New Zealand: Idle hours with Kiwi denizens

travel new zealand travel dejavu

On January 1st, 2017, I arrived in one of the most amazing countries I’ve been to so far, good ol’ NZ. This trip was very long awaited and I’ve been a traveler for quite some time now, so I couldn’t wait to get back on the road again.

I visited Europe back in 2013, spending most of my time there in Germany and Italy, and since then had been traveling around the U.S. (my home country) until it was finally time to depart for New Zealand.

So far it’s been one of my favorite countries i’ve visited yet. It has such a variety in scenery, including mountains, fjords, beaches, glaciers, caves, rolling green hills, and even a few rainforest areas. You could stay here for years and still not see everything that New Zealand has to offer.

capereinga newzealand travel dejavu

I spent my first few weeks on the North Island, seeing the far north region all the way up to Cape Reinga (pictured above) as well as 90 mile beach, Paihia and the Bay of Islands area.

On the north island I also finally got to visit a place I’ve been dying to go for years, the Hobbiton Movie Set (pictured below) and the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves both in the SAME day. This made for one of the best days I’ve had in New Zealand yet.

visit hobbiton movie set new zealand travel dejavu

My favorite part of the north island of NZ was that it had so many hikes with some of the best ocean and beach views I’ve ever seen. One of my favorite ocean view hikes was the Shakespeare Cliff Reserve up in Whitianga on the Coromandel Peninsula. Of course I have some great photos of this…

shakespearecliff new zealand travel dejavu

So, when I finally headed to the south island, I was ready to see more mountains, lakes and fjords that the north island didn’t have quite so much of, and I definitely was not left disappointed. New Zealand has some of the most beautiful mountain lakes I’ve ever seen, and Milford Sound has been one of the highlights of the my New Zealand trip so far.

milfordsound south island new zealand travel dejavu

Milford Sound

meatkeysummit new zealand travel dejavu

Key Summit

queenstown new zealand travel dejavu


Another thing I absolutely love about New Zealand is how safe it is to travel in and how friendly and helpful the people can be. A big hobby I’ve picked up on since going to the South Island is hitch hiking! Yes, I know a lot of people are skeptical about this, but if anywhere in the world is safe to do this, it’s here in NZ.
So fun and so easy, and I’ve met some great people doing it.

I’m planning on staying here in NZ for the next few months, and then I’m heading on to Australia next! Feel free to follow along on my instagram page (alex.allover) or visit my blog (

Farewell, or as they say in New Zealand, Kia Ora!



  1. I’m impressed you went to the far northern tip of the north Island, Cape Reinga. I’ve not yet been to New Zealand but I’ll definitely go to Cape Reinga, maybe travel all the way down by land to the southern tip, if it’s possible? The view Key Summit is beautiful with the snow capped mountains.

  2. New Zealand has been on my list for a while too. I have priced out airfares and the north seemed to have the best so that is probably where I’d start. This is one reason why I enjoyed your post so much. I’d love to visit those glow worm caves, the hobbit area and especially enjoy some of those grand views. And after reading your article, I may even consider hitch hiking. Nice post.

  3. New Zealand looks beautiful. It is high on my bucket list. I will include your tips in my trip planning.

  4. I love the diversity of lanscapes that New Zealand has to offer. I can’t wait til I get thetr myself. I also love that you got to visitthe site where they filmed the Lord of the Rings. Super cool and so glad you shared it with me.

  5. Oh I’m so jealous you got to go to Hobbiton!!! It’s been my dream for SUCH a long time now! As has NZ as a whole really. My aunt is originally from there but moved to Wales before I was born so I grew up hearing all about it from her! And now the more I read about it the more I know I just have to go! It’s so green and luscious and, like you said, has a bit of everything!

  6. I have not made it to Australia and NZ yet. Definitely high up on the list. I imagine spending the day in Hobbiton and the glow worm cave felt a little like make-believe.

  7. This is so great! Were going to NZ in May, and I’m so excited to explore Milford Sound and the Queenstown area. Do you know how the weather is then?

  8. Feels relaxing in here! I assume this place is very windy being near the shore. I dreamed of visiting here one day. And I want it to be here so that I can enjoy the fresh air and a simple life.

  9. I’ve always wanted to go to New Zealand even before I became a fan of LOTR. But now that I am a fan of LOTR, my desire to go there has heightened. I want to go to Hobbiton. I have many blogger friends who have been there already and I was green with envy when I saw their photos. I hope I’d be able to go there myself soon.

