The Travelling Series
Blue Duck Station is a sheep farm in an amazingly remote location in the North Island of New Zealand. Trust me, when Stray advertises 'off the beaten track' they certainly aren't exaggerating! We had to twist and turn around hills and go up and down mountains for ages before we even reached our destination.
Blue Duck is a great spot for horse riding, hunting and trekking. In fact, we walked for three hours to a waterfall while we were there (a personal best for me as I'm totally not the hiking type). It's so in the middle of nowhere that it has a relaxing, peaceful vibe to it. I like going places while travelling that encourage you to switch off and forget about the world. We can become so consumed in our every day lives that we often don't take the time to just... be. Travelling reminds you of the simpler things in life and the unnecessary need for materialistic things.
After Blue Duck we headed to Tongariro National Park at the slightly ungodly hour of 6am. There was a fairly surreal moment, when we were driving down the road out of there, where rocks were falling down from the mountains as Metallica's 'Enter Sandman' played on the sound system. It was one of those moments in life where you think 'I can't believe I'm here and I can't believe this is happening'.
At Tongariro there was the opportunity to do a full day hike up the mountains which I politely declined due to my undeniable lack of physical fitness. Instead, a few of us had a little hot tub party for American Jasmine's birthday and then abused the wifi at the hostel. If you've ever travelled before you'll know that wifi equals gold when you're a backpacker.
I also spent a fair few minutes staring at the beauty of the mountains in all their snowy glory - particularly the one that was shot as Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings. Now, that was cool!
The next day we headed to the capital city of Wellington and had a few drinks in celebration of Jasmine's birthday. It's true what they say - it's called Windy Welly for a reason. I couldn't believe how strong the wind was which also meant it felt extremely chilly. But it was hard to care about the weather when we were about to embark upon a tour around Weta Workshop - the special effects house for LOTR, The Hobbit and many other Peter Jackson movies.
Let the fangirling commence!