This site last updated on  22-Sep-2003
The journey commenced with a ride through Matamata, the area filmed as Hobbiton in "Lord of the Rings". Here's me with Hobbiton in the background! We then headed for Mt. Maunganui. It was a beautiful place, and I was able to indulge in a bit of arty photography! We then moved to nearby Tauranga, where we stayed overnight.
Next day we headed for Rotorua, where we visited a village buried in an eruption of Mt. Tarawera in 1860's, which destroyed some beautiful pink and white terraces. We also went around Lake Tarawera for the stunning views. It was really interesting, and we learnt that tourism had already started in New Zealand in 1840! There were some really interesting facts, plus a walk around a beautiful waterfall. We passed by two lakes, the Blue Lake and Green Lake, and read an interesting Maori legend.
Next we went to Whakarewarewa, a living village in the middle of Hot Springs, Geysers, and mud pools. They even bury their dead in such an active area! It was really interesting with much more vegetation than Yellowstone. There were also terraces of minerals, as the water flowed to hot baths. As with any Maori village, there was also a ceremonial house. On the way to Taupo, we passed by Huka Falls. Apparently, the volume of two Olympic sized swimming pools passes over every second! We also got a view of Mt Tarawera from a different angle.
Lake Taupo must be stunning with Mt. Ruapehu in the background with blue skies. Unfortunately, we did not have the sun! This volcano erupted in 1995, and produced an amazing landscape. This was used to film Mordor in "Lord of the Rings". We then headed for Napier, passing through some stunning scenery, and a lovely waterfall.
When in Napier we visited the oldest vineyard in New Zealand, The Mission, founded by French Monks. The wine tasting was great fun! Whilst in the area we decided to take a trip to a Gannet Colony at Cape Kidnappers, but the weather defeated us. It blew a gale!
The next day, we headed off to Wellington via Kaitoke Park, where the scenes for Rivendell in "Lord of the Rings" were filmed. We also passed by Lake Wairarapa, and through the Hutt valley. The Park was beautiful, and you could see why it was chosen for Rivendell. There were lovely Silver Ferns, the emblem of New Zealand. The River Hutt also had beautiful cascades. We finally arrived in Wellington, where we saw a Sail boat race. The weather was always murky whilst we were there, including our departure.