We bid farewell to John and Aynsley with a bottle of flora Chardonnay in hand and set off on our 4 hour drive to Auckland.
First stop on route...Whangarei Quarry Gardens. Basically botanical gardens in an old quarry. Pretty cool.
Crazy spiky things.
Just a little viewpoint on the way to next stop.
Puhoi, a little place recommended to us.
A pub? Why not?! Look how coool!!
There was a little hatch in the pub and they served food. We saw the sign "mussel fritters" so it had to be done.
Along with pool.
And here they are. Mussel fritters on bread...kinda weird but I wouldn't say no to another one.
We were staying in a place just outside of Auckland called Henderson.
Seen as me and jack already visited Auckland, as had Andy, and we had a very early start the next day...we chilled in our airbnb that night. And here are a few shots of the place. It was advertised as a home in a factory and it was exactly that...pretty cool.
Balcony overlooking lots of garages.
Look how cute.
Also a little side note...jack and his his uni friends ages ago found these awful films called ...so underground and so crap it's unreal. The python one changed its name to snakes 2 and you can still see the python name in the background of the DVD case. Anyway...the guy had the bloody dvds!! Crazy. We didn't watch them though, we chose lock stock instead!
I made tuna mayo and beans on jackets potatoes.
So, the next morning we had booked in to go to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves at 9am. Auckland was around 3 hours away so we got up early!
No photos allowed which was poo but it was good. We were slightly disappointed with the cost and duration but the caves themselves were pretty cool and the glowworms were awesome.
This is at the end of the trip we were taken through the last part of the cave on a boat.
Our next very touristy booking was...HOBBITON OH. MY. GOD. But we had a little time to kill so we saw Cambridge on the map and had to go.
Had our lunch in a park.
We also went to a cafe but no pictures for whatever reason.
I apologise in advance for the amount of pictures I've put on here. I tried to be picky but it didn't work.
This is the bit we see Gandalf and Frodo ride down on a horse and carriage in the first Lord of the Rings. It's also where Bilbo runs through on the first Hobbit film shouting "I'm going on an adventure!"
The veg garden is all real. They have a load of full time gardeners working to keep the place looking awesome.
Our guide man. A true Lord of the Rings boffin.
Hobbiton was obviously built for the first Lord of the Rings films but in the contract the owners of the land said they wanted everything removed when the films were completed. So the whole set was built with materials that were only meant to be temporary. The set was mostly deconstructed after filming apart from just these few original hobbit holes.
The family who owned the land started conducting tours of the remaining hobbit holes after the massive success of the first film. They reconstructed Hobbiton in the same place for the filming of The Hobbit and this time they used permanent materials!
In the distance is the Green Dragon Inn.
Bilbo Baggins house.
The tree above Bilbos house is fake. The book specifically describes his house is under a massive oak tree and so they put one there. I think they said it took around 9 months and thousands of handmade leaves being hand stuck on to complete it.
Not the best picture, but this is the place where Bilbos 111th birthday party was. We were told that that party took 3 consecutive nights to film and the director didn't want the actors to act, he wanted them to actually party. So he got a crap load of sweets, sugar and pop for the kids to have so they would go mental and he had a beer brewed specifically for the party so all the adults drank. He didn't tell them that the beer was only 1% alcohol so that they would party, drink, feel like they were drunk but not have the side affects of getting toooo drunk.
This is Sams house. We were told a story about the end scene of The Return of the King where Sam walks up the street to his house and his kid runs out for a hug. That was never meant to be in the film. His actual wife and kid came out to NZ to visit him on set and the director thought it would be a grand idea to have his daughter run up to him for the final scene.
The Green Dragon Inn.
Jack looking freaky.
As part of our ticket we got a drink in the Inn. A specific beer was brewed just for a Hobbiton and it's the only place it's sold so we of course got one each. It wasn't the 1% beer!
We made it to Rotorua where we stayed for the evening.
Steak, vegetable rice and pak choy for dinner.
A few snaps from our Airbnb.
Saying goodbye to our Airbnb the next morning.