For my last 2 days I had booked a free relocation car form Wellington City to Auckland Airport. All I had to pay was petrol and optional insurance. Better safe than sorry I chose the full insurance with zero costs in case of any damage to the car.
On the first day I drove 600 km from Wellington to Rotorua with a detour around Tongariro where I stopped in several places because The Lord of the Rings was filmed there.
I picked up the car at 8 am. It was a silver Toyota Yaris with automatic drive. At first I wasn’t too happy about that, but soon I realized that it made it much easier to take photos while driving 🙂 Before heading off I made sure my smartphone and my car became good friends. The car had bluetooth, so I paired them. That way I could play music from my phone but control it from the car. Also I wouldn’t miss any instructions from Google Maps because the music gets automatically muted during announcements. It worked like a charm and the sound system in the car was pretty decent! I had a ball 🙂 Anyway, this is the tour on the first day:
For lunch I stopped in Okahune, for dinner I was already in Rotorua. The roadtrip was awesome, I took so many photos, but they cannot really capture the atmosphere. The weather was very changing all day long, but all in all I was quite lucky. In Rotorua I checked in at Rotorua Central Backpackers which is right next to the police station. My car was surrounded by police cars, so I feld quite sure nothing would happen to it during the night. I went to BurgerFuel for dinner and then to the Polynesian Spa. After all that driving I felt very stiff and the hot pools where the perfect cure! Afterwards I felt like having a beer, so I went to the Pig&Whistle, a cool pub located in a former police station.
The next morning I drove once around Lake Rotorua and stopped halfway to have breakfast. Then I drove on to the Hobbiton Movie Set near Matamata. I had a cappucino while waiting for the tour which started at 11.05 am. It took 1.5 – 2 hours and was absolutely awesome! I had the best weather and everything looked just beautiful. It was an incredible feeling walking through Hobbiton, seeing the mill at the bridge and the Green Dragon and then of course Bilbo’s home!
When the tour was over I had a 2nd breakfast at the Shire’s Rest Cafe, very hobbit-like 😉
I had some time left so I drove a detour back to Auckland:
This day was only 300 km driving in total, but that last bit near the coast was very exciting! The road was very very winding and I was sort of chasing a local. It felt like Need for Speed 😀
Alltogether this 2 day roadtrip was the best way to finish of my time in New Zealand. I checked in at the Auckland Airport Skyway Lodge, then dropped the car of at the airport and got a shuttle back to my accomodation. I prepared everything as good as possible for the next day and eventually went to bed. To my surprise I did not dream of hobbits or other elements from LOTR.
“900 km from Wellington to Auckland”
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