I can see the Shire!

Trip Start Mar 12, 2012
Trip End Jul 10, 2012

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Where I stayed

Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Thursday, May 3, 2012

After Wellington, I got the bus to Rotorua, my last stop before returning to Auckland. I had 3 nights there as well. It didn't start very well, as I got off the bus first, got to my hostel, and realised I had someone else's bag! It was identical to mine, and I had just taken it. So I then had to trudge round town to the other hostel where most people were staying, and hoped this person would be there! Luckily they were, and we swapped bags. That night I met some nice people in the hostel, and we ended up having a bit of a movie night, watching Silence of the Lambs and Thank You Smoking, and eating loads of popcorn, which was fun. Then the next day I explored Rotorua a bit more. I had already seen some examples of it's geothermal activity at Hell's Gate, but I went to Kuirau Park, which is free to walk around, and saw loads of steaming pools and mud, it was fantasic. Even parts of the path were smoking! Then I spent the afternoon walking  by the lake, checking out the old church and Maori buildings down there. I also booked my trip to Hobbiton (or the Shire) for the next day. My room mate Filip decided to come with me, so it was nice having someone to go with (and take photos of me, haha). 

 That evening the hostel ran a free poker night, with prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. I was just going to watch, a I didn't know how to play poker, but everyone taught me, and I joined in. I was on the beginner's table, with a bunch of other girls who couldn't play. I came so close to going out after a run of bad hands, but suddenly I got some good cards, and won loads of chips. I ended up being one of the last two, and we joined together with the people on the experienced table. I just kept getting good hands, and slowly everyone else went out, till it was just me and this German guy! He ended up beating me with a card one better than mine, but I still really happy to get second place! I won a free t-shirt and drink, which was cool. 

 So the next morning, I woke up really excited. The bus picked us up, and drove us to Hobbiton. The set is on a sheep farm, on these rolling green hills. We had perfect weather for it too. So we were driven down to the set with our guide, and started the tour. I can't explain how amazing it was. It felt like I had actually walked into The Shire. It looks exactly like it does in the films. I was kind of silent screaming, and jumping around with excitement, and poor Filip had to calm me down! There are loads of hobbit holes everywhere. Some are large scale, and some are small scale, so they could film scenes with just the hobbits, and then scenes with Gandalf too. We saw the Party Tree (which is sadly dying, and Peter Jackson is going to replace it soon). You can look over the lake and see the Green Dragon Pub, the bridge and the mill. Unfortunately we couldn't go up to it, as they're currently turning it into a real pub! And they're already taking bookings for weddings! (boys, get in line!) Then we just walked through the village, passing all these little hobbit houses. The detail on them is amazing. Each one is unique, and completely different from the rest. Even the fences had fake lichen on them, which looks totally real! 

 We walked up Bagshot Row, and saw Sam's house! Looking back down the row, you see the exact shot from the end of the films, where Sam walks up the lane, and his daughter runs out to see him. It was so cool. Then we climbed up the hill, and finally saw Bag End, Bilbo and Frodo's house! The tree on top of the hill is fake, and cost a million dollars! Our guide asked who was the biggest Lord of the Rings fan, and Filip immediately pointed to me. So the guide gave me a leaf from the tree. I could have cried! The house looks just like it does in the film, it was amazing. Then we carried on walking round, having more photos. We looked out over a new part of the set, which they had just built for the Hobbit, but it wasn't open to the public yet. Finally, we made our way back, and I was just buzzing with excitment and happiness! Our guide Danny said that if we ever came back, to remind him we were in his group, and he'd take us for a pint in the Green Dragon. So we drove back to the shop and ticket office, and Danny let us bottle feed this cute little lambs! So adorable. Then it was time to head back to Rotorua again. But what a fantastic place. It's so well done. It's not tacky in any way. It looks and feels so real, and is a really beautiful place. I want to live there! Can't wait to go back when the Green Dragon is open!
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