Glow Worms and Hobbits - Hobbiton, New Zealand

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August 30th 2016
Published: August 3rd 2016
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First off I need to give big shout out and and even bigger thank you to the members of the Port Waikato Surf Club. After meeting a member on the beach the wonderful people here took me into their clubhouse, fed me a huge dinner, gave me plenty of beers, and let me watch the All Blacks rugby game with them. Also a special thanks to Alton and Robyn who had pity on me in my little Toyota Corolla and took me into their home giving me a warm bed and a hot shower. The kindness of people towards a total stranger is something that never ceases to amaze me. So up refreshed the next day I set off for a good round of tourism and I landed in the magical spot on Middle-Earth; The Shire, home to the Hobbits.

Prior to my stopover at The Shire I was to visit the world famous Glow Worm Caves of Waitomo. On paper this seemed like a really cool and exciting thing to do. And to the glow worms credit, they are a very interesting species. The tour itself was crap. It cost me $NZ48 ($40USD) for a 40 minute walk in the cave (I've been in plenty of caves in my day) and a five minute boat ride on the river to view the glow worms on the cave's ceiling. If the cost was $20USD I would be OK with it, but $40 was robbery, hence I cannot recommend this tour. Photos inside are not allowed for obvious reasons but here I am after being shammed.

The real fun began when I reached Hobbiton and I was happy to shell out $NZ66 ($55USD) for a tour of the sheep farm that Peter Jackson used in The Lord of the Rings for the home of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, The Shire. Being amongst the rolling green hillsides of the area, it was easy to see why Peter Jackson chose this spot to film. I had a lot of fun walking about and looking at the detail put into the set. We also learned about many painstaking efforts taken to ensure the accuracy of translation from the book to film. Really a fun day and the weather was again beautiful to match. This tour was totally worth it and it helped take a little bit of the sour taste I had from the Waitomo Glow Cave.

I've been having a really good time driving around (and sleeping in) in my rental. To date I've logged over 1,500 miles. Hard to believe really. I do however get a little lonely sometimes. By renting my own car and living out of it, I have isolated myself a bit. Being with my own transport does allow for chance encounters like the one in Port Waikato which are like gold, but the majority of the time it is just me. Night time AM radio has become quite the friend of late. I have been to some incredible spots though, so many it is hard to write about them all. I'm going to have a million scenery shots by the time I leave this country. After a quick stop on the Coromandel Peninsula I now find myself in the heart of the North Island at Lake Taupo where I plan tomorrow to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. I hope to be able to write all about it.

Additional photos below
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Cathedral Cove on Coromandel Peninsula

I've also been doing some incredible hiking.

A little different than my Toyota back home.

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