23rd – Hobbitonning

Oo one thing I forgot to tell you about that happened yesterday was our near crash! We were doing about 100kph on the usual type road and down a steepish hill. Javi was driving and all of a sudden we noticed the courier van coming towards us was on our side of the road and coming fast. We were like err do we just swerve over to his side of the road or what!? So we kind of did that or else we would have crashed into him but then he swerved back onto his own side of the road narrowly missing the front of Joe. As we looked at him when we passed in that split second we could see he was seemingly asleep! His head was totally to the side resting on his shoulder, which made me wonder if he’d had a fit or stroke or something, but then we were passed already and there was a line of traffic behind us and it was all over. It was pretty frightening!

So onto today. We had our Hobbiton tour booked for 11am and on the way there the weather was thankfully looking like it was going to be ok, like it would brighten up. Fingers bloody crossed aye. We arrived and it was blowing a hurricane (felt like!) and we soon jumped onto a huge 50/60 seater bus with our driver Ra, who, as he drove us through the huge farm to get to the movie set, kept us entertained with facts and his own little quips. He took us up to the movie set and we were immediately transported into a fairy tale. If you haven’t been there it is PRECISELY as you imagine with all the hobbit doors and little mini houses in the grassy hillsides and ponds and vegetable gardens. It’s pretty cool and both of us would definitely recommend you visit if you’re this end of the world. And for that reason I will say no more about the place! Except our tour guide Sammy was great and full of interesting information and we got a free drink in the Green Dragon.

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After two hours in Hobbiton we went and did a dump (van speak you know) and realised after this whole trip we could fill up the fresh water at petrol stations sigh… so filled up at a BP and then went for a coffee/chai latte round the corner from that. We found we were in a very gorgeous little cafe in a teeny town called Tirau. And across the road from where we were sitting were two buildings in the shape of a dog and sheep, made out of corrugated iron. Huh. Upon googling we learnt that they actually housed the local i-site and loos, and were opened in 1998. How random but brilliant that the land owner decided on those designs to make it a hell of a lot more interesting for people. Definitely!

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A little while later we found a pretty spot on a lake to cook up some grub and then, once replenished,  drove to the next town named Cambridge. It is very quaint and is apparently famous for its stud horses and breeding. Along the main street they have like a walk of fame with mosaic tiles on the pavement with each horse, they’re pretty nice looking.

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Next stop and our base for the next two nights was the house of a friend of my Dad’s, Mark Hamilton. They’d met through the photography world and met once in London and now I was making good use of this link! Mark was actually the guy who totally did our itinerary for us, so he was already pretty cool in our books. We arrived after a doubtful long drive down a gravel lane through miles and miles of farmland and were relieved to get there in one piece (bloody Wendy the satnav was on her way to being thrown out the window, there’s absolutely no trust there anymore). Well to avoid sounding too gushy, simply Mark and Robyn were bloody wonderful! Hugs all round including huge GSD Karma, you don’t really get a choice about that one. We got to know one another and later had dinner with Robyns son joining us too. It was really lovely and chilled out. I think we all went to bed around midnight, 1am – the latest by about three hours we’d been up this whole holiday haha! The bed they gave us was sooooo comfy we just didn’t even say night before we both conked out.

Tomoro Waitomo caves is on the card but it had rained sooooo much the last few days we weren’t sure if it’d be cancelled… We’d see…

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