February 9 at 10:19 PM · Matamata, New Zealand ·
We returned to Middle Earth today! We crossed the Kaimai Ranges and headed across the Waikato lowlands to the Hobbiton set! For Lord of the Rings it was only built from foam and other temporary materials like other movie sets, but for the Hobbit movies, they rebuilt Hobbiton with permanent materials so it would last for tours. Good planning since it was packed full of people today! We enjoyed strolling around the homes of the hobbits, including posh Bag End, where Bilbo & Frodo Baggins lived. Some were tiny size so Gandalf would seem appropriately large, and others were large enough for humans to seem hobbit-sized. All gardens were so beautifully tended that even plant-hater Glen said he could see why farm life seems so idyllic...but then he remembered seeing me work so hard in my yard. 😉 We had beautiful fluffy clouds among blue skies making gorgeous photos, but we were baking in the sunshine, so we were glad for a glass of cider and some snacks at the Green Dragon tavern across the bridge, then a bit of shopping in the nicely air-conditioned gift shop! I found all the blue-green hobbit doors of course. ;)
in Tauranga, New Zealand.
February 10 at 9:54 AM ·
As we sailed away from Tauranga with big waves coming at us past an old volcano, we cooled down in our room while repacking our luggage for leaving the ship bright & early, then enjoyed our last dinner together while the ship rocked even more than any of the bad weather earlier in the trip...ugh! At least we had enough decent photos to buy a 5-pack, including our fancy group photo! Thanks to John, Gail, Ruth & George for a fun cruise!