Tag: Matamata

The best day of the journey: Another visit to Hobbiton

It’s misty this morning and usually that means it’ll be a beautiful day. I’m starting the day hopefully and after a quick shower I have breakfast at the picnic table outside. It does start a bit raining though and the sky looks pretty dark. I don’t mind it too much since there is still a long day ahead and I hope the sun will break through during the day.

I drive to the town and find a coffee place with Wi-Fi. Since I can’t go back to the campsite at the farm until 4pm, I think I’ll hang out in town until then. I update the blog and do some reading. I’m also spending some time thinking about what to do with the last days here. There is not much left here that I want to do, so it’s basically waiting until it’s Thursday and I can fly back home. There is one nature area not too far from Auckland where I still want to go and I probably need half a day to pack all my stuff, clean the car and return it. Other than that I have no plans.

While I’m sitting in the coffee place it starts to rain harder and I just hope the weather will get better later today. It’ll be great to visit Hobbiton again anyway, but I think it’s better without rain. The coffee place where I’m at is called Workmans Cafe and I decide to give some honor to the name and do a bit of work myself. I work for a couple of hours and time goes by pretty quickly. Around three o’clock I go outside again, do some groceries and go back to my car. I’m excited for the evening and drive back to the campsite at the farm.

I still have plenty of time, but can’t wait any longer and walk to Shires Rest, the pickup place for the touring bus to the Hobbiton movie set. It’s actually a bit further than I thought, but it’s a nice walk through green hills filled with many sheep. I’m very excited and arrive an hour too early. I get my ticket and sit down at a chair in The Shires Rest and read a book. When it’s about time for departure, I walk to the place where the touring bus picks us up. I’m starting to get hungry and that’s good, because the evening tour includes a big all-you-can-eat dinner.

Cloudy in the morning
Drinking coffee and doing a bit of work
Walking to Hobbiton and doing some sightseeing 3
Matamata i-site
Walking to Hobbiton and doing some sightseeing
Walking to Hobbiton and doing some sightseeing 4
Back in Hobbiton Matamata
Walking to Hobbiton and doing some sightseeing 2
Walking to Hobbiton and doing some sightseeing 5
Walking to Hobbiton and doing some sightseeing 6
Welcome to Hobbiton
The sun breaks through as we enter the Shire
Arrived at Hobbiton
Welcome to Hobbiton 2
The sun breaks through as we enter the Shire 2
First view of the Shire from the bus
Our tourguides
First Hobbit house as we enter the Shire

We get in the touring bus to the film set and our bus driver is a funny guy called Mike. He is our tour guide for tonight and makes a lot of jokes while telling everything about Hobbiton. Even though I’ve been here before, I hear many new things. When we arrive at the film set, the sun breaks through the clouds and it’s nice weather. I’m thankful and happy. We are with a group of about 40 people. Last time I was here during the day, there were many tours and many people everywhere, this time we have the whole movie set for our group, much better. We get a tour via the many Hobbit houses and just like last time we stop for a drink in the Green Dragon café. But where that was the end last time, now this is the place where the main part of the evening starts. We have to wait behind a curtain and when the curtain opens, a marvelous dining room is presented to us. Tables overflowing with all kinds of food. There is folk music playing and the fireplace is on and everyone finds a place at one of the tables. I’ve just met a couple of nice guys from England and join them on one of the large tables. There is chicken and lamb and beef, potatoes, mushrooms, vegetables and much more. I think I’ve never seen so much food on a table as tonight. Everyone is laughing and enjoying dinner. This moment is almost unreal and feels like a dream. We have a great time together and eat until we’re full. And then we have cheesecakes and sweet pies for dessert. It’s an amazing evening. After dinner we go outside again and walk once more through the Shire. The hobbit houses are beautifully lit in the dark. We walk to the party field where we all dance together for a moment before we walk back to the bus. As one of the English guys, who were here before during a day tour as well, states it perfectly: “The first time we saw the shire, the second time we experienced it.” I look back one more time, knowing that I will miss this wonderful place a lot.

We go back to our starting point and say goodbye. Mike is so friendly to give me and some other people a lift back to the campsite. I’m back in my car writing this all down and am thankful for the best night of my New Zealand adventure. There is no place like Hobbiton. It was already the highlight of my trip six weeks ago, but this night tops it by far. If you ever go to New Zealand, I highly recommend you to visit Hobbiton. A trip to New Zealand is not complete if you haven’t been here.

First Hobbit house as we enter the Shire 2
A Hobbit house 3
The path where Bilbo walked
A Hobbit house
A Hobbit house 2
the Shire
Me in front of a Hobbit house
More Hobbit houses
Me inside a Hobbit house
Me at the end of my own adventure
Me at Bags End 2
The Party Field
Our tourguide Mike in front of Bags End
Bags End
View of the Shire from one of the hills
Me at Bags End
View of the Shire from Bags End
View of the Shire from one of the hills 2
The Party Tree
Bridge to the Green Dragon
Dinner in Hobbiton 2
Roadsign to the Green Dragon
Bridge to the Green Dragon 2
Tables overflowing with food at the Green Dragon
The Green Dragon
Dinner in Hobbiton
Tables overflowing with food at the Green Dragon 2
Tables overflowing with food at the Green Dragon 3
Drinking a Pale inside the Green Dragon
Fireplace inside the Green Dragon
I start with chicken
And lamb - I have never eaten so much meat in one meal
Making new friends in Hobbiton
Me at dinner in the Green Dragon
Dessert in Hobbiton
Hobbiton at night
If I had more time, I would sit down here with a good book
A Hobbit house at night 3
Time for some dancing in the party field
A Hobbit house at night
Me in front of a Hobbit house at night
The Hobbit houses at night
A Hobbit house at night 2
Me in front of a Hobbit house at night 2
Last view of the Shire

