Again an early pick up for the first of our organized tours, Flexi Tours NZ. It was a very pretty, but long drive out to Matamata, where The Shire; movie set for Hobbiton is. On a private sheep farm owned by the Alexanders, 1250 acres. Through some very pretty but very dry country side. They have been suffering a mini drought, no rain for over 2 weeks and it had been very hot. (25 – 30C). It had been a cool, foggy morning, which again turned into a brilliant hot day (25 – 30c) and crystal clear, bright blue skies. NZ put on some sublime weather for us! Hobbiton was amazing, it’s a fully commentated guided tour of the area, I have never seen anything like it, I took so many photos, we were very lucky, we had no crowds again, virtually a private tour only 9 of us! The crowds arrived shortly after we had our tour………bus loads of them. Words cannot quite convey Hobbiton and I will predominantly let the photos speak for themselves. We heard lots of behind the scenes stories of the Hobbit and Lord of The Rings. We had Cider and Ale at the Green Dragon Inn and of course bought a few souvenirs. The original set were not permanent and the Green Dragon Pub was actually burned down for part of the movie. It was re built for the Hobbit and at request of the Alexanders, made permanent. A few hours was just not enough.
Seriously I have hundreds and hundreds of photos, these are just some of my favorites! We then left Matamata and went on to Rotorua, and yes it is a bit smelly (All that Sulfurous stuff from local Mud Pools and Geysers)! It’s rather strange how quickly you get used to it though. It was only a few hours and we didn’t notice the smell anymore. We spent a luxurious afternoon at a Hot Spring Spa and Massage! (Sorry no pics at spa………..that was purely for relaxation!)