Waitomo & The Road To Hobbiton

Nothing like glow worm caves and a long drive to the Shire!

GQ-waitomo Gearing up!

Waitomo

If you’re heading to Waitomo, you’re probably only there for one main reason – glowworm caves. Unless you’re up for other water activities like sledging or white water rafting. There really isn’t much else. And I wouldn’t recommend you spending more than a day if you can help it.

We thought about doing the famous black water rafting, but soon realized after days of being in rainy weather, we didn’t want to get in icky wet suits and get in the water. Plus, something about being in dark water scares the heebie jeebies out of me.

waitomo-cave Spellbound cave entrance

What is a glowworm? For starters it’s not actually a worm, it’s a maggot with poop that glows blue to attract its prey. Sounds funny, but it’s true! Spellbound probably offers one of the best tours of the glowworm caves and came highly recommended. Like seeing “Planet Earth” in the flesh. After all, it did make its way into the series as exceptional caves of the world. That’s got to count for something, right?

spellbound-cave-of-the-spirit Cave of the Spirit

For $70, you get not one but two cave visits – the Spellbound Glowworm Caves and The Cave of the Spirit – both exclusive caves to only Spellbound. The tour last approximately 3.5 hours so make sure you wear good walking shoes. The walk is minimal but you’ll go through some narrow, shitty (literally as in sheep poop) paths leading down to the caves. Once inside, it can be slippery too so sandals are not ideal.

waitomo-cave-2 Cave of the Spirit

Pictures really don’t do it justice. We tried taking photos of the glowworms. Tons. They were suppose to look like little twinkling stars when it’s pitched dark. But all we got were these!

glowworm-squiggle squiggly glowworms

glowworm-squiggle more squiggly glowworms..

Little squiggly strobe lights of the glowworms. Haha. It’s a good thing Spellbound knows pictures are nearly impossible to capture so they provide free photos previously taken by the pros for you to download to your hearts content. You know, the ones from Planet Earth. Like these!

spellbound-glowworm-threads glowworms!

spellbound-light-show more glowworms..

Among many things to see in New Zealand, this is one of those wonders that just makes you go “Whoa..”. Seriously, it’s worth a visit even if you’re strap for time.

Hobbiton

The drive to Matamata is windy and narrow.. and long! It’s completely in the middle of nowhere which I’m sure Peter Jackson had something to do with that. You’ll drive for miles and miles and see no signs of 20th century influences. That said, make sure to fill up on petrol.

Gerard had this great idea to hold off lunch so that we could dine at the Shire Cafe on site. For some reason, he thought it be like the pub in the Shire! Lol. Quite the opposite. It’s just a normal, boring Cafe so don’t bother — eat first! Plus, it closes 2:30pm so there’s no point if you have a 3 or 4pm tour like we did.

Now.. on to the good part! Aren’t you just chomping at the bits that we’re writing about this?! Sadly, the movie set is still owned by New Line Cinema, and as such, are under contract stating we will not post any photography and/or video about our visit to Hobbiton. We can respect that. So.. this is all you’re getting from us.

UPDATE: Now that the movie is released, we can post our photos from our Hobbiton Tour!

Welcome to Hobbiton

I will say, if you are a Lord of the Rings fan, even in the slightest bit, it’s well worth a visit. Having seen the set, we can’t wait to see the Hobbit, due in theatres end of year December 2012!!


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Since we can’t discuss Hobbiton, are there any famous caves around the world you’ve visited worth sharing?

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  • http://www.twoOregonians.com twoOregonians

    Aren’t the rolling green hills so lovely? I read an interview last month with the farmer who owned some of the initial filming locations. He was so down to earth, and it was interesting to think about the ways Lord of the Rings changed his way of life.

    On a related note: we’ll be in NZ when The Hobbit premiers in December, and we’re geeking out a little bit 🙂 So much fun… (!!)

