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  • Day39

    Hobbiton

    August 17, 2015 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    We were up and off early about 8.15 as it was an hour or so drive to Hobbiton and we arrived about 9.25. We exchanged our tickets and had a quick drink in the cafe then it was time to board the bus that took us from the parking/cafe/shop area across the farm to the Hobbiton set.

    The bus drive took about 10 minutes and the scenery was good - rolling green hills that almost looked unreal, like a carpet across the land. The farm still had some Aberdeen Angus cattle and 15,000 sheep, very much a working farm. The weather was brilliant, warm and sunny without a cloud in the sky.

    We got off the bus (which was pretty much full, must have been 30 or so people on our tour) and met our guide Kelsey. She took us around the village and explained some things to us. The tree above Bilbo's Bag Ebd dwelling was the only artificial one it was pretty obvious at this time of year as the leaves just looked too green. We took some pictures outside the Hobbit holes before movin up the hill. The richer the Hobbit the higher up the hill they lived - Bilbo was at the top. We had a photo in one of the doorways, one of the only doors that actually opened. It was explained that the holes are different sizes to allow actors to look bigger or smaller when next to them, so hobbits and dwarves would be filmed next to big doors to look small with Gandalf tc filmed next to small doors to look big.

    This farm had been chosen from a list of 12 as it had a perfect party tree for Bilbo's birthday and a lake next to it which is what the screenwriters had envisaged.

    We reached Bilbo's hole at the top, then wended our way back down towards the party tree, past various different holes of florist, cheesemaker, carpenter etc hobbits, heading for the Green Dragon pub. Here we got a cup of beer, cider or ginger beer, all brewed specially for Hobbiton. The English Stout I had was bitter like Guinness but fizzier - very pleasant. Ed of course was hungry so had a yummy raspberry and chocolate muffin which was warm and soft in the middle.

    Then back to the bus and to our starting point. The whole tour had taken a couple of hours and was enjoyed by all of us. In the shop we bought some model Hobbit holes and Ed was inspired to buy the book and wants to read it.

    Our original itinerary had been to camp at Karangahake Gorge, but the campsite had been in touch to say they were too waterlogged, so we changed plans and decided to head straight to Hot Water Beach and have 2 nights there instead of 1. This was a 2.5 to 3 hour drive and so we set off after some lunch in the Hobbit cafe.

    The drive was uneventful - we pulled off about an hour from Hot water Beach to Pauanui, but the whole place seemed deserted, no cafes open, must be very much a summer resort so we pressed on. The scenery was very green now and reminded me of the islands you see off Thailand, covered in green vegetation. The road was also windy and we ended up all feeling a little queasy.

    We found the campsite OK and got checked in. We moved sites as the original allocation was very wet and was tough to get the camper into without the wheels skidding. The lady on reception was very helpful and contacted the glass bottom boat people, who advised checking back in the morning - they had run this afternoon but the choppy water had reduced visibility somewhat. The kids had a ride on the go cart bikes and a play in the playground.

    we were low on fuel so headed to Haihei to get some then intended to get the ferry across to Whitianga. The petrol station at Haihei was shut (only 5.30) so we decided to drive to Whitianga, about 25 minutes around the bay, can see why the ferry (foot passengers only) is popular. We got fuel (still struggling to work the diesel cap) and had fish and chips at the recommended shop - Snapper Jacks, then headed back, taking it relatively slowly on the dark windy roads.
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