New Zealand is a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean consisting of 2 main islands, both marked by volcanoes and glaciation. Capital Wellington, on the North Island, is home to Te Papa Tongarewa, the expansive national museum. Wellington’s dramatic Mt. Victoria, along with the South Island’s Fiordland and Southern Lakes, stood in for mythical Middle Earth in Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” films.
Auckland, based around 2 large harbors, is a major city in the north of New Zealand’s North Island. In the center, the iconic Sky Tower has views of Viaduct Harbor, which is full of super yachts and lined with bars and cafes. Auckland Domain, the city’s oldest park, is based around an extinct volcano and home to the formal Winter-gardens. Near Downtown, Mission Bay Beach has a seaside promenade.
We visited New Zealand in December 2016 and stayed at the Hilton Auckland. We explored the city of Auckland, the harbor and mountains, as well as the Sky Tower, with 360 degree views of the city. We also did the “Sky Walk” where they walked at the top of the Sky Tower, and the “Sky Jump” where we jumped off of this 1,076 feet high tower! We also visited 2 of North Island’s most popular sites: Hobbiton and the Waitomo Caves. We walked around Hobbiton, and heard stories from the guide about this amazing set from Lord of the Rings. Waitomo is a village known for its extensive underground cave systems, such as the Glowworm Caves where thousands of glow-worms light up the cave.