Thursday 23rd May 2013
We started the day with breakfast at 3rd Place, which had come highly recommended by the Lonely Planet. Christine had a light breakfast, which was delicious but left her wanting more; I didn’t make such a novice mistake and enjoyed my larger breakfast.
Continue reading Tauranga and Mount Maunganui
Saturday 18th May, 2013
After a day of rest on Friday with rellies in Hamilton we were back on the road today. We started at a football match where Connor was goalkeeper (it finished 1-1) and then joined in with the post-game bakery run. We said goodbye to the Shands for now and headed off towards Rotorua.
But first, the little Waikato town of Matamata.
Matamata used to be a rural farming town that wouldn’t have been on anyone’s itinerary. It’s still a rural farming town but since the Lord of the Rings films it has become an integral part of any trip to New Zealand, because it’s home to the set of Hobbiton. Ben and I love the books and films, but it’s not the main reason we came to NZ. We came for the beautiful landscapes that the films showcase! There are a number of different ‘Lord of the Rings’ themed activities you can do in NZ, and this seemed to be one that we should definitely do.
Of all those activities this was the one we feared might be the most disappointing: it wasn’t cheap ($80 each) and there’s too much scope for gimmicks and merchandise. But we were delighted to find that far from having costumed hobbits or any other tacky gimmicks the whole Matamata experience was absolutely wonderful. Continue reading Matamata – here be Hobbits