Middle-earth: New Zealand

Known in the native Maori language as Aotearoa, meaning “the land of the long white cloud,” New Zealand is a country of unparalleled and unspoiled natural beauty.  The landscape varies across both North and South Islands of the country, with soaring mountain peaks, active volcanoes, rugged coastlines, beautiful beaches, large glaciers, intricate fiords,  mirrored lakes, flowing rivers, rolling vineyards, and sheep-filled pastures.

New Zealand is by far the most stunningly gorgeous country I have ever visited.  If you thought the scenery featured in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy was incredible, just try seeing it in person.  It will blow you away.

When I had first booked my Australia trip, that was supposed to be it.  I mean – I booked Australia right before leaving for Egypt, and Australia was supposed to be the final trip to help scratch the traveling itch.  But alas, there is no permanent cure for travel addiction.  As my Australia departure date neared, I realized I couldn’t just stop there.  Why not head to New Zealand?  I mean, I was all the way in that part of the world anyway!   (Sigh… and I still regret not continuing onto to Fiji… it was right there!)

After leaving Sydney with my fellow wandering hobo friend, JR, we took a 3 hour flight to Wellington.  We spent a brief but amazing 9 days in New Zealand, hitting up all the major destinations throughout the North and South Islands.  I wish we could have stayed longer as there was so much more to see and do, but apparently we were trying to be responsible by ending our funemployment sooner… oh the mistakes we make in life…

Day 1-2: Wellington
Wellington’s cable car, Botanic Gardens, LOTR tour, Te Papu, International Jazz Festival

Day 3: Road Trip into South Island
Ferry from the North to South Island, Malborough wine tasting, Kaikoura, Christchurch

Day 4-7: Queenstown
Skyline Gondola to Bob’s Peak, Lake Wakatipu, The Remarkables, sky diving, Te Anau, Milford Sounds, Fiordland

Days 8-9: Auckland
Albert Park, Auckland Harbour, Rangitoto Island

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