Today was all about Middle-earth and a visit to Hobbiton which is just outside of Matamata. We woke early, well at least I did, as it was going to be an exciting day. Our heater was on early as it was a little crisp at around 8 degrees, and soon after breakfast we were off towards Matamata and Hobbiton. We had one very important task to do shortly after leaving the camper park and that was get the Angry Birds blow-up frisbee off the camper van roof. The only thing to do was drive as fast as we could until the wind got hold of it, all whilst looking in both mirrors and out the windows, waiting for it to fly off. Sure enough, at about 65km\h it let go and we executed an emergency stop and reversed (safely) to pick it up off the road. Needless to say the frisbee is now safe in our possession ready for another afternoon of fun. PS – Thanks Novotel Auckland Airport for the freebie frisbee!

After a quick coffee in Matamata (and a really good one at that) it was time to head to Hobbiton. After one small wrong turn, it wasn’t long before we saw the Shire’s Rest and what looked very much like The Shire itself. Unfortunately, it was sprinkling rain as we drove there and looked like our good run of weather had come to an end. After getting our tickets we took a quick look in the shop before jumping on the bus which takes you to Hobbiton. It was about now that Julie realised she hadn’t really dressed for the occasion and was complaining about frozen feet due to her thin ankle sized gym socks.

Once our tour started and about 3 minutes into it, as we walked past the first Hobbit holes, the clouds parted, the sun came out and it looked like it was going to be a glorious day. We did the 2 hour walk past many of the Shire sets from both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, as well as a visit to the Green Dragon Inn where we sampled a beer each (Harrison’s being ginger and non-alcoholic). After the tour was over we headed back to the shop where Harrison got a ring (yes, that ring) and a copy of the Hobbit book which he’s now reading.

From Hobbiton it was a quick 50-minute drive (super long if you ask Harrison) to Rotorua where we are staying tonight so we can visit the gondola and luge ride tomorrow. But before getting to the park we had a pit stop to make. Our batteries in the camper van haven’t been charging when on 240v so Apollo organised for an auto electrician in Rotorua to look into the problem. Once in Rotorua the Auto Electrician called Mike spent about 10 minutes looking at the problem, found the issue, but had to get a special lead to plug the camper into 240v to check what he thought the problem was. No worries, one of his workers drove home to get a lead and arrived back in about 15 minutes. After plugging it in the problem had been solved. Thanks Mike (and the rest of the staff)!

We’re now at the Top 10 Rotorua Park and Harrison has already sampled the mineral springs. He’s not too fussed on the smell so the swim lasted about 3 minutes before he retired to the showers for a scrub.

If you’re not into photos then you’re going to be disappointed as I took about 100, but the ones here are a selection of the best taken on the day. Oh, and as we drove away from Hobbiton, the clouds closed over and the rain started to fall. (Jason)


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