|The Matamata Tourist Information Centre seems different from typical New Zealand architecture somehow...|
Is fruit washing in public convenience hand basins a particular problem in Matamata? Where should fruit be washed? Is it okay to wash vegetables here? Why do I now have a powerful urge to wash fruit? Wut?
Anyway, the bus arrived, and we piled on for the short trip to Hobbiton, and thoughts of fruit cleansing opportunities vanished from my mind.
We learned that the original contract for The Lord of the Rings filming insisted that the sets be removed, and the land put back the way it was. Hence much polystyrene was used. For some unfathomable reason, the contract for The Hobbit was different: the sets had to be made permanent, and left intact.
|a view over Hobbiton, with hobbit houses and a vegetable garden|
|a small hobbit house, which makes Gandalf look big|
|Bag End exterior|
After a tour round the set, we trooped down to the Green Dragon pub, for a complimentary mug of ale or ginger beer. Then back onto the bus, down to the shop, where we were left to buy souvenirs (including the locally brewed ale and ginger beer), then back to Matamata.
In the afternoon, I drove down to Waimangu Volcanic Valley, with a nature walk, by lakes and hot springs, that came highly recommended by a friend. This walk has three sections, followed by an optional boat tour at the end. It was getting late, so there was no time for the boat tour, and I was advised to walk only the first two sections, and get the last bus back. I started off.
|The panoramic view down the valley hints at the pleasures to come.|
|A view down into the southernmost crater and its Emerald Pool, a shallow cold lake.|
|Echo crater and its gently steaming Frying Pan Lake|
5 seconds of boiling water from the hot springs: rather smelly!
|Inferno Crater lake|
7 seconds of a small geyser on Bird’s Nest Terrace
|Amazing colours, and sounds ... and smells|
|the whole valley is just stunningly beautiful|
|a placid lake, with many black swans|
What is it with hotels and wifi? I’ve been staying in motels and B&Bs, all with free wifi as standard. As soon as I stop in a hotel, however, I’m down in the lobby using my "complimentary" 30 mins free wifi…
|driving down to Matamata, then Waimangu, spending the night at Rotorua, ~ 200km (the side trip to Hobbiton was on a tour bus)|