Friday, 15 August 2014
We are going on a very big adventure. Awake quite early we pack the cases and have a breakfast of fruit salad and toast. We check out of the Arista and load up the car and are in our way to Hobbiton about an hours drive away.
The rain is lashing down as we get near to our destination, proper cats and dogs stuff. As we arrive at Hobbiton though the rain stops and the sun breaks through, a good omen. We purchase tickets, an eye-watering NZD75.00 each and are on the 11:00 tour so kill time in the Cafe with a drink and a very nich cheese scone to share.
We are soon boarding the bus to the movie set and after a few minutes are there. On the set are about 40 different Hobbit holes of all shapes and sizes used for the filming, some are quite small and used in forced perspective shots while others admit a fully grown human. We pose for loads of photographs, especially outside Bag End and Samwises' house.
It was rather cold, but the bright sunshine makes it look idyllic.
The it is off to the rather muddy party field and party tree, before finushing off at the Green Dragon with a complimentary glass of ale for me and cider for Victoria. We share a mousetrap (cheese and ham on sour dough, sans ham for us), before boarding the coach back to base camp and a browse if the souvenir shop for a few trinkets.
As we left the Green Dragon it started raining again, looks like we were very lucky with our time-slot.
At about £75.00 for an hour and a halfs entertainment, it is very expensive for what it is, but I would not have missed it.
Back in the car we decide to hit the coast and drive over the fantastic winding pass over the highlands to Tauranga on Hwy29. We stop for a photo opportunity at Mount Maunganui but the wind is owling a gale. We get on Hwy2 back towards Auckland and the wind and rain is now coming in very strong.
There is some beautiful scenery along the route.
We stop at Paeroa for a taste of some L&P - world famous in New Zealand - and a light bite before resuming our journey. Not before it was my turn to stick my head through an amusing sign!
Arriving back at Auckland Airport we drop off the car at Apex and then check into the Novotel. We share a beer and a cocktail and a game of Carcassonne in the bar before retiring to the room for a light supper, more Carcassone and to polish off that bottle of red we purchased in Auckland on Saturday.
Setting the alarm for 05:30 we crash out. Off to Tokyo tomorrow.