The number one country to visit on my bucket list is New Zealand, a group of islands located in the southwest part of the Pacific Ocean. The two largest islands that make up New Zealand are the North Island and the South Island. In 1642, a Dutch man named Abel Tasman was the first European set foot on New Zealand soil. Today New Zealand mirrors its parliamentary government after the United Kingdom having joined the British Commonwealth in 1926. Its capital is Wellington the home to 343,000 citizens. The Maori people are indigenous to New Zealand, but they make up only 15% of the nation’s population.
New Zealand is primarily driven by exports and up until 1973 its main trade partner was the United Kingdom, but in this year the UK joined the European Union. Without Britain purchasing from them they looked to expand their trade markets adding Japan, Australia and the United States as new partners. Their chief exports include: dairy products, meat, wood, fish, chemicals, wool and mutton. Agriculturally New Zealand grows wheat, barley, potatoes and legumes. The official languages of New Zealand are English and Maori, and the two main religious groups are Protestants and Roman Catholics.
One of the main reasons I want to visit New Zealand is because it has been the setting for several of my all-time favorite movies: The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit trilogy and the three most recent screen adaptations of The Chronicles of Narnia (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader). On New Zealand’s official website there is a page featuring the top ten places every film buff needs to visit. If I could only visit five places in New Zealand I would pick these:
- Cathedral Cove
- Location: Hahei Beach near the Hereherataura Peninsula
- Prince Caspian: the ruins of Cair Paravel
- Hobbiton Movie Set
- Location: Waikato region
- The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies: Hobbiton of the Shire
- Location: at the end Queenstown-Glenorchy road in the Southern Lakes region
- The Hobbit: the backdrop for Beorn’s House
- Flock Hill
- Location: outside of Arthur’s Pass in Canterbury
- The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe: the final battle where the White Witch is defeated
- Kaitoke Regional Park
- Location: north of Wellington
- The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies: Rivendell
New Zealand also offers tours of “Middle-earth” and there are three different itineraries: A Halfling’s ramble (7 days), Elven Magic (14 days) and the Ultimate Middle-earth itinerary (21 days). And being the HUGE Lord of the Rings buff I am, I choose the Ultimate Journey! This trip will take its travelers through Auckland, Hamilton, Waitomo, Taupo, Wellington, Blenheim, Marlborough, Nelson, Kaikoura, Christchurch, Aoraki Mt Cook, Wanaka and Queenstown.
New Zealand is a prime example of how beautiful God’s creation truly is. He is such an artist and craftsman, and I want to be able to experience all He made in the country of New Zealand. It just happens to be a bonus that while I am enjoying God’s handiwork I can also experience one of my favorite movies in the flesh. I will be able to see where The Lord of the Rings was filmed. New Zealand is number one on my bucket list and my goal is to visit before I die, hopefully for my 10-year wedding anniversary.
“Welcome to New Zealand. The Official Site for New Zealand Tourism.” Welcome to New Zealand. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2016.
“New Zealand Facts, New Zealand Flag — National Geographic.” National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2016.