Sunday, 9 November 2014

Hobbiton and Hot Springs

We've had a fairly quiet week exploring the Bay of Plenty for the most part. Life has taken on a slower pace with plenty of time spent reading, knitting and watching the world go by. Each night we've parked the camper up on the sea front, relished the lack of effort needed to get the kettle on and then had a good peer at any sea birds in case we might spot something new hiding among the gulls. Our main successes this week on that front have been seeing NZ dotterels and a flock of lesser knots. 

NZ Dotterel

As well as making our way slowly along the coastline we nipped in land for a couple of days to tick a couple of things off our "must see" list, starting with a trip to Hobbiton. This marvel in set making is now a permanent feature of this stretch of farmland and takes a two hour guided tour to see. The level of detail on each of the 40 or so different hobbit holes was impressive. We were very pleased to find that the gardens outside each hole are real and loving cared for, each giving a different aspect of an English country garden - be it a small vegetable plot or a wonderfully scented lavender. Along with the variety of general hobbit holes, be they to hobbit or human scale, we also got to see the outside of the infamous Bag End complete with "no admittance" sign and a completely fake, and incredibly realistic, oak tree over the top. Our guide was disappointed to find that no one in our tour group wished to propose from the steps of bag end though. 

The only place "real" enough to go inside was the green dragon where they kindly handed out flagons of ale, cider or ginger beer and we happily found a spot by the fire to dry out as it was a rather showery day. All in all a good trip, and certainly gives food for thought as to the level of detail they went to for background shots that might not even have made it.

Steaming sulphurous mud - a Rotorua speciality...
The following day we went for a walk around Rotorua, home to many geothermal sites. We found the sulphurous smell that lingered in the air everywhere a little unsettling but it was fun to see the ground mysteriously steaming all over the place. The boiling mud along the lakeside and the yellow patches of earth, along with a variety of interesting buildings certainly made for an unusual walk. 

And with that we were back to the coast and more beaches. Did I mention we did a lot of knitting this week?


  1. Be still my heart.....there is no bigger LOTR fan than me. I am positively dying from envy.

  2. That sounds like a lovely week to me... and the colour of that sea!

  3. I simply love Hobbiton, how lovely to get to see it in real life. xxx

  4. julie.sisley@gmail.com12 November 2014 at 07:00

    We are trying to remember if you came with us to the Lord of the Rings exhibition at the Science Museum. The detail on the props was fantastic and at times incredibly beautiful. Nice that you are enjoying a slower pace of life.


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