Posts Tagged With: New Zealand

Majestic Milford Sounds

 

During the 14 days cruise we called into 10 ports including Sydney, the starting point, and Auckland the disembark port. So almost every day we had a different place to explore.

From Sydney and along the coast of Australia it was a full day sailing and then a stop at Melbourne. Then another full day sailing to Hobart, before leaving Australia behind and taking 2 days sailing across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand. So 4 full days at sea gave us time to explore all the Oosterdam had to offer on board.

Milford Sounds was to be our first sight of New Zealand, or as the Māori name it, Aotearoa, “land of the long white cloud”. These large liners could not go into the Sounds unless the weather was calm. Two of our friends had been on recent cruises that had missed the spectacular cruise through this World Heritage area due to wild weather.

But we were lucky…

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At 7am we rushed out to the Promenade Deck to see the misty, majestic cliffs of Milford Sounds slowly floating by.

We had been here before, but on a smaller boat. It was raining that day and the waterfalls were cascading down the sheer rock face. A very different experience to today. (Go here to see it)

“Milford Sounds has been judged the world’s top travel destination in an international survey (the 2008 Travelers’ Choice Destinations Awards by TripAdvisor)[1][2] and is acclaimed as New Zealand’s most famous tourist destination.[3] Rudyard Kipling had previously called it the eighth Wonder of the World.[4]“(Wikipedia)

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This was the small boat we went in last time and quite a number of passengers had booked to take this tour which would take them closer to the waterfalls and further into the fiord.

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I took so many photos, it is mesmerizing.

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See how every one is dressed? It was very chilly on deck.

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By 11am we had moved through this fiord and could go inside and warm up with a cuppa and some food. But we still had 2 more fiords to cruise through. At 1pm we would be in Doubtful Sound

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By 1pm, as we sailed into Doubtful Sound, the mist had cleared and it can be seen why this land is called “the land of the long white cloud”

But the day is not over yet. At 3pm we sailed into Dusky Sound.

Slowly the mountain profile of this magical land disappears over the horizon and everyone on board is delighted that this time this huge liner was able to cruise through this very special place.

Now it was back to ship board life, as over night we sail to the next port of call. Tomorrow we wake up to Dunedin…

To be continued… 

 

Categories: cruise, Milford Sounds, New Zealand, Oosterdam, photos | Tags: , , , | 37 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Sunrise from on the ocean…

On board a cruise liner there are almost 2000 other people sharing the space, plus another 800 staff.

But it is still possible to find a place to be alone, especially early in the morning as the sun rises. As Brie Anne says “almost everyone overlooks the early mornings“.  

To just appreciate the beauty of the surroundings and marvel at having an opportunity to listen to the pulse of the ocean, I would go up on to the Promenade Deck and watch the sun rise.  I did not get up early every morning, after all I am on a cruise! Some days were overcast when I peered through the porthole and then I would snuggle back down under the blankets.

There were 2 outstanding sunrises and one was the as we sailed into Tauranga. 

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This is the glorious sunrise as we sailed into Tauranga.

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The other one was quite different, no big blaze of glory but shafts of light (Crepuscular rays) that radiated from behind the clouds to highlight the misty outline of the distant hills. A gentle and gradual awakening of the day.

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There are so many things to keep you occupied on a cruise but it is these quiet moments that will live in my memory.

Categories: Mt Maunganui, New Zealand, Ocean, photos, sunrise, Tauranga, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , | 34 Comments

Black and White 5 Day Challenge : #4

Well I am really getting my teeth into this challenge, so today I am going to play around with a series of photos taken in 2012 at the jazz and vintage car festival in Tauranga New Zealand. (click on the link to go to a post I did back then)

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I’ve decided to try people in black and White.

The era of jive was alive and kicking at the festival. I caught this couple dancing in the streets to a jazz quartet.

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The music created a happy vibe.

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This group combined their music with a ride in a vintage car.

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The vintage car owners all dressed the part and the sun shone on the parade.

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I don’t know who is the oldest, the driver or the car…

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Finally I have put these 3 photos in different styles. They must’ve been so hot in those fur capes on a sunny, hot New Zealand summer day, but they looked the part.

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Gwennie of “Gwennie’s Garden” has invited me to join in. I love to visit Gwennie, her blog is filled with gorgeous photos of flowers and succulents from her garden and interspersed with stories of her travels. Well worth a visit.

There are only two rules for this challenge:

1. On 5 consecutive days, create a post using either a past or recent photo in B&W.
2. Each day invite another blog friend to join in the fun.

