Destination: Matamata

When visiting New Zealand most people will make a stop in Matamata. Ugh hello! Hobbiton!? After travellers tick this off their list it’s standard to pass through to (supposedly) bigger and better destinations.
Recently I spent a couple of days based out of Matamata and I was pleasantly surprised by how close it is to some relatively low key super awesome attractions.
Let’s start with the obvious…
1.) Hobbiton:

I’m not a massive Lord of the Rings fan but I was pretty keen to check this out. The 45 minute guided tour is led by fanatics that have an insane array of knowledge on the production, the films and the location. The tour ends with a stop in Green Dragon in where you can have a complimentary beer or cider – specific to Hobbiton. If you don’t drink alcohol they also have a variety of choices for you!

The other tour option is to do the dinner… looks more like a feast fit for a… orc? Those are those big things right? Giants? I’m not sure I told you I wasn’t that informed on the films.

 

2.) Wairere Falls
At 153m this is the highest waterfall in all of New Zealand’s North Island. In my opinion it is also one of the most spectacular. The hike up to the top is steep but the view points along the way are a constant reminder of why it’s worth to keep going.
Once you get to the top you’ll be wowed. Mother Nature did real good with this one.

 

 

 

 

 

3.) Blue Springs – Te Waihou Walkway:
The Waikato region has so many special spots but the Blue Springs is one of my favourites. This spring produces 70% of the countries fresh water which is cool and all the colours of the water and scenery… we are not worthy.

 

 

 

4.) Tirau:

Not going to lie the only reason we went here was because their I-Site is this massive metal dog and next door to it they have these giant really suspicious looking sheep. Worth a 10 minute detour after the Springs Walk! 

Posted in Backpackers Activities


The Change from England to New Zealand.

When you’re moving to another country it can always be daunting, especially for your first time living in another country, let alone getting out your country for the first time. Our manager gave us an insight on what his experience was like.

When the first thought came around of moving to another country I thought it was next to impossible, especially getting paid rubbish and working long hours. When my mate convinced me to move out here telling me everything
would be ok, I quit my job. Best feeling I ever had. Now I knew my dreams were coming true, but not yet. I still didn’t have a passport or a visa. Almost missed my passport appointment, which was 6 weeks before my flight, and visa only got approved 10 days before I flew. Living on the edge some might say.

Now I’m on my flight, never flown before, and watching copious amounts of films. The layover in Hong Kong was far too long and a very strange experience for the first time in another country. Didn’t have a clue how much the currency was
worth. Now on my way to New Zealand I was trying to imagine what New Zealand would be like.  Would the people be nice? Will I be able to understand them? Will it be too hot?
As soon as I got here all my fears or any doubt was gone. The people were so nice and the city of Auckland is so beautiful. My first ever hostel staying in was actually The Attic Backpackers, what a great start if I say so myself. First taste of hostel life and I loved it. Wanted the opportunity to work in one and within 2 weeks I was. The Attic gave me a great
start to New Zealand and gave me lots of help and advice for the rest of my time in New Zealand.

Now what I wasn’t expecting is how expensive food and alcohol was, I was shocked. I just assumed that it would be cheaper then England but apparently not. I was also surprised with the accent, I genuinely thought it was the same as the Australian accent. Also how chilled the country was as a whole but still very health and safety conscious. This proves how blind sighted I was to the rest of the world.

But within a matter of weeks I was settled, had a close group of friends, had a job, and was exploring NZ on my days off and seeing what it had to offer. So New Zealand was a great choice. Such an inviting country to all people of all nationalities and so easy to immigrate to.

