Trip Start Feb 15, 2013
40Trip End May 03, 2013
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We heard some interesting stories about the filming. Peter Jackson was very particular about duplicating everything exactly as described in Tolkien's books. The sheep on the Alexander farm were not right so he brought in 75 black-headed sheep from England. The tree that grows over the Baggins' home was cut down in Wellington into 40 pieces and reassembled in place with thousands of fake leaves. He was not happy with the colour of the leaves when it was all in place so he had a lady spend 15 hours a day repainting them all. The frogs in the pond were too noisy so those shots he didn't use. For "The Hobbit" he had them taken to a new home. There was supposed to be a plum tree in one scene. He couldn't find the right size so he used another tree and had plums glued on to it. Unfortunately, they kept dropping off during filming so he scrapped that scene. He also had someone walking through the "village" making paths through the grass so that it would look well used. To keep the fake chimneys smoking, a man went around lighting the beeswax in each one. It took 45 minutes for him to light each one and then he would have to start over as long as they were filming.
We had about a 4 hour wait at the airport for our flight and it was a little late leaving. We arrived home the same day and almost the same time.
New Zealand exceeded all of our expectations. We were in awe as we travelled around at the diversity of scenery. There was an amazing view around every corner. From the mountain ranges to the coast it is a spectacular country. They really cater to the tourists here with clean and well-equipped public washrooms everywhere and lots of places to eat. And it is not as expensive as Australia. In the towns, the main streets are paved with patio bricks and the gardens are filled with flowers, bushes and trees. Even the trees have flowers. There are hedges everywhere and some are at least 20 feet tall out in the fields. The fall colours were out in full "bloom" and with the backdrop of the forests and mountains, were spectacular. Recycling is everywhere even in the campgrounds as they are very concerned with the environment. All the school children wear uniforms and look so smart. People in general dress so much less casual than in N.A. In fact we only saw one young man with the crotch of his pants down around his knees. We definitely came at the right time too. The weather couldn't have been better and the roads and tours were much less crowded than they would have been earlier. We encountered people from all over the world though Australians make up most of their tourists. We also found a lot of young people from England and Europe backpacking around the country. A great way to travel if you're young. The only thing we would have done differently is get a little bigger campervan but we survived!