Today I would like to nominate Dawn of “The day after” for this challenge, but only if you have the time Dawn. Dawn is a prolific blogger and loves both words and photography. The short stories and articles she does for the various challenges are worth popping over to read and her photos are always amazing. As well as those interests she runs 2  monthly challenges, “lingering look at Architecture” and “lingering look at windows” check them out, you may like to join in.

Categories: 5 day b & w challenge, black and white, Jazz festival, New Zealand, photos, Tauranga | Tags: , , , , | 39 Comments

Looking forward, looking back…A photo essay of 2014…

This song by Slim Dusty touches the nerves of my gypsy soul. It brings back memories of the past year and starts me thinking of the year ahead.

It was this time last year when we sold Matilda our faithful camper van that carried us around Australia for 4 years.

Goodbye Matilda

Matilda takes off with her new owners to new adventures. Goodbye Matilda.

Now it is pedal power.

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I never thought I would be able to survive life, as I know it, without a vehicle. But we made the decision, in December 2013, to be carless for the time being, as during 2014 we would be travelling and having the use of other people’s vehicles.

 Our 2014 adventures took a new direction.

During February and March 2014 we were in New Zealand.

April and May we house sat in Geraldton, Western Australia, and had the use of Hector a grunty, rusty, old, diesel, 4WD Toyota land cruiser that I bonded with and loved driving. Made me feel macho…

June is winter in Australia and we had 4 weeks before the next house sit, so we hired a camper van and toured the south of Western Australia. Visiting friends made during previous travels.

Canberra was the next house sit, July, August, September, October. It is winter and Canberra has a reputation for very cold weather. But the house was warm and Canberra is an interesting place. This time we had the use of an almost brand new Mazda 6, and we had the company of an adorable “Labradoodle” called Molly.

2014 is flying by, we have been away from home almost 9 months but decide on one more 2 week house sit for the year. This time it is on the New South Wales coast. A delightful place called Valla Beach. We have the company of  Rufus, an affectionate blue-heeler, and 3 rather haughty alpacas. This time we are driving a Honda Jazz, a very zippy little car.

Finally we arrive home end of October.

Home

Home

So here I am back home for Christmas and taking time out to catch up with family and friends.

What is in store for us in 2015? Well I am already starting to plan our next adventure and it will be the slow way to New Zealand, something I have never done before and I’m wondering if cruising is going to be my style. Our friends tell us it is so relaxing. Am I ready for relaxing? In the past it has always been the road less travelled, roughing it and minimalist style travel, taking time to go where ever looked interesting.

I’d love to hear from my cyber friends if they have been on a cruise and what they thought of it…

 

Categories: Australia, Canberra, Geraldton, house sitting, New Zealand, photos, Valla Beach, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , , , | 46 Comments

Last week in New Zealand

I hope you have enjoyed travelling around New Zealand with me. The last few posts were about the highlights of our trip, now it is the final week and we spent it with my daughter in Tauranga and Mount Maunganui.

Mount Maunganui NZ is situated in the city of Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand. Mt Maunganui is New Zealand’s favourite summer holiday destination with its white sandy surf beach on the ocean side, and a safe sheltered inner harbour beach. Mount Maunganui’s world recognised surf beach is a popular area for surfing, swimming, and all beach activities. Mount Maunganui is also the name of the extinct volcano which rises above the town.

Jack had a mission to fulfil with this extinct volcano.

CLIMB TO THE TOP 

THE VIEW IS WELL WORTH THE EFFORT!

The mount is 232 metres high

The mount is 232 metres high


There are several tracks to the summit and the two tracks recommended for sightseers are the Oruahine and Waikorire. The summit is 232m high – it takes about 40 minutes to get to the top.

The first time Jack climbed to the top was on his 75th birthday in 2007. The next time was two years ago on his 80th birthday. So he was determined to do it again this year for his 82nd birthday.

It is a long way up

It is a long way up

 

And it is steep

And it is steep

Success, another walker took this photo

Success, another walker took this photo, what a view.

I have to admit I didn’t go with him as I had a girls day out with my daughter. These photos were taken by Jack to show me what I had missed.

What goes up has to come down, watch your feet Jack

What goes up has to come down, watch your feet Jack

 

 

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View from the top of the town Mount Manganui

View on the way down.

What an achievement I am proud of him.

Next day we did the walk around the base. It is 3.4 kilometres and is a beautiful scenic stroll following the track beside the ocean.

