Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning to dance in the rain.
Onto to Matamata through Auckland, which sits directly across the north island so one must go through Auckland to get south. But minimal problem except congestion. Met Zak and Natasha at camper van park at appointed time, then soaking in pools.
All relaxed we headed to hobbiton, the movie set where “lord of the rings” the shire parts were filmed. They destroyed it after filming but owners of land rebuilt partly as a tourist site then when the hobbit trilogy was made rebuilt and kept. We we a bit concerned would be touristy and weird and that was reinforced when we boarded a tour bus thinking we would just drive around and look , but arrived a parking area and unloaded.
We then proceeded to walk through the shire. Awesome. We learned how filming was done with 3 feet tall hobbits and nearly 7 feet tall gandolf (perspective and distance). The tree above bag end where bimbo and Frodo live is a fake metal, styrofoam and 200,000 leaves hand painted in Taiwan and repainted here when wrong shade of green did not meet peter Jackson standards.
After the tour met at the green dragon tavern and beer was distributed as part of tour. Then back on bus and return to car park. Wondrous!
back to camperpark and celebrate the solstice
then the 75 kilometer to Rotorua, where there is a thermal area fault line across the country. 5% of the New Zealand Power comes from thermal and I suspect from this area.
Initial reaction of rotarura is a very nice location, very much a tourist town, and very capable of extracting money from tourists. Everything was a tour or experience. Zip line, hangglide, guided walks, Mauro cultural exhibits. We just want to hike about.
Jeanne read in a lonely planets the museum was good but discovered the building built in 1916 was condemned 2 years ago after an earthquake.
But there is a redwood forest which we managed to find although gps took us to the wrong side of forest. You can pay $30 to take an elevated boardwalk, but we chose to just walk the numerous trails. Great place and supposedly some of the best mountain biking.