Explore New Zealand and a Trip of a Lifetime

The Shire and Hobbiton Studio Tours

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Ever since I learned that my wife once lived in New Zealand, I have wanted to Explore New Zealand for many years and some of the locations for the Lord of The Rings and the Hobbit. But Where is New Zealand?

To Explore New Zealand is something which may time more than a few attempts, where I know I want to visit and explore New Zealand more than just once in my lifetime at least. 

Where is New Zealand - The Lonely Tree

How Big is New Zealand?

New Zealand consists of two main islands, the North and the South about the size of the State of Colorado, USA. So Just How Big is New Zealand? New Zealand is about 1000 miles (1600 km) long if you include both the north and south islands. It is roughly about 280 miles at New Zealand’s widest point. 

What Time is It In New Zealand?

When you arrive in New Zealand, you will discover that the time difference from the UK to NZ varies at different times of the year you visit. Because New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere and about 1,346 miles from Sydney – Australia to Auckland, New Zealand or 3.5 hours via plane. You have to cross two time zones to get from Australia to New Zealand. So what time is it in New Zealand during the UK summer months? The time in New Zealand will be DST (UK Daylight Saving Time) plus 11 hours. New Zealand’s Daylight Savings Time starts on the last Sunday in September and ends on the of April. 


So taking this in mind, if you visit/phone/skype/Facetime a relative in New Zealand during the UK winter months, the time in New Zealand will be GMT plus 13 hours. This will Take in to account the clocks going back in the UK and the clocks going forward in New Zealand. During the first week of April and the whole of October, the time from the UK to New Zealand Time will 12 hours ahead until the clocks backwards for the end of the UK’s Daylight Savings Time.

What Language is Spoken in New Zealand?

What language is spoken in New Zealand? There are three main languages, where English is spoken by the majority. The second main language in New Zealand is that of the native Maori people. The third is language is the New Zealand Sign Language an officially recognised since 2006. The language of the Maori people is closely related to Tahitian (Tahitian is a Polynesian language, spoken mainly on the Society Islands in French Polynesia. It belongs to the Eastern Polynesian group.) and Cook Islands Māori.


The townships of this historical bay are alive with memories of the area’s colourful past. Take time out to see the well-preserved relics both Maori and European, in romantic Russell, Paihia, Waitangi or Kerikeri.

Where is New Zealand?

Nowhere in the world’s temperate zones are glaciers so accessible than in New Zealand. On the West Coast of the South Island, remnants of the ice age cascade from the vast snowfields of the Southern Alps to valley floors, almost 1,000 feet above sea level.

Glacier | Why Exploring New Zealand Will Be a Trip of a Lifetime

You can enjoy guided excursions exploring stunning ice formations. Or take off on a scenic flight and land amidst New Zealand’s highest peaks overlooking the glaciers. The two most famous villages are Franz Josef and Fox Glacier, good bases from which to plan your days exploring the glaciers.

Explore New Zealand Beautiful Landscapes

Legendary writer Rudyard Kipling was a well-travelled man. He called Milford Sound the “eighth wonder of the world.” Still down South, Milford Sound lies at the heart of Fiordland National Park, a World Heritage area. Cruising the clear, still waters of the Fjord you’ll encounter magnificent sights, such as the awe-inspiring Mitre Peak and Stirling Falls.

NZ-Hills | Why Exploring New Zealand Will Be a Trip of a Lifetime

With the highest rainfall in New Zealand (think feet not inches!) so expect rain when you visit. However, when it pours, the water falls that appear all around are simply amazing. Keep a lookout for wildlife such as dolphins, penguins and seals often seen in their natural habitat. Go on a scenic cruise and gasp at the moody majesty of the Fiord in your Milford Sound Red Boat.

Another worthwhile attraction is the Milford Deep Underwater Observatory Option. Descend 30 feet below the surface and marvel at spectacular marine life, with anemones, sponges, fish and rare red and black coral in their natural habitat.

New Zealand Lord of the Rings Tours

When you visit New Zealand, you cannot leave without going on one of the many tours they have on offer. Ever since the Lord of the Rings ever hit the movie theatres, people have been heading there to see the locations where some of the LOTR movies were filmed. So here list my list of Nine New Zealand Lord of the Rings Tours you can take before you head back home.

  1. Hobbiton Movie Set Tours
  2. Hairy Feet Waitomo Tour
  3. Weta Workshop Studio Tour
  4. Lost World Abseil and Cave Exploration
  5. Reid Nelson Heli Tour
  6. Misty Mountains Heli Hike
  7. LOTR: Glenorchy and Paradise Scenic Tour
  8. Independent Self Drive Tours
  9. Tongariro Crossing- Adrift Guided Adventures (Mordor Tour)

These are by far the most highly rated tours I could find. Some are cheap New Zealand Tours and some are not so cheap. One of the most exciting tours my family and I are taking will be the New Zealand Lord of the Rings  Hobbiton Studio’s Tour. It is a 2.5-hour drive from Auckland and is close to the township of Matamata. I would watch this space for exciting Lord of the Rings Hobbiton photographs in the coming weeks.

The Shire and Hobbiton Studio Tours

According to Oscar winner Peter Jackson, New Zealand was the only landscape on the planet that could have provided the sensational locations for Tolkien’s Middle Earth. You can set off on your voyage of discovery and visit the key areas featured in the films such as The Southern Alps and Queenstown.

