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Matamata aka. HOBBITON

When we did our travel planning about 5 months ago we really could just think of one thing about New Zealand: The Lord of the Rings!

So here we are now,  Welcome to Matamata, NZ aka. Hobbiton (© 2010 Bernd Neeser) south-east of Auckland in a lil’ town called Matamata that became famous when a small blackhaired Kiwi named Peter Jackson found what he was looking for: green hills, loads of sheep and most important of all a huge tree next to a lake… All of that was then transformed into Hobbiton of the Lord of the Rings part I and III. And of course you’ve all seen the movies, right, where you can see the party-tree next to the lake, the watermill with the stonebridge, the pub called “the green dragon” and, of course, Bilbo Baggin’s home where the one ring was kept for sooo long…

Now in case you’re wondering why I’m talking so much about it and then not even putting pictures online is because we can’t! We’re not allowed to puplish any fotos, videos or anything we were told or we’ll get in trouble. Why?!? Well, let’s just say that before you enter the grounds there’s a sign that says “active movie set”…. so, you know what I mean! ;-)

- Isabell -

Sheeps - New Zealands inofficial national animals (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)


After we arrived in Auckland we took one day “off” for buying stuff at the grocery store, doing the laundry and we also went to the cinema to see Dispicable Me – in my opinion one of the funniest animated movies ever!
We had only a few days in New Zealand so there wasn`t much time neither for sightseeing in Auckland nor to see the rest of the country. Unfortunately, there was no way to extend our stay (you will soon know why ;-) ) But what we saw in the short time we had – above all the beautiful grasslands south of Auckland – made us feel like we really wanna come back and next time we`re gonna stay for a few weeks.

- Bernd -

P.S. Some trivia for my brother Thomas and his girlfriend Lena: Your favorite television serious was named after a U2 song whichs title refers to a mount in Auckland: Maungakiekie also known as One Tree Hill. Have a look at the panorama picture I shot from the top of the Sky Tower – you can see the hill in the background!

The Ferry Building (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
The Ferry Building (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
The Sky Tower – 328 meters high! (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
The Sky Tower – 328 meters high! (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
View from the Sky Tower onto Auckland (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
View from the Sky Tower onto Auckland (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…

… or in our case: with a single click!

After the decision was made thoughts were going crazy: HOW are we travelling? WHERE do we want to go?  WHEN are we going? HOW LONG are we going to travell? WHAT about the costs? …

So, one thing at the time:

HOW to travel: Okay, let’s face it – anything else than plane didn’t come to our mind. But instead of booking every single flight there is a great way to get around the world: Round-the-world tickets ! ;-) There are several united airlines like Star Alliance, OneWorld Alliance and SkyTeam that provide different around-the-world programs: Whereas SkyTeam only offers booking via telephone, OneWorld does have difficulties with crossing the Pacific. Star Alliance seemed to have it all:  Great deals, easy booking, friendly support – need I say more?!

WHERE to go: The world, of course! Ahw well, some countries have been on our list for a long time: Australia, USA (continent), USA (Hawaii), Thailand and the Fiji Islands – we have to visit these countries! And then one thing led to another: hey, if we’re on the Fiji Islands we could also go to New Zealand. And before we go to the States we could make a stop in Mexico. And why not go to Bali right before Thailand?! Can we do this within 29.000 miles – YES, we can!

So this is the actual route:  Frankfurt/Germany – Mexico City/Mexico – Los Angeles/USA – San Francisco/USA – Honolulu/USA -  Nadi/Fiji – Auckland/New Zealand – Sydney/Australia – Denpasar/Bali - Bangkok/Thailand – Frankfurt/Germany

WHEN to go: Due to a little trip with friends end of August we set the date of departure on September 10, 2010.

Travel planning with Poker chips (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)

HOW LONG are we travelling: According to the novel of Jules Verne our trip will take 80 days. (There is no bet going on, we know that it’s possible!). As easy as it was to set the 80 days the harder it was to choose how many days to spend in each country: First put a minimum of days on each destination, then spread the remaining ones and finally flipping one or two. (Hint: Poker chips are perfect for that!)

WHAT about the costs: Well, nothing’s for free. There are two aspects: The ticket and the trip itself.  As I said before, the ticket price depends on the miles, the stops and the countries you travel to – 29.000 miles are cheaper than 35.000 miles, the entrance fee for one country is more expensive than for another country…. I think we’ll have an extra post for this topic!

Okay, these were the first steps we took on our journey around the world… but be sure, there’ll be A LOT more! ;-)

- Isabell -