Posted in Information


What People Don’t Tell You About Skydiving:

  1. You can’t physically throw up when you’re that scared so you can’t use your hangover as an excuse to get out of it. You might throw up afterwards though.
  2. You will be strapped into the lap of a beautiful, usually foreign, stranger that chases summer so they can do this all year long. And this puts you at a vulnerable position because even if you change your mind they will full on carry you to the edge of the plane. You have no choice in this matter.
  3. After the plane takes off your mind goes into autopilot and you just will become submissive and you just come to terms with your impending death. Don’t be so dramatic , you’ll be fine – what’s the worst that could happen?
  4. The staff will try and psyche you out for fun. The people at Skydive Taupo will remind you on multiple occasions that a plane crashed last year – but everyone survived so why are you so scared?!
  5. When the gas masks fall… so does your stomach and all possible positivity you’ve had that you might actually survive this.
  6. Don’t worry, your instructor will tell you everything you need to know. But the plane is super loud so you won’t hear a word they say.
  7. You think of really weird things when you’re plummeting to the Earth and unimaginable speeds. Like for example, “Shit I should’ve tied my shoes tighter they’re definitely going to fly off and hit an unsuspecting person in the face.”
  8. The skin on your neck and face will gloriously flap in the wind. You majestic creature, you.
  9. They’ll TRUST you to guide the parachute. Ahhhh whaaaaaaat. The chute deployed so we narrowly escaped death and now you’re trusting me to take the reigns? You must be crazy (but we already thought that since you jump out of planes for a living).
  10. You’ll share a really intimate experience with a complete stranger and then leave thinking, “Wow, Renee had really soft hands.”
  11. Before you go you thought “I’ll only do this once in my lifetime just to say I’ve done it.” – Nah, after the first jump you’ll want to do it all over ago but this time LET’S GO HIGHER. 😀
Posted in Auckland Activities, Backpackers Activities


Weekend trips From Auckland

One of the best things about Auckland it’s in such close proximity to some of the most beautiful beaches, cutest towns, red wood and Kauri forests and more!  This is exactly what makes the big smoke a perfect base to explore the North Island! So if you fancy a little getaway but don’t have that much time off here are our tested and true mini road trips that will will have all of your friends going #travelgoals.

Tawharanui:

Tawharanui Beach

Drive under an hour to this little paradise on an isolated Eastern Peninsula. This is an Aucklander’s  favourite destination for a little R&R and who can blame them?  Complete with white sand beaches and rolling pastures. There are even a couple vineyards on the wayso you can have a bottle… or five! Treat yo’self.

Muriwai:

Gannet Population at Muriwai Beach

You don’t even need to go more than 30 minutes outside of Central Auckland to find a little place to unwind. Visit one of Auckland’s finest black that’s popular with surfers. If you get bored watching the wild waters of the west coast and some of Auckland’s finest surfers – you can take a short hike to admire the area’s impressive gannet population.

Karekare Beach

Want to go to an even more desolate beach? Try going to Karekare and you’ll nearly have the whole beach to yourself. Oh baby.

Matakana:

Brick Bay Vineyard, Matakana

How underrated is Matakana? Heaps of vineyards, a lovely little river flowing through the centre and the sweetest little city center filled with chic gastropubs make it a favourite among our friends. If you’re lucky enough to be out on the weekend hit up it’s farmers market and buy some locally sourced produce!

Finished there earlier than you thought? Take a short drive over to Goat Island Marine Reserve and enjoy some of clearest snorkeling and diving conditions in the North Island. Or if you want to try something new try the Clearyak – a clear, glass kayak that allows you to see all of the marine life below.

Raglan:

Bridal’s Veil Falls, Raglan

A surfers paradise. This little seaside town explodes a hollistic, hippy lifestyle. Have a little surf at one of the black sand beaches, go for a cheeky hike up Mountain Karioi or check out the resident waterfall Bridal Veil Falls. You’ll leave a zenned out, surfer dude, yogi master – what more could you want?

Whangarei:

Mermaid Pools, Matapouri Beach

EVERYONE goes to Paihia but Whangarei is a less popular destination. This is a crying shame because it’s definitely one of the Northland’s hidden gems. The city center has a waterfall in the middle of the city center – no big deal – and it’s super close to amazing beaches. Our favourite? Matapouri beach. It’s a really nice beach but, more importantly, it has crystal clear rock pools where you can pretend to be a mermaid.

Posted in Backpackers Activities, Weekend Trips Auckland