I visited Matamata, New Zealand to take part in an official tour of Hobbiton, the actual set where the Hobbits lived in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Prior to the visit my friends and I all had to sign papers saying we wouldn’t publicize any photos prior to the release of the Hobbit (since the newly reconstructed Hobbiton set contained some elements not visible in The Lord of the Rings trilogy). Since the world premiere of The Hobbit is today in Wellington, I figure at this point in time there’s no problem finally publishing the photos from that day. We were actually quite fortunate: had you visited Hobbiton in the 10 years since The Lord of the Rings you would have just seen a few Hobbit-hole façades. The actual set was mostly destroyed after the original trilogy, with only a few items […]

Five Weeks in New Zealand

New Zealand

Now that I’ve had time to reflect on my time in New Zealand, I thought I would post an update with what I thought of the country in general. First, New Zealand is gorgeous. I didn’t get a chance to visit the South Island on this trip, but I made my way from tip to tip of the North Island. One thing that’s pretty amazing there is just how green the grass is. We have green grass in Canada, but it’s more of a florescent green in New Zealand – it’s pretty surreal. It’s like what grass looks like when you bump the saturation up on a typical grass shot in photoshop, except you don’t have to do that in New Zealand. In addition much of the landscape involves rolling hills, which made for some pretty spectacular vistas. Costs Given that New Zealand is essentially a series of two islands […]

Four Week Visit To Auckland

New Zealand

In less than three days I’ll be vacating my little apartment here in Auckland and hitting the open road again. Most people told me beforehand that Auckland wouldn’t be that interesting, but I quite enjoyed my time here. Here is a summary about my four week visit to Auckland, New Zealand. First, I took two weekends worth of sailing lessons from a pretty famous New Zealander named Penny Whiting. While I still have a ways to go, I now have a Certificate of Sailing Competency, which should allow me to charter a boat on my travels if I want. Penny was a great teacher, and she’s well known for being a commentator during the America’s cup and other sailing events. She’s even been awarded a M.B.E. for her contributions to sailing – very impressive. Second, the pub scene in Auckland is pretty decent. It’s not like Portland, Oregon or anything […]

Auckland, Sailing and Tweetup

New Zealand

I’m only in Auckland until the end of the month, but I have a pretty busy schedule until then. This weekend I start sailing lessons with the Penny Whiting sailing school. It looks like there are about 8 people in our group, so it should be a fun experience. I’ve already received some introductory material, so I’ll spend the next few evenings going over it to get ready for the course on Saturday. One of the items we were told is that we’re not allowed to wear any non-white soles on the sailboat. That gave me a good excuse to go out and buy a new pair of Adidas casual shoes (a nice change from sandals). So I’m doing my best to break them in before the weekend. I also got selected to be a part of a private Tweet-up organized by Air New Zealand on the first 787 to […]

First Few Days In New Zealand

New Zealand

I left Koh Samui just a few days ago and flew up to Bangkok. My original plan was to spend three days in the city and then fly out to Auckland, New Zealand on the following Monday. Unfortunately though, the flood crisis in Bangkok was hitting the tipping point, and residents were being urged to get out of the city if they had the means. Since Air Canada was offering free change fees on all flights in and out of Bangkok, I decided to change my flight around. All in all it worked out for the best. Instead of a 10 hour layover in Kuala Lumpur, I ended up with a direct flight to Auckland on Thai Airways. The plane wasn’t full so ultimately I ended up having most of a row to myself. I watched about a movie and a half on the flight, and managed to sleep through […]

Auckland Bound

New ZealandThailand

As per my last post, I was supposed to spend the weekend in Bangkok this weekend and then head to Auckland on Monday. But given how people are evacuating from Bangkok, I decided to try and change my flights around to get out before things get even worse. Thankfully most airlines (including mine, Air Canada) are offering free change fees on flights to and from Bangkok due to the flooding crisis there, so my ticket was eligible for a change. I tried calling last night to sort it out, but unfortunately due to the time change I didn’t get the ticket office in time before it closed. This time I managed to get it in time, but was originally told there were no flights out until Monday on Malaysia Airlines (which is the carrier I was on). I then asked if they could put me on another partner’s carrier instead, […]