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.
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.