AAA Traveler - Summer 2021 - 27

Church of the Good Shepherd
NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand sure looks a lot like Middle-earth, the
fictional village in the movie Lord of the Rings. That's
because the entire trilogy of the fantastical tale was filmed
in New Zealand. Matamata, on the north island, is the
sight of the fictitious village of Hobbiton, home of Frodo
Baggins, who is tasked with destroying the One Ring in the
fires of Mount Doom. Travelers can tour the Hobbiton
Movie Set and play among the Hobbit holes and pose for
pictures under the Party Tree.
There's plenty to see in Auckland, a sprawling metropolis
of 1.6 million people. Visit the Matakana region for its
stunning beaches, vineyards and picturesque namesake
village. The Matakana Farmers Market is where seasonal
produce and fresh delicacies are found. Join Trafalgar for
visits to other Auckland attractions like Waitemata
Harbour, Bastion Point and Mission Bay.
Haere mai! That's " welcome " in the Maori language. And
the best place to experience the Maori culture is in
Rotorua, a North Island town surrounded by lakes, forests
and geothermal activity. Maori culture tours give special
insight into the traditional customs and practices of the
Maori: Paddle a waka (Maori canoe), watch a powhiri
(welcoming ceremony), and Maori performers dance with
poi (balls attached to flax strings).
The South Island is known as the " Adventure Island. "
Trafalgar offers a stargazing session during their twocountry
trip. But first you'll leave Queenstown to admire
the aquamarine hue of Lake Tekapo, and then continue on
to the Church of the Good Shepherd. When darkness
arrives, you'll gaze into the heavens in Aoraki Mackenzie
International Dark Sky Reserve. Christchurch also has its
share of unique wonders, like the Christchurch Botanic
Gardens, Hagley Park and New Regent Street, where
Spanish Mission-style buildings house boutiques and cafes.
No one skips a visit to Fiordland National Park, New
Zealand's popular natural playground. Avid hikers can put
Hobbiton Movie Set
in some miles on the Milford Track, dubbed " the finest
walk in the world " by locals. From May to October, all of
the park's trails can see snow and ice and surging rivers. But
late October to April brings pleasant spring-summer
weather for trekking along valleys and through rainforests.
Take a boat tour of Milford Sound, where sea lions,
dolphins and penguins can be seen. Or take to the air in a
helicopter to soar above glaciers and mountaintops. Lake
Te Anau is popular with kayakers and motor boat cruising.
Its glassy blue water laps the shores of hill country on one
side, forests and mountains on the other.
Ready to explore? Contact your local AAA Travel Advisor at 800-750-5386 and plan your adventure
Down Under!
TRAVELER SUMMER 2021
27
TOURISM AUSTRALIA; ERIC PLANTE; SARA ORME; VAUGHAN BROOKFIELD & NEW ZEALAND

AAA Traveler - Summer 2021

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