Tag: Green Hills

On an adventure between green hills

It’s funny to wake up near a farm. I never knew cows can make such loud noises. Besides the cows, there are sounds of many birds and the rain on the roof of the car. I don’t mind that it’s raining, I am thankful for the great night I had in Hobbiton. It was a grand final of this trip and I’m ready to go home. Since I still have a couple of days left here, I plan to drive to another nature area today. I drive to Port Waikato, also one of the movie location of the Lord of the Rings. It’s raining the whole morning and it shows me again how special it is that we had perfect weather last night.

The cows that woke me up
Drive via beautiful green hills
The rocks I want to visit
The beach at Port Waikato
Some rocks that look like pancake rocks
Private property
Coffeeplace in Port Waikato
Getting closer to the rocks
Permission to walk further

It’s still raining when I arrive in Port Waikoto and I go a local coffee store to upload the pictures and update my blog. I also order the books of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings online, I think it’ll be nice to read them this winter. I’m not so sure what to do the coming days. It’s a strange thing to be ready to go home and still have some days left. It looks like it’ll keep on raining today, but I decide to drive to the nature area anyway. The road turns into a gravel road without notice and the scenery gets more and more beautiful. Wide spread out green hills with rock formations everywhere. It finally stops raining, which makes it even better. When I arrive at the movie location there is a sign that it’s private property and that unauthorized access is not allowed. For a moment I decide what to do and then I drive back to a farm I just passed by. A friendly man is sitting in front of the farm and I ask him if it’s his property and if I can get permission to walk there. He turns out to be the owner of the land and gives me permission to walk on it. I’m happy and drive back to where I just was and climb over the fence. First I walk through a field with cows, then a field with turkeys and finally when I get closer to the hill with rocks where I want to go, I walk by hundreds of sheep. The sheep keep running away as I walk further. The rocks are very big from nearby and except from some fences for the sheep, this area looks completely untouched. It’s so beautiful to see all these rock formations and little crooks hidden between the green hills. I think that not many tourists have walked here. I keep walking and almost get lost between the green hills that look very similar, but I find the car back after about an hour. It was a beautiful hike. It’s nice that every time when I think that the journey is almost over, I find myself on another adventure.

Some cows on the road
Beautiful nature hidden between green hills
I hiked quite far through the green hills
Iconic landscape
Beautiful nature hidden between green hills 2
Driving through the green hills of New Zealand
Big rocks in the middle of green fields
The sheep are running away
Driving on backroads of New Zealand

I decide to keep following the gravel road which goes further through the green hills. I can’t drive too fast, because the road is in quite bad condition. There are random holes in the road and sometimes there is water flowing over the road. It isn’t too bad, because it gives me the opportunity to look around and enjoy the scenery. There is no one here, only lots of sheep and some goats and cows. It’s a real backroad, mainly for the few farms that are here, I think. After about an hour I arrive in a small town. There is not much in the town, but they have a free campsite next to a football field, so I decide to stay here for the night. There are a few other cars parked, but since it’s a bit raining again everyone stays inside. I do the same and watch a movie in my car. It’s nice that even a quite ordinary day can become a bit of an adventure if you search for it. It was a beautiful hike through the green hills and steep rocks.

Back to the green hills of Matamata

It’s Saturday morning and I decide to sleep in (read: I stay in bed until 8.30am). Then I take a shower and go to the main lodge and have breakfast there. Already some people are hanging out here and I talk with some of them. After breakfast I grab my laptop and do a bit of work. It’s nice to finally have a place with Wi-fi again. On the other end of the table is a girl working on a website as well and I’m happy to help her out with some code. The fact that I’m actually looking forward to working and coding back home, reconfirms me that I have the right job and that I love what I’m doing for work. Outside some people are playing guitar and there is a nice relaxed vibe here.

Walking through the jungle 2
Peopl playing guitar at the balcony
Campsite at a farm near Matamata
Walking through the jungle
Driving behind a Mini Cooper
Watching an old movie in my car

When I checked in at this lodge in the jungle yesterday, they told me that I could later decide if I want to stay longer, but when I walk to the reception this afternoon, they tell me that they already rented out my spot to someone else. I find that quite unfriendly, but accept the fact that I have to find another place again today. I think after my experience with the other hostel and now this one that I’m done with Raglan. It was good for my first surfing experience and meeting some great people, but I’m happy to go somewhere else.

