The #1 question people asked me when they heard I was going to honeymoon in New Zealand was “Are you going to Hobbiton?” or some iteration to asking if I was planning to visit where Lord of the Rings was filmed.
If you know me at all, or have kept up with this blog, you will know that we did not visit Hobbiton. I haven’t seen any of the movies. (I did try to watch the first LOTR movie before we went to New Zealand, but only got 30 minutes into it before falling asleep).
A close second to any LOTR-related question was if we were going to rent a camper van in New Zealand.
It was something we thought about, and my husband — being the outdoorsy person that he is — would have loved it. I would have loved it, too, but I also love having a bathroom with a hot shower. This was our honeymoon, after all. A lot of areas have free camping around the country so perhaps on our next visit to New Zealand, we’ll have to do the camping option.
Our country getaway
We stayed in hotels in the big cities (which was only in Auckland and Christchurch since we stayed with family in Wellington), and most of the rest of our stays were in Airbnbs.
Can we just rave about New Zealand Airbnbs for a minute?
They are awesome!
On our third night in New Zealand, we stayed in our first Airbnb after spending the day on the Coromandel Peninsula.
It was awesome!
Our hosts greeted us at their home in Pyes Pa, just outside of Taraunga. We had the entire lower level of their house to ourselves. Not only was it spacious for just the two of us, the surrounding area was so beautiful. There was a back patio where we spent a lot of time (despite only spending one night here) where we could look out into the pasture, say “hi” to their sheep and watch various song birds fly by.
They also had a super friendly cat, Rosie, who followed me everywhere. If she wasn’t following me, she was following Bryce to get head rubs and neck scratches.
After dinner at a nearby Indian restaurant, we enjoyed local sparking wine back at the house that our hosts had left for us and called it a night.
Morning “farming” activities
The next morning I was more excited to feed the sheep than for the fantastic breakfast Bryce was cooking for us: Eggs, really crispy bacon, toast and mimosas. All of the ingredients for our breakfast were provided by our hosts! (We’d soon find out that this was pretty much the norm of most Airbnbs in this country!)
But, it turns out that I’d never make it as a farmer. The sheep weren’t that interested in being fed by me.
I took the container of dry food designated for the sheep, left for guests to feed the sheep if they so desired, and walked confidently outside. Having poured the food in a pail, I rattled it so they could hear that it was breakfast time.
They were clearly interested as all five of them started baa-ing loudly. Or, were they scared? They were walking in the opposite direction of me!
When I leaned over the fence to throw the feed at them, none of them really came closer. A few even seemed scared of me! I had to throw the food a distance for it to reach them. One bit of food even got trapped in the matted section of one of the sheep’s fur!
My big dreams of having the sheep eat out of my hand were not going to become a reality — at least not on this morning. At one point, they did come close, but not quite close enough for me to touch them.
Bryce had a bit better of luck. One sheep came close enough for him to feed, but he has longer arms so was able to reach a little further over the fence than I was.
Oh well, still fun!
After trying to feed the sheep, we took a stroll around their orchard and guessed at what was growing. The orange trees were easy to identify as fruit was already growing and smelled so wonderful!
I picked one orange and an apple (from an apple tree that they also had), and laughingly shouted, “Look at my harvest!”
I could have easily stayed a week in this restful country oasis but we had a schedule to follow. We packed up our belongings and were on the road just before 11 am, which was the check-out time.
My belly was full of bacon. My heart was happy. Anywhere with free bacon and a friendly cat is going to be on the top of my list 🙂
This is the first of the “Where we stayed” series where I share the best of the best (in my opinion) of where we stayed in New Zealand. AKA really good Airbnb finds because of the hospitality, atmosphere, surrounding views and/or other attributes! Note: I am in no way affiliated with Airbnb or am getting paid by the company. I merely had fantastic stays in many Kiwi homes!