What better way to celebrate our one year anniversary than to visit Middle Earth? As an avid Lord of the Rings fan, I immediately jumped on the opportunity to ride on horses to Isengard and drink ale at The Green Dragon. Though a short trip, it was certainly a wonderful adventure to remember.
Here was our itinerary! Packed with a lot of driving - I would suggest extending the trip to two weeks if you can! We definitely ran out of time, and especially with the shorter winter days, found ourselves rushing from place to place. In the South Island, we rented our campervan from Britz, which was surprisingly great! There were mixed reviews online so we were skeptical, but we had no problems with the van, and it was quite spacious and well stocked. In Auckland, we rented a Toyota Yaris from GoRentals, which also worked out pretty well.
* These were on our itinerary but we didn't make it! Unfortunately we either ran out of time or ran into poor weather conditions.
Driving by these small towns, you wouldn't imagine that you could see the so many stars being so close to civilization. But as we drove up to this beautiful historic building, we were just amazed at how we could see the entire Milky Way galaxy simply with our naked eyes!
Did you know that you can herd deer? We loved these little quirks of New Zealand!
If you ask us what our favorite parts were, mine was visiting Milford Sound. The road is long, but eventually we reached Homer Tunnel, the entrance to what can only be described as a land found in storybooks. It was pouring rain, and we were trudging along in our campervan hoping to make it to Milford before dark. You finally exit the tunnel, and in front of you stand the most majestic mountains with waterfalls rushing down the mountainside in every direction.
Ginger and Bob were the names of our noble steeds. Imagine orcs waving plastic bags (which are apparently the scariest things to these creatures!) at these horses as they were tested for their prowess. As we crossed the wild rivers of Isengard, we got to hear of the horses that made it (and didn't make it) to the Lord of the Rings filming, plus we got to see the bridge in Wolverine and the horse in Prince Caspian. How cool is that?
And if you ask him what his favorite part of the trip was, it was definitely this. Though I was certainly a more avid fan of Lord of the Rings than he was, nothing could beat his storybook wonder as he strolled through the rolling hobbit hills and grabbed a drink at The Green Dragon, plot ideas running through his writer's brain. What a way to end our adventures!
P.S. For the rest of the nerds out there, here's a great map for reference of all the filming locations!
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