I’M MOVING TO HOBBITON! MATAMATA | NEW ZEALAND

It’s finally here – the Hobbiton video! Check out the full blog post here: https://gdaymatejohn.wordpress.com/2017/08/07/becoming-a-hobbit-hobbiton-new-zealand/ or otherwise sit back relax and enjoy the scenery!

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TOP 5 FOOD & DRINKS TIPS WHILE BACKPACKING ON A BUDGET

Any good backpacker knows that one of the biggest expenses whilst traveling is your food and drink budget! Today I’m sharing five things that i do to help minimise the food bill so that those dollars can be saved and put towards something even more epic!!

1 – COOKING YOUR OWN MEALS

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More than likely (just like when at home), cooking and preparing your own food can work out much cheaper than eating out for every meal. Look for hostels or airbnbs where you have access to a kitchen and start cooking up a storm using all those fresh new local ingredients that you spot at the local markets!

I’ve stayed at hostels before that even have a free food section – other travellers who don’t want to continue traveling with half a bottle of olive oil or have too much pasta leftover simply donate their items here. This can be a goldmine if you’re lucky and help with budgeting even further!

2 – EATING DIRECT FROM THE SUPERMARKET

Eating directly from the supermarket is another way to save big dollars while travelling as well as convenient when you’re out and about for the day. If I’m in need of a quick bite to eat my go to “on the run” snacks include grabbing some rice crackers with a hommos dip, a packet of almonds or some fresh fruit but you can go for anything thats cheap, convenient or just tickles your tastebuds.

It’s much lighter on the wallet to spend five dollars on something direct from the supermarket then to hit the sushi place next door or McDonalds around the corner.

3 – PRE-DRINKS!

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Having spent all of this year so far in Australia & New Zealand i know all too well exactly how expensive buying drinks whilst out clubbing can be. One tequila, two tequila, three tequila POOR!

Some of the best nights out start with drinking with friends and new acquaintances then hitting the club afterwards when the party is getting started. You can buy beer, wine and liquor much much cheaper at the supermarket or store than the pub or club. Have some social drinks before going out, get to know your fellow travelers a little better before you’re surrounded by loud music then once you’re six pack of beer is finished – hit the dance floor!

4 – FREE FOOD!?!

Hostels that offer free breakfast and woofing jobs / volunteer work with meals included are just two ways you can score free food on your travels. Sharing food or meals with other travelers is also a great way to try something different and save some money.

Next time you’re whipping up some spaghetti bolognaise make a bit extra for those two Brazilian backpackers you hung out with earlier – then they can return the favour with some special home cooked creation tomorrow! Win win!

If you’re really lucky you might get to know a local bakery or cafe or something that throws their food out at the end of the day. Strike up a conversation and develop a relationship with the staff to see if you can come across anything like this – this also leads into:

5 – TRAVELING SLOWLY ALLOWS YOU TO FIND THE CHEAPEST EATS

Travelling slowly truly does allow you to find the cheapest eats in your local area. When you stay in a place for a bit longer you’ll spend more time wandering around and discovering new food places.

In New Zealand i frequented a small bakery around the corner from my hostel that served up fish and chips for $6. Sure it wasn’t the greatest culinary experience ever but it was yummy and filled the empty tummy. There was also a sushi place that sold all their leftover sushi for half price at the end of the day.

Staying in one place more than five minutes and chatting with other people helps you discover where the cheap eats in your local area are hiding.

Have any other cool tips for eating and drinking on the cheap while traveling? Please share them with your fellows travelers in the comments below! 🙂

 

MEMORIES OF MUMBAI: THE GATEWAY OF INDIA

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After surviving one of the scariest moments i had in India (that’s another story for another time!) my friends and i had settled into the hotel room and decided to brave the crazy Mumbai streets in search of adventure!

I must confess i didn’t know a whole lot about Mumbai except for the fact that it was a massive city with about the same population as my entire country and that it was home to the Bollywood scene!

When searching for things to do and see i stumbled across the Gateway of India – a stunning arch monument set alongside the shore of the Arabian Sea.

The “Gateway of India” was built to commemorate the arrival of King George V (the King of the United Kingdom and Emperor of India from 1910 to 1936) as well as his wife Queen Mary. Construction took place over 13 years and the Arch was completed in 1924.

It truly was a magical sight to see and one of my highlights from exploring Mumbai!

BECOMING A HOBBIT! HOBBITON | NEW ZEALAND

This week I got to cross a major New Zealand Bucket List item off my to do list – exploring Hobbiton!

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Hobbiton is the remains of the movie set used in the Lord of the Rings & Hobbiton film series and is a major tourist draw card for New Zealand. Many years later the films still have a cult following and even those amongst us who aren’t hard-core fans still make the journey to visit this special place.

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My friends Kaitlin, Yuli & I had an early bus to catch from downtown Auckland at the main bus terminal to the town of Matamata – about two and a half hours south. The bus journey itself was cool as we got to drive through some incredible scenery and small towns on the way including a quick pit stop in the city of Hamilton.

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As soon as we arrived in Matamata we awaited our bus to take us out to the farm where the filming took place. We were greeting by our guide when we arrived and were quickly immersed into the world of Bag End. The scenery and backdrops that still stand today and were used in the film are absolutely iconic and recognisable by anyone – the unique quirky “hobbit houses” and the big tree by the lake being the main highlights.

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After many selfies and learning bits and pieces about the location we made our way to The Green Dragon Inn – the local bar where the hobbits would meet and where we enjoyed a drink by the fireplace before leaving this truly magical place.


I was scared that i might leave New Zealand without having visited Hobbiton so i’m so so grateful i got the oppurtunity to experience it! Whether you’re a fan of the movies or not i 1000% recommend checking this place out!

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You can check out the tours and pricing here at http://www.hobbitontours.com/

We booked our return day trip buses from Auckland through https://www.intercity.co.nz/

If you’ve been to Hobbiton reply down below with a selfie and tell me all about it or otherwise tell me if it’s on your New Zealand bucket list!