Friday, 16 Aug ’19,
By 6:20AM we already sat outside the i-Site Rotorua, waiting for our shuttle to go Hobbiton, GlowWorm and Ruakuri Caves, then transfer back to Auckland with our big luggages. ٩(ˊ〇ˋ*)و
We took this activity 2 Caves & Hobbiton END AUCKLAND from VIATOR and cost us more than S$334 per person. We thought this was a good offer since we don’t need to worry about our transfer back to Auckland and additional cost if we took bus or train.
Our first stop was Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata. It took us about 1 hour to travel from Rotorua city center to Matamata.
In September 1998, Sir Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema discovered the Alexander farm during an aerial search for suitable film sites. Site construction started in March 1999. 39 Hobbit holes were created with untreated timber, ply and polystyrene. The oak tree that overlooks Bag End was cut down and transported in from near Matamata. Artificial leaves were brought in from Taiwan and individually hand-wired onto the tree. Thatch for the roofs of The Green Dragon Inn and The Mill were cut from rushes around the Alexander farm.
Hobbiton Movie Set was a significant location used for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and The Hobbit film series. It is situated on a family run farm about 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) west of Hinuera and 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) southwest of Matamata, in Waikato, New Zealand, and is now a Tolkien tourism destination, offering a guided tour of the set.
The guided walk tour took us from the Low Road to Gully Gardens, Bag End, Bagshot Row, The Party Tree, then to the west side to Merry Meander, Old Stump, Watermill, then crossed the bridge and ended at The Green Dragon to had our drinks and waited for our shuttle back to our next stop. (b ᵔ▽ᵔ)b
Check out the Hobbiton Map at the bottom of this post! ⬇
Our second stop was the GlowWorm Cave in Waitomo. The shuttle drove us for about 1.5 hours from Matamata to Waitomo. Going inside the cave it is not recommended to bring the backpack. We were allowed to bring small things, however it was not allowed to take picture inside this cave. So might as well leave your phone inside your bag in your car, and just bring your wallet for the tea breaks. <(￣︶￣)>
GlowWorm was known for its population of Arachnocampa luminosa, a glowworm species found exclusively in New Zealand. The name “Waitomo” comes from the Māori words wai, water and tomo, hole or shaft. The local Māori people had known about the caves for about a century before a local Māori, originally from Kawhia, Tane Tinorau, and English surveyors, Laurence Cussen and Fred Mace, were shown the entrance in 1884 and Tane and Fred did extensive explorations in 1887 and 1888.
Inside the cave was pitch black. Our tour guide reminded us not to take any pictures and be very quiet. We followed her walked around the cave and awed by the glowing worms attached on the caves wall. It was an extraordinary experience to be on the southern side of the world, inside this one-of-a-kind cave. You really can’t missed GlowWorm cave if you visit New Zealand. It was phenomenal, something that will last forever in your memory. (っ˘ω˘ς )
From the dark cave we followed our tour guide and hopped to a Waka (Canoe – for Māori). And then we walked out of the cave and back to the daylight. It was almost mid day so we were advised to have our quick lunch or buy something from the café before our next stop.
entrance of the GlowWorm.
Glowy worms taken by my P30 Huawei.
Glowy worms taken by mysterious apparatus grabbed from Google.
The only picture we were allowed to take – outside the cave.
Third stop was Ruakuri Cave. It was a short 10 minutes drive from GlowWorm Cave to Ruakuri Cave.
Ruakuri Cave is the largest cave in the Waitomo area of New Zealand. It was first discovered by local Māori between 400 and 500 years ago. The name Ruakuri, or “two dogs” was created when wild dogs were discovered making their home in the cave entrance some 300 years later. The cave entrance was used by the Māori as an urupa or burial site. It is this sacred area that has now been protected with the construction of the impressive spiral drum entrance some distance away. Ruakuri is the only wheelchair-accessible cave in the Southern Hemisphere. It is well known for its spiritual links to Māori and its unusual limestone formations and caverns.
Here, again, backpack was not allowed. It was probably the precaution just in case your bag hit the stalactites or stalagmites inside the cave. This cave was slightly lit than GlowWorm and there were also quite a lot of glowing worms inside and we were allowed to take pictures inside the cave. ヽ(o^ ^o)ﾉ
It was about 5PM by the time we finished hobbiton and the two caves. Me and Veron moved to another shuttle where the driver drove us back to Auckland with our big luggages. The journey from Waitomo to Auckland was about 2 hours, including the traffic. („• ֊ •„)
And sadly that was it for our holiday. Tomorrow we will fly back to SG via Sydney. (-ω-、)
And here’s Hobbiton Map for ya! ( ･ω･)☞