The track around the base of the Mount

The track around the base of the Mount

Tauranga is the busiest port in New Zealand and we saw many container ships, oil tankers, fishing trawlers, yachts and various dinghies even canoes and jet skies, it is a very busy stretch of ocean.

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This is a Pohutakawa tree

This is a Pohutakawa tree

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Photo from Google Images

Photo from Google Images

The Pohutukawa trees line the track.

They are known as New Zealand Christmas tree and when they flower in December with their stunning red blossom they are spectacular.

  But we will have to come again another year in December to see them.

 So this was the end of our 4 week stay in New Zealand. It has been a lovely visit seeing our family and friends and now it is time to get ready for the next adventure.

 

 

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Now it is 3 weeks later. I have enjoyed reliving the NZ trip as I sorted through the photos and shared them on my blog. It is almost like taking the journey twice.

In two days time we will be flying off to Western Australia to house sit for 2 months in Geraldton. Since we travelled around Australia in 2010 I have often dreamed of revisiting WA, it was one of my favourite places and now it is a dream come true.

So goodbye for now I will see you all again on the other side of this huge continent.

    

 

Categories: Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, photos, travel | Tags: , , | 35 Comments

Travel Theme : Statues

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Rotorua is the home of Maori culture in New Zealand and the intricately carved statues are everywhere.

Maori Art – meaning and symbolism (click on link for more information)

“It is sometimes assumed that every cut in a piece of Maori carving must have a meaning, but in fact probably much of it is purely decorative. The number of carvers of the nineteenth century who had been taught by pre-European experts makes it highly probable that most of the teachers’ knowledge was passed on to the pupils. There is no convincing evidence that the knowledge was too sacred to be handed on, as much information about equally sacred matters was revealed even to Europeans in the early days of the European settlement. It is a reasonable conclusion, therefore, that either the amount of symbolism in carving has been greatly exaggerated or that it had been lost by the time the Europeans came to New Zealand.

It is important to note that the figures in Maori carving, with very rare exceptions, are not religious, but secular. They do not represent idols, but rather renowned ancestors of the tribe.”

This imposing statue stopped us in our tracks as we drove by. We had to take a closer look.

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He was behind a type of palisade fence and the hot steam of the thermal activity swirled around him. Again it would cost to go in for a closer look.

But look what we saw down the road. This we had to investigate.

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Clouds of steam were hissing and roaring. With a certain amount of trepidation we drove on.

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It was an awesome sight and sound. The ground shuddered as the raw thermal energy was being channelled into pipes and converted into electricity.

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In Palmerston North we saw more Māori carvings in a park outside the Museum.

To see more statues from Ailsa’s “Where’s my backpack” click on this link

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Categories: Maori, Maori statues, New Zealand, photos, Rotorua, travel theme | Tags: , , , , | 12 Comments

Forgotten World Highway.

That name conjures up so many images that when I saw it on the map as an alternative route to New Plymouth my gypsy gene kicked in and decided it would be far more interesting than going along the main highway.

Winding along the banks of the Wanganui River. Can you spot truck

Winding along the banks of the Wanganui River. Can you spot the truck

This is a 150 kilometre journey of discovery. It winds along the Wanganui River following valleys, then up, over and across the New Zealand back country. The scenery is spectacular.

Can you see the road winding through the valleys

Can you see the road winding through the valleys

 

 I spotted fields of lavender, a splash of purple rolling across the hills. Even though it was an overcast day I had to stop for a photograph.

Laurens Lavender Farm (click here for more photos and information)  is a family owned business and Lauren is  totally dedicated to her beautiful surroundings. The scent of lavender wafted from the small shop and I found an ideal gift to buy for my New Plymouth friends.

This was a delightful start to our journey.

 Forgotten is its name, but this route is really a journey of remembrance. Along its length there are constant reminders of settlers who tried to scratch out a living in the wild, isolated hill country. Imagine coming here in the 1800’s and being faced with thick New Zealand bush, steep hills and isolation. The pioneers were a strong breed of people but many tried and failed to combat the ever encroaching bush, the harsh climate and the isolation.

Green clean NZ bush

Green clean NZ bush

Now the road spans the river

Now the road spans the river

We walk into the native bush, along the banks of the river to find the grave of Joshua Morgan a respected early surveyor who died in 1893 at the age of 35. This memorial also remembers the many other pioneers who helped shape this area.