Back to the green hills of Matamata

It’s Saturday morning and I decide to sleep in (read: I stay in bed until 8.30am). Then I take a shower and go to the main lodge and have breakfast there. Already some people are hanging out here and I talk with some of them. After breakfast I grab my laptop and do a bit of work. It’s nice to finally have a place with Wi-fi again. On the other end of the table is a girl working on a website as well and I’m happy to help her out with some code. The fact that I’m actually looking forward to working and coding back home, reconfirms me that I have the right job and that I love what I’m doing for work. Outside some people are playing guitar and there is a nice relaxed vibe here.

Walking through the jungle 2
Peopl playing guitar at the balcony
Campsite at a farm near Matamata
Walking through the jungle
Driving behind a Mini Cooper
Watching an old movie in my car

When I checked in at this lodge in the jungle yesterday, they told me that I could later decide if I want to stay longer, but when I walk to the reception this afternoon, they tell me that they already rented out my spot to someone else. I find that quite unfriendly, but accept the fact that I have to find another place again today. I think after my experience with the other hostel and now this one that I’m done with Raglan. It was good for my first surfing experience and meeting some great people, but I’m happy to go somewhere else.

I drive back to the green hills of Matamata, because I have one last activity planned tomorrow. I go to Hobbiton for the second time, this time in the evening. It costs quite a lot, but I love this place so much that I didn’t want to leave New Zealand without seeing it another time. I’ve found a campsite at a farm just 2,5 kilometers from Hobbiton, so that’s perfect. A nice old lady welcomes me and shows me where to park. Except for the green hills, there is not much here and I spend the rest of the afternoon reading a book and watching a movie. Fortunately I already had a warm meal at lunch time (leftover Spaghetti of the night before), so I don’t have to cook tonight. I just make myself a few sandwiches for dinner and enjoy some popcorn with the movie. Because this is a farm, they don’t allow campers to stay here during the day when they are working, so I think I’ll go to the town Matamata tomorrow morning and then come back at the farm at the end of the afternoon. From here I can easily walk to Hobbiton.

In the evening more cars arrive at the farm. I meet a couple from the Netherlands and from Australia. Most people here in the North just start their journey, so I’m happy to share some travel tips with them. Places to go and tips to make traveling cheaper, like the discount on the Bluebridge ferry they have available online now and the fuel discount cards for Mobile and BP. Some people ask me if I’m sad to leave the country, but I’m actually looking forward to go home and see my family and friends again. It’s been a great adventure, but I’m happy to go back to normal life.

Visiting Hobbiton

I wake up early as usual and have a breakfast next to the river where I stayed this night. It’s nice and peaceful here, though I can’t fully enjoy it, because I’ve got work on my mind. I decide to first make a stop at a coffee place to work for a couple of hours, before I continue my trip. I arrive just before eight at the coffee place, order a cappuccino and work til about ten. Then I decide it’s been enough for today, because it’s a bright day with sunshine and it feels like waisting it if I would work the whole day. The destination of today is Hobbiton Movie Set where they recorded part of the Lord of the Rings movies.

The bus to the Hobbiton Movie Set
The Hobbit Garden
Me in front of a Hobbit House
The Start of the Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
Hobbit House
The Shire
The first Hobbit house
Hobbit House 2
The Shire 2

My expectations of the Hobbiton Movie Set were high, but are completely exceeded. It’s such a wonderful place, absolutely beautiful. In the middle of many green hills with thousands of sheep there is a small valley known from the movies. I feel like a giant here, because the hobbit houses are really small. It’s a perfect day to visit the movie set. The sky is blue and the sun is shining bright. The tour around the the movie set takes about 45 minutes and ends with a drink in the Green Dragon bar. I set down at the fire place and enjoy a nice pale ale beer. I’m so happy I went to visit this place, it’s absolutely one of the highlights of this trip.

Bag End
Me at Bag End 2
The Shire 3
Met at Beg End
Me in front of a Hobbit House 2
The Shire 4
Bag End 2
Hobbit House 3
The Green Dragon

I’ve been in New Zealand for about a week now, but it’s only now that I finally realize that I’m here. The Hobbiton Movie Set was one of the things high on the list to visit and although there is much more to see here on the North Island, after today I feel like it’s getting time to travel in the direction of the South Island. I decide to do another long drive to Napier, to visit my New Zealand friend Chelsea.

Fireplace at the Green Dragon
Me at Green Dragon
Funny people at the Green Dragon
Me in front of the Green Dragon
Having a drink at the Green Dragon
The Shire 5

Just before six o’clock I arrive at Napier. I drive to a camping place at the beach. There is a big fire at the beach with a group of children around it. I join them for a while and they let me eat something I never had before, lamb tales. It’s a strange taste and I’m not sure that I like it, but I think it’s good to try new things. After a while the group leaves and I stay alone at the fire at the beach. There are many stars in the sky and I enjoy the moment. Then Chelsea and her friend Jill come to pick me up and we drive to a local bar to have some drinks. We meet with some more friends of them and are catching up a bit. It’s nice to see each other again at the other side of the world. Tonight I can stay at their place which is also nice to stay in a house again after a couple of nights sleeping in the camper.

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