Hobbiton Tour, New Zealand: Review

11. Elf ears in HobbitonStepping onto the tour bus in Rotorua, I was somewhat skeptical as to what I would discover at Hobbiton. With a ticket costing more than $100, and as a huge Lord Of The Rings fan (my cats are christened Merry and Pippin), my expectations were high.

Now before I begin, I want to be very clear about what you cannot expect from Hobbiton:

  • You cannot step into Bag End and walk around Bilbo Baggins’ home. The inside of Bag End was created and filmed inside a movie studio in Wellington. This is because building a full-sized hobbit hole in the side of a hill, complete with room for filming and production crew, would have been a bit difficult.
  • There are no hobbits roaming around Hobbiton as they are fictional.

I say all of this because you will be amazed at how many people are astonished that Ian McCellan cannot fit into a hobbit hole and that there aren’t real-life actors walking around The Shire in full costume 24/7.

14. Yellow Hobbit Hole roses

4. Blue Hobbit House

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“Intercity Milford Sound Day Tour” Review + Is Milford Sound worth the visit?

Milford_Sound_1

I initially planned on hitch-hiking to Milford Sound, but I eventually decided that I just wanted to sit quietly and enjoy the scenery, and so I opted for the Intercity Milford Sound day tour.

The bus section of my tour was well worth the money – it was easier and less stressful than hitch-hiking and I had a fantastic guide. I was less impressed by the cruise in terms of its value for money as both the information and the tour were relatively basic.

Milford Sound is one of the most talked about destinations in New Zealand, creating impossibly high expectations. But, broadly speaking, I enjoyed the tour and I would definitely recommend that you pay the sound a visit, especially if you’re at all interested in geology.

If you have a pretty decent budget and don’t have your own transport, taking a tour is the way to go.

(Note: Costs and overall ratings of the tour are listed at the bottom of this post)

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Byron Bay Nomads – Review

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Photo taken from Nomads Byron Bay website

Summary

Situated in the very centre of Byron Bay, this modern Nomads hostel sits right beside the well-priced supermarket, Aldi, and is only a five minute walk away from the beach. The hostel is clean and well-equipped, and even comes with hot tubs and hammocks. If you want to party and/or are looking to spend time with British backpackers, then this is the hostel for you. However, if you want to do more than drink and are looking for a more diverse experience, then Byron Bay Nomads may fail to meet your expectations.

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Getting fit in Byron Bay! (The free Byron Bay Fitness Trails Circuit)

1. Start trail

Tired of feeling sluggish and constrained by a classic backpacker budget, my boyfriend and I started looking on the internet for free activities in the Byron Bay area.

We stumbled across what is called the Byron Bay Fitness Trails Circuit – a series of fitness stations running along the bay starting from Captain Cooks car park and ending at iconic Cape Byron Headland. You can either walk in between the stations or jog – it’s up to you!

The only criticisms that I had of the circuit was that some of the information provided on the boards was not factually correct (for instance, the muscles targeted by each exercise) and the fact that it was not always clear as to where you were supposed to go next (my boyfriend and I ended up wondering through a holiday park for a while!).

However, we had a fun couple of hours doing pull ups, jogging and koala spotting! It’s also a great way to tie in seeing the lighthouse and the headland – plus, jogging up the hill to the lighthouse at the end is killer so it’s a perfect way to finish your workout!

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Bamba Experience’s Hop-on Hop-off Bus Pass: My Review So Far

Bamba Review

 

[Last updated 02 September 2015]

If you are considering purchasing Bamba Experience’s hop-on hop-off bus pass, then this review is for you. I have tried to keep it as honest as possible so that it can be a real source of both advice and information. I hope it helps!

I bought the hop-on hop-off bus pass with the Mexican-based company, Bamba, for my 3 month trip across South America. You pick a set route which includes all of your transport as well as a series of activities. The pass lasts for up to 12 months and you can spend as long as you want in any one place, making it flexible. Whenever you want to go to your next destination, organise one of your activities, or ask for advice about a particular place, all you need to do is contact Bamba by email, Skype or phone – you just need to factor in any time differences as their offices are in Mexico. The ticket does not include accommodation or food.

I picked the Samba to Incaways route (I believe that this has since been renamed “South American Journey Ways“.) Its selling point for me was that I would have the support of a company behind me, like you would have for a tour – indeed a big part of Bamba’s ethos is that it can provide its customers with knowledge and information – but the flexibility that you have when travelling independently. The company would organise my transport, relieving me of much of the stress of wondering how to get from one place to another, and I could meet people through the activities included in my pass.

I’m now well into my second month of using my pass – what do I think of it so far?

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