"the trusted voice of teens who travel"
December 17th, 2014
With today’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies‘ nationwide release, I can’t help but reminisce about my time visiting New Zealand’s North Island. It was in a time period between the productions of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies; to this day, I am still in awe of my memories. Was I really there? Did I really see the landscape I saw, and go on a super nerdy but absolutely fantastic “Lord of the Rings” tour in and around the capital city of Wellington? Yes I did, and I cannot wait to return to visit even more locations in the near future.
The country was made famous Peter Jackson’s splashy and engrossing epic films based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s most famous high fantasy works, but this island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean is worth visiting in its own right. The flora and landscapes are beautifully captured on film and in photographs, but nothing matches actually being there to see and experience it all for yourself. I was unable to visit New Zealand’s South Island, which has even wilder and more fairy tale-like scenery, so I am eager to go back and visit both islands the next time. I still remember the train ride my sister and I took from Wellington to Auckland on North Island, which was fantastic because we saw one breathtaking vista after another. I would definitely recommend all prospective visitors to travel north to south or south to north by car, train, or bus, if possible. I dare even the most jaded travelers not to have their minds blown by New Zealand’s dramatic natural beauty.
When I was in Wellington, I was lucky enough to stay at the Booklovers B&B, which is located in the downtown area and next to some forest land that was used as background in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The inn has comfortable and cozy rooms, and there are books everywhere. As a self-proclaimed booklover myself, I loved the whole experience. The knowledgeable owner is available to share local information on literary, artistic, and social events and institutions with guests, and the breakfasts are delicious. When I return to Wellington, I will definitely stay there again.
I don’t think worldwide fascination with New Zealand’s spectacular vistas and charming towns and cities will fade now that The Hobbit Trilogy is complete and that no more Tolkien classics will be turned into live action films. This island country should be on everyone’s travel bucket list, and it is one place I want to see and experience again. I hope that New Zealanders will preserve their national and cultural integrity and maintain their strong sense of Kiwi hospitality, as their tourism industry continues its upswing. Having experienced and witnessed it all for myself, I know they are more than able to balance all of these sentiments for years to come.