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      OMG I’m so jealous! Geek out for the both of us. I totally had the itch to watch LOTR immediately after the tour. Luckily, every hostel was playing it! Lol

      • http://lozintranslation.blogspot.com/2012/01/day-365-life-as-movie-movie-tropes-and_28.html LozinTransit

        By the end your RTW trip this experience will probably come flooding back… you will feel like the Hobbits when they returned home from their epic odyssey

  • http://www.twoOregonians.com twoOregonians

    Aren’t the rolling green hills so lovely? I read an interview last month with the farmer who owned some of the initial filming locations. He was so down to earth, and it was interesting to think about the ways Lord of the Rings changed his way of life.

    On a related note: we’ll be in NZ when The Hobbit premiers in December, and we’re geeking out a little bit 🙂 So much fun… (!!)

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      OMG I’m so jealous! Geek out for the both of us. I totally had the itch to watch LOTR immediately after the tour. Luckily, every hostel was playing it! Lol

      • http://30homegames.blogspot.com.au/p/blog-page.html 30HomeGames

        By the end your RTW trip this experience will probably come flooding back… you will feel like the Hobbits when they returned home from their epic odyssey

  • http://soloviaje.tumblr.com yols @ soloviaje

    That’s so cool! New Zealand isn’t at the top of my list of destinations. But I would love to see the Hobbiton and walk about the streets where all the great scenes were shot. Can’t wait to see the movie either!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      It was surreal! I’m not like a die hard LOTR fans by any means, I’ve seen the movies. But this.. to hear how the site was found, what it took to build the Shire (and keep it after the filming was over) was very cool! I can’t wait to see the movie either. 😉

  • http://www.offbeatandlovingit.com/ Yolly Mae

    That’s so cool! New Zealand isn’t at the top of my list of destinations. But I would love to see the Hobbiton and walk about the streets where all the great scenes were shot. Can’t wait to see the movie either!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      It was surreal! I’m not like a die hard LOTR fans by any means, I’ve seen the movies. But this.. to hear how the site was found, what it took to build the Shire (and keep it after the filming was over) was very cool! I can’t wait to see the movie either. 😉

  • Anonymous

    I looove exploring caves! These look great! And as a LOTR fanatic, looks like a must!!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      Explored any in Asia? We’re heading there next and I’d love to see a cave or two! Hobbiton is definitely a must for any LOTR fanatics!

      • Anonymous

        Unfortunately haven’t been to Asia yet! We’re only leaving for our RTW in July! But I’ve heard of many river caves in the area where you can actually kayak in the caves! Look it up, looks BEAUTIFUL! : ) – Caro

        • http://soloviaje.tumblr.com yols @ soloviaje

          Caro, you guys should drop by the Philippines on your RTW trip. Lots of beaches, cheap food and friendly people over here. ^.^

  • http://www.passportandatoothbrush.com/ Caro_PassportandaToothbrush

    I looove exploring caves! These look great! And as a LOTR fanatic, looks like a must!!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Explored any in Asia? We’re heading there next and I’d love to see a cave or two! Hobbiton is definitely a must for any LOTR fanatics!

      • http://www.passportandatoothbrush.com/ Caro_PassportandaToothbrush

        Unfortunately haven’t been to Asia yet! We’re only leaving for our RTW in July! But I’ve heard of many river caves in the area where you can actually kayak in the caves! Look it up, looks BEAUTIFUL! : ) – Caro

        • http://www.offbeatandlovingit.com/ Yolly Mae

          Caro, you guys should drop by the Philippines on your RTW trip. Lots of beaches, cheap food and friendly people over here. ^.^

  • http://www.theworldofdeej.com The World of Deej

    Cool pics…cooler city names:)

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      Right?! New Zealand has some of the coolest city names. Lol.

  • http://www.theworldofdeej.com The World of Deej

    Cool pics…cooler city names:)

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Right?! New Zealand has some of the coolest city names. Lol.

  • http://twitter.com/houseofannie Nathan Lau

    Whoa. Cool squiggles!

