Banda Neira

Banda Neira is one of several volcanic islands that form the Banda Archipelago. The term archipelago includes island chains or they can be clusters of islands set in a sea or other designated and named body of ocean water. Located in a cluster of islands set in the Banda Sea, south of Maluku, the area is central to a larger geographic region known as Indonesia, which consists of over 17,000 islands.

The Bandanese, a tribal people, slowly advanced in numbers by staying mostly hidden from the outside world, except for contact with other tribes on neighboring islands outside of their archipelago. For 8,000 years or more, the Bandanese subsisted on the bounty of the sea, on natural edible vegetation, and they began to grow crops. Somewhere in their history, they encountered other tribes that had tools or utensils that they had not crafted themselves. Rather, they had traded for those things by sharing something on their island with outside traders. That something, mostly was some form of spice.

It is common for an isolated land to produce flora and fauna that are unique in all the world. On the Banda islands, a spice known as nutmeg was unique. The Bandanese, ever distrustful of outsiders, likely accepted help from neighboring tribes to get their nutmeg to a larger market (Japan, China, and later to Arab traders, who introduced their nutmeg to European customers) via the larger island of Maluku, north of the Banda Archipelago.

For the pots and pans, tools, and forged weapons that they got for their nutmeg, their traded good fortune eventually got a visit from powerful European nation trading companies, the fabled East India Companies. The Portuguese were first, then, the Dutch, and finally, the British. During these times, the Bandanese fought the Europeans and lost. By disease, combat, murder, and slavery, the tribal population dwindled, but it did not extinguish.

Whereas a strong market for spices drove national interest, heightened trade, and immoral behavior toward third world people in the 15th century, what about today? Keep an eye and ear open on what your country is doing to carve out a monopoly or a controlling interest in rare earth metals (for computer chips) and lithium (for batteries in electric vehicles).

One of God’s Ten Commandments given to the Hebrews on stone tablets was, “Do not covet – (anything that belongs to your neighbor).” Covet means to yearn to possess, to make yours what was his or hers. But, cooperative trading is OK, unless you cheat the owner or take advantage of his or her limited knowledge of the value of their trade good in your world.

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Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

InterCity Hobbiton and Waitomo Day Tour

Two of New Zealand’s most popular attractions can be found in the Central North Island: the Hobbiton Movie Set and the amazing Waitomo Caves. Now you can see both of them in one day on one great value InterCity day tour from Auckland!

Sit back and enjoy the lush rural scenery as you head south from Auckland central to a magical Middle-earth location: the private farm outside Matamata which has become famous worldwide as the filming location for Hobbiton in Sir Peter Jackson’s award-winning Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie trilogies.

Take a guided tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set and learn about how this breathtaking film set was created in impressive detail. You’ll see Hobbit Holes (including Bilbo’s house at Bag End), the Party Tree, the Green Dragon Inn, and hear behind-the-scenes secrets from filming.

After your tour, sit down to lunch at the Green Dragon Inn (included in your tour) and enjoy a feast worthy of Bilbo’s birthday party!

Then cross the countryside to the township of Waitomo and head underground into a world of stalactites, stalagmites and twinkling lights: the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.

During your 45-minute tour of this natural wonder, you’ll travel through underground tunnels and see vast caverns made from incredible limestone formations. Learn about how the caves were created over millions of years, and experience the magic of an underground boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto – gliding silently through the darkness while glowworms twinkle overhead.

After your Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves day tour, return to Auckland or continue to Rotorua.

Availability: If the Waitomo Caves tour cannot operate, a free upgrade to the Ruakuri Cave will be provided subject to availability. If the Ruakuri upgrade is provided, the Waitomo Caves portion is non refundable.

Tour options

Choose from the following departure and return options:

Auckland return, departing at 8am & returning at 7pm. Available year-round (ICAWHA1)Auckland to Rotorua, departing at 8am & arriving at 6pm. Available year-round (ICAHWR)

Just want to visit Hobbiton? Book our InterCity Hobbiton day tour departing from Auckland, Hamilton or Rotorua from just $114* per person!

Tour includesFull day bus tour from Auckland to Hobbiton and WaitomoEntrance to Hobbiton Movie Set and guided tourLunch at the Green Dragon InnEntrance to Waitomo Glowworm Caves and guided tourFree onboard WiFiReturn or onward travel to Auckland or Rotorua

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