Whangamomona Hotel

Whangamomona Hotel

 

In 1895 Whangamomona was a bustling frontier town with up to 300 residents. After the great flood of 1924 the town went into decline and now has a population of only 30 residents. But the heritage listed Whangamomona Hotel declared itself a Republic in 1989 as a protest to changing boundaries. Tourists pour into the small town every second year to be part of Republic Day celebrations and see the new mayor elected. The walls inside this iconic hotel are covered with photos and news paper clippings telling the history. (Click here for more information and photos). The dining room was doing a roaring trade with a bus load of pensioners out for a day trip from New Plymouth. We managed to find a table in the corner and ordered a pie and cuppa and watched the drawing of the raffles and frivolity going on among the day trippers.

Forgotten Hway

A local obeying the rules of the house. See the notice on the door.

A local obeying the rules of the house. See the notice on the door.

Next time we pass this way I would like to spend a night here. It would be interesting.

A rather scary one lane tunnel

A rather scary one lane tunnel

 

We are almost at the end of our road trip along the Forgotten World Highway. There were many side trips we could’ve explored but time did not permit us to linger too long, so I hope we have the opportunity to do this drive again.

Almost at the end of the drive

Almost at the end of the drive

Kiwi’s, as New Zealanders are affectionately called, are renowned for their ability to be creative and fix things and as the saying goes

” A Kiwi can fix any thing with a piece of number 8 wire.” Take a close look at the gate!!!!

Categories: Forgotten World Highway, New Zealand, photos, travel | Tags: , , | 15 Comments

Travel Theme : Napier, Pretty in Pink

Napier foreshore, beautiful display of geraniums

Napier foreshore, beautiful display of geraniums

 

Napier

Napier Marine Parade

 

Hanging baskets filled with Impatients (busy lizzies)

Hanging baskets filled with Impatients (busy lizzies)

 

Napier is one of the most beautiful cities in New Zealand. It is known as the Art Deco capital and when I looked through my photos I realized how pink was a dominant colour.

Napier, in the heart of the Hawke’s Bay wine region, suffered a massive earthquake in 1931. The quake and the fires that followed destroyed most of the town, but by the end of the decade Napier had the newest city centre on the globe.

Today, Napier’s town centre is recognised as one of the largest collection of Art Deco buildings outside Miami. Nowhere else in the Southern Hemisphere has such a concentration of buildings in the styles of the 1930s – Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission and especially Art Deco. 

At 10.46am on 3 February 1931, Napier and its surrounding region were struck by an earthquake that measured 7.8 on the Richter scale. While the ground shook violently for less than three minutes, 261 lives were lost as the ground moved and buildings crumbled around inhabitants. 
Fires broke out all over town, some beginning in chemist shops where gas jets were close to flammable liquids. Firemen could do little to stop the rapid spread as water supplies had been cut in the earthquake.

 Over the next two weeks, 525 aftershocks were felt in the region.

As a result of the earthquake, the Napier area tilted upwards – a maximum of just over 2m (7 feet) – and 2230 hectares (5575 acres) were raised to sea level. Since then, the area has continued to creep up at the rate of 1cm per year, so that it’s now 60cms (2 feet) above sea level. 
Reconstructing Napier  Art Deco was fashionable in the 1920s. The architectural style is characterised by the skyscraper shape, sunbursts and fountains, and geometric shapes.

Napier

In post-earthquake Napier, Art Deco was both a safe and economical choice. The new concrete buildings were more resistant to earthquakes and fire, materials were cheap and the stucco relief ornaments typical of Art Deco offered a less costly form of decoration. ( To see more of Napier’s story click here) 

The Masonic Hotel

The Masonic Hotel

 

The Masonic Hotel was destroyed in the earthquake and when it was rebuilt in the Art Deco style  it was one of the largest and most elaborate, up to date hotels in New Zealand at that time

Inside it had a rosy pink glow.

Many of the shops featured fashions and memorabilia from the 1920’s and 30’s.

 

Lovely to see this young man taking his grandmother, in her pink cardigan, out

Lovely to see this young man taking his grandmother, in her pink shirt, out

 

Napier Cathedral

Napier Cathedral

 While communion was being served, the original Cathedral was totally destroyed by earthquake with the loss of one life.

For 25 years a “temporary” wooden building, dedicated in October 1932 served as a Cathedral for the diocese.

In 1946 it was decided to rebuild and the foundation stone was laid on 12th October 1955. The chapel, chancel and most of the nave were dedicated by the Bishop of Waiapu and Archbishop of New Zealand, The Most Reverend Norman. Lesser, in 1960. But it was 1965 before the building was completed and the Cathedral was consecrated on 8th October 1967.

