The impressive grasslands, beaches and lakes on the North Island contrast beautifully with the remarkable mountains scattered around the South Island and the thrilling fjord landscape in the west; providing any film production with a plethora of diverse locations to successfully re-create the universe that Tolkien imagined. My enthusiasm for ‘The Lord of the Rings’ undeniably made my trip to New Zealand even more memorable. The Tongariro Crossing was a definite highlight and a personal achievement: I completed the 19.4km in just under five hours, walking past Mt Doom (Mt Ngauruhoe) and reaching the highest point of 6,188ft, which offered extraordinary panoramic views.
Moreover, when I was in Rotorua, I was able to visit the Hobbiton Movie Set Tours and be educated on the making of the films, whilst also being immersed in the lifestyle of Hobbits, ending the day perfectly by enjoying a cold cider in the Green Dragon. The tour of Weta Caves in Wellington also added to the experience, granting further information on the props and costumes in the films, as well as other major movies.
On a more thrill-seeking note, I repeatedly forced myself out of my comfort zones, plunging into a series of extreme sports – one of the main attractions of New Zealand. My top three recommendations, which I strongly encourage everyone to try at some point during their lives: white water rafting, skydiving and bungy jumping. These activities added a whole new element to my travels, pushing me to overcome fears and to experience personal elation, especially when I reluctantly threw myself off the Nevis bungy platform – the highest one in New Zealand. On the upside, at least I was rewarded with a free t-shirt and an entertaining video.
My independent excursion changed my life, not only by making me more responsible but by giving me the opportunity to create lifelong friends and unforgettable memories. I would one hundred percent advise anyone contemplating solo travel to take the ‘jump’ and go on their own adventure.