Ha Long bay in Northern Vietnam with it’s thousands of towering limestone islands and islets was designated a World Heritage Site in 1994. With it’s emerald waters, pinnacles topped with rainforests and sea level eroded bases it’s a sight to behold.
You don’t need to be a Lord of the Rings fan to enjoy this enchanting village of Hobbiton just a 2-hour drive from Auckland. Although this is a movie set it doesn’t appear as such. It’s an idyllic village with fantasy-like landscaping of flowers, vegetation, fruit trees and walking paths. It’s like stepping into another world, the world of Hobbits. You’ll even get to enjoy a complimentary pub drink at the Green Dragon Inn.
It’s my last day in Queenstown and while I’m having breakfast at the nearby Starbuck’s I’m thinking about hiking to the Skyline via the Tiki Trail to have a view and checkout the luge which sounds like a fun ride. I already had a day of rest after the Routeburn track and the legs are ready for more. I walk towards the Skyline Gondola in Queenstown which is also the start of the Tiki Trail via the Hammy Track.
I start the day with another beautiful weather day and an 8am pick-up in front of the Nomads Queenstown hostel by Guided Walks NZ. I booked this trip for $199 NZ about $133 USD. Compared to other offers/guides this one seemed the best value for money. Our goal is to day hike the Routeburn Track from the Routeburn Shelter on the Glenorchy side of the track. I’m the last one to be picked up before hitting the road.
It was an early morning rise for me to walk over to the Southern Discoveries center for a 7:00am departure. It was just a short walk from the Nomads hostel on this beautiful fresh morning. The moon was out big and bright just over the mountain peak.
Of the many adventures to choose from in Queenstown, river boarding was something different for me to check out. I booked an afternoon trip from Serious Fun Riverboarding in downtown Queenstown which is the same place to meet up for your shuttle transfer with your guides to the river. They are located on Shotover street just across from the famous Fergburger.
As I’m sitting at the Boardwalk restaurant/bar sipping some Happy Hour champagne and toasting my arrival to Queenstown I spy a jet boat that is painted like a leopard shark. I had discovered this is the Hydro Attack tour. I’m posting pics on Facebook of the lake view and talking about this jet boat ride, thinking I want to do this. My friends are saying yes, yes do it! Like I needed that much convincing 😉
In the Maori language, wai (water) and tomo (hole or shaft) name the small village of Waitomo on the North Island of New Zealand. It has extensive underground cave systems famous for glow-worms that light up the caves. The tour operator in Waitomo, Black Water Rafting, has a variety of tour levels for the cave systems. I was privileged to discover and join the Blackwater River Rafting tour called the Black Abyss, the most extensive tour option (5hrs) they have featuring abseiling down a 35 meter hole, zip lining in the dark, rafting with inner tubes in the cave river, and finally climbing up water fall to get out of the cave. This was quite the magical, exciting and surreal experience. You just can’t believe you’re there doing these things.