I find it interesting that the Masonic hotel was rebuilt immediately while it took over 36 years to finally finish the Cathedral.

The Cathedral is increasingly recognised as a fine example of modernist architecture. In 2005 the last three windows were installed finally completing the building.

The modern style stained glass window has pink in it too

The modern style stained glass window has pink in it too

I had only allowed half a day to explore this very interesting city. So much more to see so I hope, one day, to revisit Napier.

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The theme of “pink” from Ailsa was very appropriate for me to show you around Napier. Visit “Where’s my backpack” for more pink posts.

 

 

 

Categories: Napier, New Zealand, photos, pink, travel theme | Tags: , , , , | 28 Comments

The Explosive, Thermal Heart of New Zealand

Rotorua is one place where the turbulent forces that formed New Zealand are most evident. This city, on the Volcanic Plateau, has one of the world’s most lively fields of geothermal activity and sits squarely on the Pacific Rim of Fire. It also smells strongly of sulphur.

We had visited Rotorua many times in the past so after a quick stop to photograph these boiling mud pools in a local park,  the only ones that you can see for free, we carried on out-of-town to visit “Waimangu” the Volcanic Valley, a place we had never visited when we lived in New Zealand.

Entering the Geothermal system of Waimangu

Entering the Geothermal system of Waimangu

Mt Tarawera eruption
In 1886 Mt Tarawera erupted, devastating most of the surrounding landscape, and killing more than 150 people. It also covered and destroyed the world-famous “Pink and white terraces”  New Zealand’s first tourist attraction

The Pink and White Terraces became New Zealand’s most famous tourist attraction.  Visitors from England, Australia, Canada and Europe braved a ship passage of several months, followed by an overland trip of 150 kilometres to make the pilgrimage to Lake Rotomahana.

All this changed during the night of 10 June 1886.  Already rumblings in the ground, earthquakes, creeks emptying and refilling, lake water levels rising and falling, were indications of strange happenings. Moreover, a few weeks earlier a group of Europeans and their Maori guides had seen a canoe appear in the distance on the lake.  They watched the  canoe approach until it suddenly vanished before their eyes.   Everyone agreed on what they had seen, but to the Maori it was an apparition, an omen of danger and death.  This night was to confirm their predictions of disaster.

The eruption opend up a line of craters from the northern end of the mountain.  Seven small villages were destroyed. Many human lives were lost.  All plant, animal and bird life was destroyed.  Lake Rotomahana exploded to 20 times its size, with a new water level 40 metres higher than previously.  Tragically the fabled Pink and White Terraces were gone, presumably destroyed. 

This was how the Volcanic Valley was formed as the newest Geothermal area in the world.

Now we are going to explore it.

Echo crater

Echo crater

This lake looks so peaceful and tranquil from a distance but as we get closer we can see the steam rising and swirling across the surface.

Steam shows how hot this lake is

Steam shows how hot this lake is

The majestic Cathedral Rocks rise up from the opposite shore in a myriad of colours.

Cathedral Rocks

Cathedral Rocks

The hot springs over flow at temperatures of about 50c

The hot springs over flow at temperatures of about 50c

 

A side trip into a side valley takes us up to the Inferno Crater Lake. The water is highly acidic and gets to 80c. What an amazing colour it is.

Inferno Crater Lake

Inferno Crater Lake

As we head back to the main track along the valley we spot this sign…

Now this looks like a challenge...

Now this looks like a challenge…

 

"Come on" says Jack "let's do it"

“Come on” says Jack “let’s do it” as he disappears ahead of me

"Wait for me. How ever many more steps are there?"

“Wait for me. How ever many more steps are there?”

Finally, the top, and the views are worth it, but I was so pleased to see that seat. Notice I don't exactly have "good walking shoes" on....

Finally, the top, and the views are worth it, but I was so pleased to see that seat. Notice I don’t exactly have “good walking shoes” on….

What goes up has to come down again. This side track added another 2.5 hours walking.

What goes up has to come down again. This side track added another 2.5 hours walking.

Back down in the valley the stream bubbles and steams along and creates multi-coloured algae that grows along the bank

Back down in the valley the stream bubbles and steams along and creates multi-coloured algae that grows along the bank

We had been walking up and down along the valley for almost 4 hours so we were very pleased that the entrance fee of $34.50 (seniors price) included a bus ride back up to where we started from.

