Geothermal Fun: Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

My solo trip to New Zealand took place in August 2013, so, yes, this post is pretty late. Regardless, I wanted to document my travels, so here 'tis.

Hawaii's summer is New Zealand's winter, but with an incredible deal on a roundtrip airfare, I really could not pass it up and would brave the cold—it really wasn't that cold, was it?

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Day #3: Hobbiton Tour & on to Rotorua

After two nights in busy Hamilton, I pack up my things on yet another frigid day beneath grey clouds, and head east to visit the Hobbiton Movie Tour Set near Matamata. I can't wait to see The Shire, home to Frodo Baggins, Sam, Merry and Pippin. It's where it all began, where  "The Fellowship of the Ring" was forged!

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Day #2: Exploring Waitomo Caves

My destination today: Waitomo, about 50 miles and 1.5 hours away from Hamilton. In Maori, "wai" means water, and "tomo" means hole or shaft. Records say Maori chief Tane Tinorau and Fred Mace, an English surveyor, extensively explored the underground cave in 1887 atop a raft using only the light of a candle. Their entry point is now where the tours exit Waitomo Glowworm Cave.

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