After a couple of long days traveling from the bottom of the South Island, we decided to chill out in Wellington for a few nights before continuing our journey north.
We spent some time in the impressive Te Papa museum where we saw the worlds largest known colossal squid! It had been captured here in New Zealand just off the South Island coast in 2007 and preserved post-mortem for our viewing!
We had a walk around the capital city and up the famous Cuba street before beers & a bite to eat.
Whilst we had a bit of down time in Wellington, we planned for the next few days. This involved hiring a car and getting off the beaten track to some places the coach pass wouldn’t get us! To do this we used a website called transfercar.co.nz which allowed us to ‘relocate’ a car for a rental company for next to nothing! The rental ended up being $1 plus a bit extra for insurance and we got a Holden Commodore SV6 3.6 litre v6! or to Jen… “a red one”.
The next morning we picked up the car and drove north for a steady 7 hours to the land of the Hobbits – Hobbiton village. This is the incredibly preserved set from the lord of the rings & the hobbit trilogy’s. It’s actually quite a big place set in to the middle of a sheep farm. Featuring 46 hobbit holes, 72 smoking chimneys and the film featured, fully functioning pub! The detail that Peter Jackson had insisted on in this place was unbelievable. To the point where the colour of the leaves on one of the full size fake trees he’d had made for set, were the wrong colour. So each individual leaf had to be taken off hand painted and wired back on to the branches manually (all 20,000 of them!) Its the tree above Bilbos house on the second picture down…
After a pint in the green dragon we carried on to Waitomo to find our hostel for the next two nights.
Up & at ‘em early on valentines morning to go and do the ‘black abyss’ tour down the glow worm caves! This involved abseiling, flying fox, tubing, crawling through small places and climbing waterfalls! Very romantic. We wet suited up and attached our climbing equipment.
After abseiling down and squeezing through a small opening in the cave roof, then zip lining deeper down in to the cave in total darkness, we saw the glow worms for the first time. Pretty awesome! We then proceeded to jump down in to the caves river and make our way downstream on a tube…
5 hours later we climbed up through a couple of waterfalls and squeezed out in to day light again!
After hot soup & showers we relaxed back at the hostel for a while before a more romantic meal of Steak & BBQ ribs in the local restaurant.