  10. NZ is on my bucket list also, but it tends to be a little bit tricky getting there since it is one of the most far away countries from mine (living in Eastern Europe). But hey, maybe someday 🙂

    Great trip!


  11. What a great trip. New Zealand is high on my list of places to visit. A hike in Shakespeare Cliff Reserve sounds amazing. I would take a ton of pictures, too. And the Hobbit set is adorable; that’s a must-do.

  12. Shakespeare Cliff had the most amazing view! You’d love it!

  13. NZ is stunning! It’s so lovely to hear that others have a similar opinion of this beautiful and friendly country. Your hitch hiking would sure help you meet some interesting people!

  14. New Zealand is such a gorgeous country. The photos are always amazing! We have not visited but the Hobbit homes are high on the list!! We always travel with the kids and they would LOVE seeing them in person!!

  15. New Zealand looks like a dream destination – I love that it’s geographically small so you can visit many places in a short period of time. What’s the transportation like or do you need to hire a car to get around?

  16. NZ is my dream destination, I want to go so bad, awesome places and views, very beautiful pictures as well. great post

  17. New Zealand is well known for its stunning landscapes and beaches and you have totally managed to show us how beautiful the place is. The LOTR locations have been on my bucketlist since the time I watched the movies years ago, hope to visit them someday. Milford Sound and Shakespeare Cliff Reserve looks amazing. Definitely going to add this to my NZ list. Enjoy rest of your stay in this gorgeous country :).

  18. New Zeland has been on my bucket list for a while now and I have never been there. I have been dying to see the Hobbiton houses and the gloworm caves. I have heard New Zealand is wonderful for adventure sports. Hopefully you got to try some of them.

  19. I loved New Zealand too and your pictures brought back so many memories! 🙂 Did you have fun at the Waitomo Caves? I loved it! And what about the Tongariro Crossing? My fav in NZ!

  20. New Zealand is such a spectacular country. Its natural beauty is really out of the world. Hiking here must be a really exhilarating experience in the midst of such pristine nature. Your post provides some really enticing glimpses of New Zealand.

  21. All this is sounding so alluring. The pictures are so fanatabulous.
    I have never hitch hiked, I have heard of its pros and cons so much… your recommendation makes me think about it seriously.

  22. Thanks for the virtual tour. New Zeland is a beautiful country. The landscape all through is stunning. I would like to know what itinerary you followed and how you commuted from one place to another

  23. How awesome that you will be in the area for a few months! You’re going to get a good feel for the country. This is so high on my bucket list. It just looks so lovely. I really think it does have the best of all worlds with their beaches, mountains and fjords. Good luck on your travels, you’ll love Australia!

  24. I’ve heard so many great things about NZ, and I can’t wait to visit! Your pictures are beautiful. I’ve always wanted to visit hobbiton! Lucky you! You are one brave soul to be hitchhiking. I watch too many scary movies for that!! Lol.

  25. Wow what a cool trip! New Zealand has been on my bucket list forever- I hope to make it out there soon!! I’d love to see Milford Sound – your photos look amazing!


  26. I agree with you that NZ is a very beautiful country! Unfortunately I had not much time for the North Island so I missed its beaches. Was it worth the visit to Hobbiton? Most of the reviews I read were talking about an expensive tourist trap (I did not visit it).

  27. New Zealand is definitely on my list and your pictures only add to the desire to go there! Looks like you’re having a great time so far. Have a blast and I can’t wait to see more photos!

  28. This is why New Zealand is on my bucket list – so many things to see and do. This is a photographer’s paradise for sure!

  29. I’m moving to Hawaii next month, so contemplating a trip to New Zealand in 2017 (since I will be much closer once I get to Hawaii). Your photos are totally solidifying that decision! It looks beautiful.

  30. New Zealand is definitely high on my list! The landscapes just look gorgeous and I’m so jealous you got to visit the Hobbiton movie set!!

  31. New Zealand is definitely on my bucket list. The glow worm caves sound absolutely amazing! Even if Hobbiton is a tourist trap, I’d still like to spend a little bit of time there as well. So cool!

  32. I hope I get to New-Zealand once in my life.. I’ve been to Iceland last year, and I was so starstruck of its beauty.. People told me that New-Zealand is even more beautiful, and these pictures don’t prove them wrong.. !!

