Things to Do at WARR 2024!

Things to do in Auckland

Wikipedia says the following about Auckland:

Auckland (/ˈɔːklənd/ AWK-lənd;[6] MāoriTāmaki Makaurau) is a large metropolitan city in the North Island of New Zealand. It has an urban population of about 1,478,800 (June 2023).[4] It is located in the greater Auckland Region, the area governed by Auckland Council, which includes outlying rural areas and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf, and which has a total population of 1,739,300 as of June 2023.[4] It is the most populous city of New Zealand and the fifth largest city in Oceania. While Europeans continue to make up the plurality of Auckland's population, the city became multicultural and cosmopolitan in the late-20th century, with Asians accounting for 31% of the city's population in 2018.[7] Auckland has the fourth largest foreign-born population in the world, with 39% of its residents born overseas.[8] With its large population of Pasifika New Zealanders, the city is also home to the biggest ethnic Polynesian population in the world.[9] The Māori-language name for Auckland is Tāmaki Makaurau, meaning "Tāmaki desired by many", in reference to the desirability of its natural resources and geography.[10]


For ideas of things to do in Auckland, across the North Island or in New Zealand as a whole visit one of the tourist information sites such as:

Welcome to New Zealand | Official site for Tourism New Zealand (

Things to do on North Island

Hobbiton and all things Lord of the Rings


Everyone in their 40s to 60s will remember Peter Jackson's films of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings including the Misty Mountains. The trilogy was mainly filmed on New Zealand. "The Shire", where Bilbo, Frodo and the other hobbits lived, was a filmset set up at a sheep farm to the east of Hamilton. When the follow-up film series of The Hobbit was produced the Hobbiton filmset was made into a permanent set and since the filming has been open to the public for tours. As well as being able to view the outside of the Hobbit "Holes" you can have a drink at the Green Dragon Inn and these days see inside one of the Hobbit Holes. Hobbiton is well worth a visit and can be easily done with a coach tour from Auckland. Hobbiton™ Movie Set Tours (

Other film set locations can be visited across New Zealand - though you may need to use your imagination to fill in for the CGI backgrounds and the actors in their elaborate costumes. See: 

The Lord of the Rings filming locations [100% Pure New Zealand (]

To find out more about the CGI and those elaborate costumes you need to attend a tour of the Wētā special effects studio in Wellington. The tours here are focused on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Wētā also have a studio in Auckland with tours focused on the range of films Wētā have been involved in since the Lord of the Rings days. Home | Wētā Workshop (


Roderick Hoffman [BA Team]

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a 19km / 12mile hike across the volcanic landscape in the middle of the North Island. There is about 1,000m of climb involved - though nothing too challenging or dangerous provided the weather is favourable. It can be organised for small groups. You can do it on your own but be aware that the start and finish are in completely different areas so you'll need to manage transportation to and from each - there are shuttles to and from National Park. And the scenery…well, the photographs speak louder than I could.

I walked it with my sister on my previous visit to New Zealand. We stayed in National Park. The bus took us to the start of the trail at Mangatepopo Car Park at the end of Mangatepopo Road. The path leads you up between Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro skirting Red Crater and Blue Lake before descending down to a car park at the end of Ketetahi Road. There are some facilities along the way but on the whole these are best described as Spartan. The Crossing is an achievement to look back on - though one that anyone who is fit enough to run 10k should be able to manage. This is a very popular walk and advance reservation may be required. More detail see Walk the Tongariro Crossing | 100% Pure New Zealand (

Roderick Hoffman [BA Team]

Take in a New Zealand parkrun or two

parkrun, the free Saturday morning 5k community runs, operate across the whole of New Zealand.  It is the same event as operates in the UK, Australia, USA, Japan and another 15 countries around the world. You only need to register once to own a barcode that can be printed off or displayed on your phone and is valid the world over.  Other than in the far south the start time is always 8am and you only need to turn up at 7:45 for the briefing to run the parkrun (and you can walk it, if you prefer). It is a community event and you are encouraged  to mix with the locals who'll be interested in who you are and what you think of their parkrun. Most parkruns end up in the local café with a late breakfast.

There are about 50 parkruns in New Zealand, 15 on the south island, the rest on the north including four within 5km of the WARR race headquarters in Auckland! There will be an organised trip to Western Springs parkrun for a WARR warm-up run on Saturday 5th October but one of the others in the city may be more convenient for where you are staying. And if you are in New Zealand for a longer visit then check out the nearest parkruns to where you'll be on the

Saturday before or the Saturday after. The photographs shows Cornwall Park parkrun, in the south of Auckland, which I ran on my previous trip to New Zealand, and you might recognise either myself or our WARR host this year, David Gall. On that trip I also ran Hamilton Lake parkrun in Hamilton but it was such a wet morning my photographs are not worth showing!

To register go to parkrun | home , select the country you are most likely to do parkrun in (for instance New Zealand if your home country hasn't yet caught the bug) and then click on the "Register here" button. The "Events" button brings up a map showing all of the 5k events and you can click on any event to bring up its details and its own course pages. Start times vary by country and region but are always 8am on Saturday across New Zealand other than in the very south in their winter. Most parkruns are run in public parks hence if you are nearby to one midweek you can do what they call a "Freedom Run" by checking the map of the course from the website and running the 5k course on your own.

Roderick Hoffman

more to be added...[and contributions welcomed]

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