I drive back to the green hills of Matamata, because I have one last activity planned tomorrow. I go to Hobbiton for the second time, this time in the evening. It costs quite a lot, but I love this place so much that I didn’t want to leave New Zealand without seeing it another time. I’ve found a campsite at a farm just 2,5 kilometers from Hobbiton, so that’s perfect. A nice old lady welcomes me and shows me where to park. Except for the green hills, there is not much here and I spend the rest of the afternoon reading a book and watching a movie. Fortunately I already had a warm meal at lunch time (leftover Spaghetti of the night before), so I don’t have to cook tonight. I just make myself a few sandwiches for dinner and enjoy some popcorn with the movie. Because this is a farm, they don’t allow campers to stay here during the day when they are working, so I think I’ll go to the town Matamata tomorrow morning and then come back at the farm at the end of the afternoon. From here I can easily walk to Hobbiton.

In the evening more cars arrive at the farm. I meet a couple from the Netherlands and from Australia. Most people here in the North just start their journey, so I’m happy to share some travel tips with them. Places to go and tips to make traveling cheaper, like the discount on the Bluebridge ferry they have available online now and the fuel discount cards for Mobile and BP. Some people ask me if I’m sad to leave the country, but I’m actually looking forward to go home and see my family and friends again. It’s been a great adventure, but I’m happy to go back to normal life.

A Warning, a Windmill and a Waterfall

It’s indeed raining this morning, so a good day to drive a couple of hours again. I’m heading North via the west coast. I first drive into the town Upperhut to get some gas. Just when I’m driving to the gas station I see some flash lights of a police car behind me. I get out of the car and greet the officer. He tells me that I was driving too fast and wants to see my driving license. He tells me that I can continue putting gas in my car and that he’ll be right back. The guy behind the counter in the gas station tells me that it can easily cost 120 dollars if you’re speeding just a bit. For some reason I’m not too worried, I’m just wondering if getting this gas will become more expensive by getting a ticket. When I walk back to my car the officer tells me that I don’t get a ticket, just a warning this time and I’m happy and thankful that this trip doesn’t get more expensive than needed. The rest of the day I’m paying more attention to my speed.

When I drive into a town called Foxton, I see a sign with ‘De Molen’, the Dutch word for Windmill. I’m curious and follow the sign. After just a couple of minutes I see a big Dutch windmill and it brings a smile on my face. It’s nice to see something from home again. I stop in front of the windmill and there is a restaurant called The Dutch Oven. When I walk inside, a friendly lady welcomes me heartily in Dutch. We start a conversation and I really enjoy speaking my own language again for a moment. The interesting thing is that when I’m home, I don’t think too much about being Dutch, but being away so far now I actually feel Dutch when I see all these familiar things again. I get myself a cup of coffee and write my blog.

Driving North via the West Coast
Most friendly Dutch lady
Inside the Windmill
De Molen
Coffee and a Brownie
Dutch products like hagelslag in the mill
The Dutch Oven
Me at the windmill
Driving between beautiful green hills

After finishing my coffee, I go to the windmill and climb to the top. I’ve seen many windmills, but it’s still fun to see another one, especially so far from home. I walk outside on the top, but since it’s still raining I quickly go inside again. At the bottom they sell typical Dutch products like Stroopwafels and Hagelslag. I have a short talk with some guys who moved here 40 years ago and still speak a bit of Dutch. Then I continue driving to the middle of the North Island. I get a glimpse of a snowy mountain, but it’s covered with clouds. I think I’ll see more of it one of these days. The other day I found a map with Lord of the Rings locations in this area and I visit one of the rivers and a very pretty waterfall. It’s a good idea to visit at least some of the locations, because it brings you to the most beautiful places of New Zealand.

Beautiful green hills
Mangawhero Falls Walk
Mangawhero Falls 2
A canyon river
Mangawhero Falls
Driving to an off the grid camping place
A canyon river 2
Me at the Mangawhero Falls
Driving to an off the grid camping place 2

Even though it’s raining today, it’s a nice drive through beautiful landscape. When it’s the end of the afternoon I search for a camping place in the neighborhood and find one with many good comments. It takes a small windy road through green hills to get there. It’s quite remote, there is no cell phone reception or anything. Only one other camper in the corner of the campsite. I park my car, make myself some sandwiches and turn on a movie. When it’s completely dark, I take a look outside, but since it’s raining there are no stars to see. It’s completely dark here, except for a small torch light at the other camper. Somehow it’s almost scary to be here in the middle of nowhere in the dark. The only sound you hear is the rain and the river next to the campsite. I wonder how it’ll look like in the morning and go to sleep when the movie is finished.

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