  33. So many good memories being brought back by your pictures and your article. We spent 7 months in NZ and we just cant wait to go back. We are now in Australia, working a bit so we can actually go back there!

  34. Wow! New zealand is practicality a dream country for me but at the monent i cant afgord to go and get around there. Im so happy for you that you were able to see the hobbiton haha must be awesome to find some hobbits there.. kidding aside, thenplace is utterly lovely!!!

  35. Hi Alex,
    Sounds like it was worth waiting to head back outside the US! I hope you continue to have a great time in New Zealand & in Australia afterward.

    Happy travels!

  36. I’ve never hitchhiked before but would like to try it, especially somewhere that’s as safe as NZ. All my friends who have ever been to NZ have wanted to move there! I would love to visit Hobbittown even though it seems like such a touristy thing!

  37. I see more and more people going to New Zealand and it’s easy to see why. Great post 🙂

  38. So it kind of seems like you’re a NZ expert (compared to me). I love your pictures, and am working on planning a trip for next Feb. If I have 2 weeks, would you recommend the north or south island or a bit of both? I wish I had a few months like you!!

    • I would definitely recommend the South mostly since it has more landscapes that other countries don’t have! The north island is mostly beaches but if you want to spend a few days on the north I’d recommend Hobbiton and maybe the coromandel peninsula. But definitely focus more on the South!

  39. An absolutely stunning part of the world and really, it isn’t difficult to see why so many movies have been shot there, everything about the landscape is cinematic. I’ve got quite a few buddies who are extreme sports junkies and they swear that NZ is unrivalled on this front but frankly, with views like that, I’d be quite content to chill with a beer! It’s also great to hear how safe it is as a travel destination

  40. How exciting that you’ll be spending a few months in New Zealand! I’d love to travel there sometime, it looks so beautiful, and it’s great how friendly and helpful people have been on your trip. I have been to Australia, and would love to go back. Hope you enjoy all your adventures!

  41. New Zealand looks pristine and gorgeous. From the little that you describe, it seems like a peaceful place for any traveler and more importantly, a gorgeous place for a photographer. Glad you had a good time

  42. New Zealand should rather be named fairytale land. I have not seen such beautiful refreshing landscape anywhere else. the Hobbiton Movie Set is high on my bucket list. And I will definitely visit here when I happen to go to new Zealand.

  43. I would so love to visit Hobbiton and Queenstown when in New Zealand. Looks like you had a great experience. Loved the pictures!

  44. From what I can see from your pictures, Milford Sound is absolutely jumping into my bucket list! Waitomo Glow Worm Caves are already in it, I’m just too curious about them!
    Since you lived in Germany and Italy, is it expensive traveling through NZ compared to them?

  45. NEW ZEALAND has been on my top list. I simply love their landscapes. You have captured it pretty well. Milford Sound is a kind of place where I did not mind spending at least a few months.

  46. Delightful colours! New Zealand is literally the Middle Earth, he he.
    I have a great desire to see the Hobbitton. Woul like to see some detailed hikes in those mountains.

  47. I have a couple of friends who decided to move to NZ for a year and they are loving life! They say the same as you about the varying scenic landscapes. You’ve captured NZ quite beautifully, and I’m definitely putting Milford Sound on my list. Happy travels 🙂

  48. I lived in Australia for a year and fell in love. New Zealand is next on my list! I’ve had friends move there and they have zero regrets. Thanks for sharing your awesome experiences. Some of it is too beautiful… I’m convinced it’s a different world 😉

  49. Wow, what a view! Absolutely breathtaking. I would love to visit this magical place. Love this deep blue space 🙂

  50. I am also like you on this, been planning a visit for so long, but NZ hasn’t happened as yet.

    Loved the hobbit set, and I will certainly visit that one 🙂 and those sceneries are simply to die for…

  51. Great post! 🙂 You have made NZ a place to see before you die! 🙂 I’ve been dreaming about visiting that place ever since I have watched the Hobbits. 🙂 the houses in the movie are awesome!:)

  52. Cape Reinga looks very similar to one of our best places in the Philippines called Batanes, both stunning! And oh yes, envy you for seeing the Hobiton place! ho ho! It’s one of my dreams to see it too! Seems like a very magical place. Did you see any of the hobbits there? haha cheers!

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