Hello, budget pals! Aimissshoooo. I just finished yet another semester, and I am back. I am picking up where I left off.

In case you missed, click here to get a recap of the first part of our NZ-AU trip. The first part was mainly about our experiences in the South Island. If you ask me, South Island in New Zealand is a piece of heaven on earth. Just stunning!

For part 2, reminisce with me what happened in the North Island of New Zealand, and in Sydney.

Auckland, New Zealand

Hobbiton – Who hasn’t watched the epic “Lord of the Rings?” We started our first full day in Auckland with the Hobbiton Tour. I never knew there were so many geeks for Middle Earth. When we arrived at the set, there were a lot of people. As in A LOT. It looked like a convention almost. Of course, Hans was in heaven. He was more of a LOTR fan than me.

The scenery didn’t disappoint. According to our tour guide, when Peter Jackson, the LOTR director, was scouting for a location, he used drones to search for that perfect Hobbiton setting.  Well, he found the Alexanders’ farm. It’s perfect! The hobbits’ houses were just super cute! Peter Jackson is a genius. To be able to conjure and bring Hobitton to life was just amazing.

Auckland – This city is a proper city. It has all the tall buildings and all the busy-ness and craziness of a major city. It was expensive, but coming from Hawaii, the prices are kind of comparable. Like in any major city, Auckland is diverse in terms of its people and food. We spent a full day just walking around the city, eating, and buying souvenirs. We also went to the Queen’s wharf. There were a lot of boats and yachts. No wonder Auckland is called the “City of Sails.” Of course, any Auckland trip would not be complete without going to the famous Sky Tower. We went to the casino on the second floor and played a little bit. Afterwards, we met with a friend of a friend, and had dinner. Craig must not be reading this, but Craig, thank you for driving us around Auckland –  in your new car, too!

Sydney, Australia

When I think of Australia, I think of the Opera House. Of course, I also think about Chris Hemsworth, Liam Hemsworth, Ryan Kwanten, Hugh Jackman, and Thunder from Down Under! Ha ha ha!

Sydney Opera House- Our first stop was the iconic Sydney Opera House. I mean, it’s been featured in countless movies and articles. The Opera House is truly a work of art. It is huge, too. And as expected, it’s filled with tourists. The shiny finish of the arcs was something new to me, and it’s something that you only see close-up. We did not watch anything at the Opera House because we weren’t into the shows that they were playing at that time. It would have been a perfect time to see an aria.

Coastal Walk –  The coastal walk from Bondi beach to Coogee beach was a treat. We walked along the cliffs (with railings, of course), and feasted our eyes with the magnificent beauty of the ocean. Bondi beach is one of a kind. I can’t describe it. You have to be there to experience it.

The Rocks – We stayed at The Rocks. It was the perfect location for us. It’s a fifteen-minute walk away from everything we wanted to see: Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay, Macquarie Park, and the city. The Rocks is the “older” part of Sydney. The streets are made of cobblestones and the buildings are made of bricks.

So, there you go. I gotta say that our NZ-AU trip has been the “nature trip” out of all our travels. If you can, when you can, New Zealand is a truly wonderful place to visit, especially the South Island. I highly recommend it. You will not be disappointed. Its sheer beauty is just stunning!

As usual, we came back from our trip happy and invigorated. I’ve attached some more pictures from Auckland and Sydney for you to enjoy!