Hobbiton Studio Tours

Make sure you stop at Matamata, near Hamilton (a couple of hours drive south of Auckland) and marvel at how the landscape was transformed into the peaceful hobbit village of Hobbiton.

New Zealand Hobbiton Tour Videos

What better way to explore Hobbiton, than through the eyes of those who have already been. Here are three videos which have been shared on YouTube, for you to watch at your leisure.

The New Zealand Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour and Banquet Dinner Tour

The Hobbiton Movie Set Experience Tour

What is the Capital of New Zealand?

What is the capital city of New Zealand? Wellington is the capital, however, Auckland is where many visitors first set foot in New Zealand. Imagine an urban environment where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanting holiday islands, that’s Auckland. It’s located on the North Island and called the City of Sails. Know why? It has more boats per capita than any other city in the world.

New-Zealand-024 | Why Exploring New Zealand Will Be a Trip of a Lifetime

Almost surrounded by water and covered with volcanic hills, the city boasts a superb harbour and a population of 1.3 million people. Add a background rhythm of Polynesian culture, a passion for outstanding food, wine and shopping – and you’ll want to stay.

Auckland has a pleasant subtropical climate with mild winters (June, July and August) and warm, humid summers (December, January and February). Remember the seasons down here are reversed, so plan your vacation accordingly.

New Zealand Landscape and Best Kept Secrets

There are many beautiful and untouched places in New Zealand, yet, what is more, amazing is some of the views and unparalleled beauty of the New Zealand Landscape. 

Auckland is a top choice if you’re interested in wide-open spaces and physical activities. Above the ground, you can go bungee jumping, parachuting and skydiving.

New-Zealand-030 | New Zealand Natural Water Springs

On the ground, you can go hiking, mountain bike riding, skiing, horse riding, rock climbing, and ‘zorbing’. Underground you can go surface caving, cave rafting and hydro sliding; and on the water, you can go jet-boarding, white-water sledging, rafting, boogey boarding, canoeing, kayaking, surfing and scuba diving. When deciding to choose to do less exhilarating activities, such as retail therapy, many Auckland stores are open seven days a week. Their Bars, restaurants and nightclubs welcome patrons well into the night.

New-Zealand-042 | New Zealands Beautiful Landscape and Water Falls

Whether you are stopping for a week or planning to spend a month to explore New Zealand, you need plenty of memory cards in for your camera, a good pair of walking shoes and an experienced travel guide who will help you explore the rich countryside and New Zealand Heritage.

New Zealand’s Rare Wild Life

There is something about New Zealand which has been untainted by man and has been left alone for mother nature to tend and cultivate. Not too long ago, a BBC documentary team spent some time looking at wild forests of the South Islands, to the dolphin pods which swim of the not too far from outer Islands which head into the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. I became intrigued with a bird which has the body of a Parrot and the facial features similar to that of an owl, yet this bird is incapable of flight due to its very short wingspan and body weight. Which Bird am I talking about? The much loved Kakapo. A bird which is in such low numbers, it is close to extinction and is now protected by the New Zealand Government.

New-Zealand-038 | New Zealand Rare Wildlife Birds

Much of forests of the South Islands have remained untouched by time and therefore mankind has left these forest for mother nature to tend and cultivate. There are plenty of sights to see and visit, however, if nature is your thing, then there are Forest and Eco tours you could take part in. Getting married and fancied a break from the big city and wish to see what life is like on the other side of the World, well there are honeymoon options too. New Zealand has one of the last remaining, untouched and unspoiled forests in the world. It has one of the harshest Antarctic currents as the south Antartic air hits the Australasian continent. 

New Zealand Tours and Vacations

There are many New Zealand tours and since Lord of the Rings movies and the Hobbit movies. New Zealand has long been a popular tourist destination for Tolkien/LOTR and Hobbit fans. One of the many New Zealand Tours is for Hobbiton Studio Tours aka The Shire. As mentioned above, you can go one of many of the Hobbiton Tours. You could also go and visit many of the locations in the South Islands, but you will need more than 14 days if you truly wish to Explore New Zealand.

There has always been something magical in my mind as to what I have always wanted to visit New Zealand. This post has been inspired mostly on what our family loves about New Zealand, its people and its culture. My in-laws mostly all live in New Zealand and therefore, we wouldn’t need to book any fancy hotels, for that we would be blessed.


For visitors, Auckland has all types of accommodation. Web sites such as hotel.com.au offer a range from backpacker to budget to luxury international hotels. New Zealand’s North Island attracts more visitors than the South, so it pays to check what’s out there as you plan your trip.

Cheapest Times of the Year to Fly to NZ

The most expensive times of the year to fly to New Zealand are the UK summer holidays and Christmas holidays season (Boxing day and New Year’s day being the cheapest days during the holiday season). A single airfare can cost up to or around £900 per person. Other times of the year which will have cheap flights: mid to late February, September and October to be the best time for cheap air fairs or book your vacation.

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John M


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    • We are setting our sights on visiting NZ, so my wife can visit her parents. I want to visit due to my interest in The Hobbit and LoTR.

      John M

  1. I would love to visit NZ one day – it’s always seemed so fascinating and breathtakingly beautiful! So lucky that you have in-laws you can stay with (can you pack me in your suitcase when you go?!!).

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