Volcano valley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: New Zealand, photos, Rotorua, Volcanic Valley | Tags: , , , | 24 Comments

The Entrancing Land of the Hobbits.

This is the story of a sleepy little country town, in the centre of the fertile dairy country of the Waikato, transformed into a tourist mecca and a number one “must see” attraction in New Zealand.

“It was a normal Saturday afternoon in 1998 on the Alexander family farm near Matamata, New Zealand, when there was a knock on the door that was to change lives forever.

The caller was a film location scout, and the tale of how he spotted this ideal setting for the Shire in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, amidst the Alexander’s sheep and beef farm in the rolling hills of the Waikato region, has been told many times. But the impact of that day 16 years ago and how this small chunk of farmland has become some of the most famous countryside in the world – in a life-changing moment of fate for its unassuming owners – is a story that continues to fascinate.” (Click here to read the rest of the fascinating story)

I have not read the Hobbit books or seen any of the films but, again, after reading about it in the on-flight magazine, I was intrigued to visit this pretty place. 

I-site the tourist information office

I-site the tourist information office

The scene was set by the I-site, a replica of an old English home in the style of the Hobbiton period. Stepping inside it was a hive of activity. Bus tours to the Hobbiton village site run every 45 minutes and a queue of international visitors were waiting to buy their $75 ticket.

Squatting in a corner this bemused character was over looking the proceedings

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The main street of Matamata was buzzing, cafes busy with tourists having a coffee before catching the bus, or wandering up and down exploring the many craft shops, many of them with souvenirs of Hobbiton. We were lucky to find a bed for the night most hotels and motels were fully booked. I remember Matamata from the 1960’s when I milked cows in this area and back then just the locals came into town to do their weekly shopping.

So we booked what was possibly the last bed in town, bought our ticket and climbed aboard the 3-45pm bus to Hobbiton.

Matamata farm land

Matamata farm land

As we drove through the farm our enthusiastic tour guide told us the story of how this farm was chosen because it looked like England.  He asked for a show of hands as to how many of the passengers had seen the film or read the book, I sneaked a look around, we were the only ones that didn’t put up our hands.

Looking out through the windows this did not look like England to me, it looked like New Zealand in drought.

Then we arrived at Hobbiton.

The bus left us to walk through the gate and into the magical Middle Earth world of the Hobbits.

I was totally entrance, it was as though I had been transported back to a small corner of England. The grass was green, the gardens flourished with old-fashioned English flowers. The attention to detail was impressive and very photogenic. We had 3 hours to wander around and lose ourselves in this world of fantasy and I took almost 300 photos in those 3 hours.

Choosing what to show you was very difficult, I will not put all the 300 in, (phew I can hear you saying) I hope the ones I have chosen give you an idea of what this place felt like to me.

Pretty cottage gardens bloomed around all the houses

Pretty cottage gardens bloomed around all the houses

Oh shall we peep inside?

Oh shall we peep inside?

I think we can go in!!!

I think we can go in!!!

Notice the woven fence?

Notice the woven fence?

Bees love it here

Bees love it here

Gourds hanging out to dry

Gourds hanging out to dry

Country style chunky bread (but it was not real)

Country style chunky bread (but it was not real)

Maybe a witches broom?

Maybe a witches broom?

Another hand made wheel barrow

Another hand-made wheel barrow

I love this crazy paving

I love this crazy paving

Look at the detail in the window surround

Look at the detail in the window surround

Then we walked past the productive vegetable garden, guarded by a scare crow.

Notice how green this is compared to the part we passed on the bus.

Notice how green this is compared to the part we passed on the bus.

If you look carefully you may spot Jacks white hair in the distance as he walks along , past the ponds and along the path to the “Green Dragon Pub”. Also, can you see the washing on the line? It is all those details that make this such a fascinating and believable journey into Hobbit Land.

The tour ends at the “Green Dragon Pub” with  folk music playing gaily and setting the scene for a relaxed ale or two in big mugs, or maybe you prefer cider.

This tour was worth $75. Go here for details of booking a tour.

 Hobbiton has totally changed the fortunes of Matamata, many of the locals were extras in the movie and hundreds of jobs were created in the building and now maintaining the village. 160 people still work as guides, bus drivers, gardeners etc. Our guide told us that on one day this January over 3,000 people visited.

It was an enchanting tour of Middle Earth and I now plan to take out the video and immerse myself in the story of  the Hobbits.

 

 

 

Categories: Hobbiton, Matamata, New Zealand, photos | Tags: , , , | 56 Comments

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