    I’d sure like to visit those caves.

    Here in Sarawak, we have the Mulu Cave which is/was the largest cave in the world. We haven’t seen it yet but hopefully this year. Come join us, we’ll go together!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      oOoooo.. very tempting. Do they have maggots with glowy poop? Lol

  • Gophur

    Whoa. Cool squiggles!

    I’d sure like to visit those caves.

    Here in Sarawak, we have the Mulu Cave which is/was the largest cave in the world. We haven’t seen it yet but hopefully this year. Come join us, we’ll go together!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      oOoooo.. very tempting. Do they have maggots with glowy poop? Lol

  • http://www.solojunket.com Wayne – Solo Junket

    Photos of the glow worms are actually pretty cool! I hope it didn’t rain the whole time yu were in NZ…

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      They were fun to shoot! We have tons of squiggly glowworms. Lol. We had better weather in the South Island but overall.. not too terrible.

  • http://www.solojunket.com Wayne – Solo Junket

    Photos of the glow worms are actually pretty cool! I hope it didn’t rain the whole time yu were in NZ…

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      They were fun to shoot! We have tons of squiggly glowworms. Lol. We had better weather in the South Island but overall.. not too terrible.

  • http://www.scarletwonderland.com/ Jen

    AhhhhI’d love to visit hobbiton, I imagine it’s so quaint! So excited about the film this year too! LOVE the photos of the caves, incredible! xx

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      Definitely felt like we’ve traveled through time, the movie set was beautiful and very quaint. I can’t wait for the film to come out either! The caves were equally amazing. 😉

  • http://www.scarletwonderland.com/ Jen

    AhhhhI’d love to visit hobbiton, I imagine it’s so quaint! So excited about the film this year too! LOVE the photos of the caves, incredible! xx

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Definitely felt like we’ve traveled through time, the movie set was beautiful and very quaint. I can’t wait for the film to come out either! The caves were equally amazing. 😉

  • http://technosyncratic.com Technosyncratic

    This post totally reminded me of my favorite poem —

    I wish I was a glowworm,
    a glowworm is never glum.
    Because how can you be unhappy
    when the light shines out your bum!

    I had no idea glowworms are really maggots, though. Ugh, that puts a new spin on things! 😛

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      Lol.. Imagine.. “I wish I was a maggot..” Haha.

  • http://technosyncratic.com Technosyncratic

    This post totally reminded me of my favorite poem —

    I wish I was a glowworm,
    a glowworm is never glum.
    Because how can you be unhappy
    when the light shines out your bum!

    I had no idea glowworms are really maggots, though. Ugh, that puts a new spin on things! 😛

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Lol.. Imagine.. “I wish I was a maggot..” Haha.

  • http://www.blonde-gypsy.com/ theblondegypsy

    What??? I thought Playskool invented glow worms http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glo_Worm. Had I known about this place when I was 4, I’d probably be living Waitomo right now.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      Lol. Totally had one of those!

  • http://www.blonde-gypsy.com/ theblondegypsy

    What??? I thought Playskool invented glow worms http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glo_Worm. Had I known about this place when I was 4, I’d probably be living Waitomo right now.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Lol. Totally had one of those!

  • Flipnomad

    the glow worms look awesome!!!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      They look even cooler in person! It was pretty awesome.

  • Flipnomad

    the glow worms look awesome!!!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      They look even cooler in person! It was pretty awesome.

  • BeyondBlighty

    The gloworm caves look amazing! I love your photo attempts. Might not look like actual gloworms, but they’re pretty pictures anyway! Do you know if you can visit Hobbiton from Waitomo, or how easy it is to get a public bus?

  • BeyondBlighty

    The gloworm caves look amazing! I love your photo attempts. Might not look like actual gloworms, but they’re pretty pictures anyway! Do you know if you can visit Hobbiton from Waitomo, or how easy it is to get a public bus?

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