The Mythical Islands of New Zealand.

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New Zealand’s first sheep were set ashore by Captain James Cook in 1773.
At their peak in 1982, there were twenty-two sheep for every person in New Zealand.
Nowadays, the numbers have fallen by two thirds and are now estimated at just over seven sheep per person.
Photograph: Nick Easton/BBC

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See more images via New Zealand: Earth’s Mythical Islands – in pictures | Environment | The Guardian

Yellow TreeHouse Restaurant, north of Auckland.

1065305043These days, a tree house design is much more than just a playhouse in the backyard.
We’ve seen creative concepts from HemLoft, an egg-shaped tree house, to TreeHouse Point, a charming bed and breakfast nestled in the trees.
Another incredibly unique construction is this Yellow Treehouse Restaurant, developed by New Zealand based Pacific Environment Architects in collaboration with Yellow Pages.
Located north of Auckland, the unique concept is an eighteen seat cafe suspended around a large redwood tree and approximately 130 feet above the ground.
The entire structure spans more than 30 feet wide and almost 40 feet high, with kitchen and bathrooms located on the ground below.
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Timber trusses form the main structure, the curved fins are glue-laminated pine, and redwood milled from the site are used in the walkway balustrading.
Plantation poplar slats wrap around the tree and create interesting textured spaces that allow natural light to radiate throughout the interior.
The circular concept is also designed to be weather resistant, with acrylic sheeting fixed to the roof and vertical roll-down blinds on the interior.
Visitors are welcome to come and venture high up in the trees to enjoy a delicious meal.
via Stunning Tree House Restaurant Suspended 130-Feet Above Ground – My Modern Metropolis.

Descending into the “Lost World” Cave, North Island.

Image Credt: Photograph by © Ben Babusis. All rights reserved.
Descent into the Lost World
A group of rappellers descends into one of the most spectacular limestone caves on the North Island of New Zealand called the Lost World.
“Rappeller” – a person who descends down a nearly vertical face by using a doubled rope that is wrapped around the body and attached to some high point. Source: The Free Dictionary.
Source: Descent Into the Lost World | Smithsonian Photo Contest | Smithsonian

The Night Skies of Winter.

lighthouse2-58013ae2a525f__880by Jake Scott-
We are Jake and Jo – astrophotographers based in Queenstown, New Zealand who spent Winter photographing the night sky in some of New Zealand’s most beautiful locations.
We are passionate about shooting the stars and often stay out till dawn in freezing temperatures to make the most of a clear night.

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On our adventures we have managed to capture meteors, the Aurora Australis, zodiacal light, air glow, satellites, shooting stars and of course the milky way.

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We are constantly trying to find new locations and planning our next adventure – we never thought that we could become obsessed with chasing the stars!
More info: Facebook
See more images via We Spent Winter In New Zealand Photographing The Incredible Night Sky | Bored Panda

Milford Sound, South Island.

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Milford Sound, perhaps New Zealand’s most famous scenic location, was long overlooked by early sailors and explorers, who didn’t realise the narrow entrance concealed an enormous and beautiful interior.
It wasn’t discovered by Europeans until 1812.
Named the eighth ‘wonder of the world’, its actually one of the wettest places on Earth, with rainfall creating cascades of waterfalls, some reaching a 1,000m in length.
Photograph by: Tom Walker/BBC
Source: New Zealand: Earth’s Mythical Islands – in pictures | Environment | The Guardian

Hobbiton.

BAhbCVsHOgZmSSJIdXBsb2Fkcy9wbGFjZV9pbWFnZXMvY2Q2ZDllMDhlMzYxODk4YjliXzgyODI3ODYzOTZfODI1ODQyY2JiZF9iLmpwZwY6BkVUWwg6BnA6CnRodW1iSSIKOTgweD4GOwZUWwc7BzoKc3RyaXBbCTsHOgxjb252ZXJ0SSIQLXF1YWxpdHkgOTEGOwZUMAEven before it was retrofitted with several Hobbit Holes to play the part of Hobbiton in Peter Jackson’s adaptations of the classic Tolkien book series, this sheep farm seemed like a perfect stand-in for the famous fictional “Shire,” home of hobbits everywhere.
Indeed, its natural likeness is undoubtedly the reason Jackson and his producers chose the location – with the only other qualification being that it’s located in New Zealand, unofficial real-life location of Tolkien’s Middle Earth.
The farm is still an active sheep farm, but visitors can tour the area used for the set.
Most of the Hobbit Holes are fenced off and you can’t enter them, but one is specifically designed for visitors to enter and explore. Tour guides are employed to explain where in the movies each area appears – Bag End is a highlight, along with The Green Dragon, a whimsical old-world pub.
In fact, The Green Dragon is now open for business and at the end of the tour you can have a drink there.
The set is very detailed and the hobbit holes are purposely made to look as though they have been there for years, complete with details like fake moss and many other small touches.
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The tree at Bag End is a fake tree intended to preserve the area’s appearance as it was in the film, even though the one featured in The Lord of the Rings was real.
The film version was actually cut down and placed there for the movie.
It died by the time they decided to film The Hobbit, so a fake tree with hand-painted leaves sits in its place, an exact replica of the original.
The gorgeous location makes it easy to see why this was chosen for The Shire.

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The farm is in the middle of the countryside, still seemingly hidden from the modern world.
A GPS is helpful in locating it, since there aren’t really any signs directing you where to go.
via Hobbiton | Atlas Obscura.