We woke “early” on Saturday morning and went to pick up our campervan. Because the bus the day before was so painful we decided to get a cab out there. The cab driver was pretty friendly. When we arrived at the Campervan Rental place we were told to have a seat and someone would be with us shortly. Half an hour later we were told that our van still had to have a clean and its mechanical check done so it would at least be an hour and a half. They offered to pay for a taxi for us to go to the supermarket so we could do our shopping. We took them up on the offer and got a cab out there. They have a supermarket here that has the same logo etc as Woolworths, but is called “Countdown”. We picked up a discount card on the airport bus the day before so we got a discount at the checkout, it wasn’t much, but it was better than nothing.
When we arrived back at the campervan rental place, there was still no progress on our van. We waited another half an hour then asked about how it was going. We were told by the reception girl that she would have to check with her colleague, honestly I don’t think she could do anything herself. When the other girl came walking to us with a bottle of wine in her hands, I looked at Kath and said, this can’t be good! We were told there was another delay but shouldn’t be too much longer.
Eventually we were told our van was ready and the girl gave us a 2 second tour of the van and very basic operations. Once we unpacked our groceries, we headed out onto the road, in our 7.2m long, 3m high home for the next 18 days.
Navigating around Auckland we discovered can be a little tricky, however we got onto the right highway and headed fro Matamata to see Hobbiton.
The trip from Auckland to Matamata was about 2 hours. The Information Shop in Matamata is shaped like a hobbit house, it is really awesome! We got out tickets for Hobbiton and headed out to “The Shires Rest Cafe”. Well it turns out that it is really important to read instructions taking into consideration commas in directions, otherwise you end up 5km in the opposite direction you wanted to go. What should have taken us 20mins tops to get out there took us about 45. Never mind the scenery in New Zealand is nice, so we didn’t mind the scenic trip.
When we arrived at Hobbiton we were able to quickly grab something to eat before jumping on the bus to head into the farm to see the Hobbit holes.
There were 43 people on our tour group. The trip through the farm was really lovely, there were little lambs all around the place. Peter Jackson chose that spot for the filming as it has no visible man made roads or electrical poles in sight. When we reached the Hobbit holes it was really cool to see them all in real life. I think there were 48hobbit holes made in total, and out of all of them you can only go “into”4. The tour guide pointed out some cool spots from the films and told us some interesting facts, for example there are frogs that live in the pond, however for the filming they had to remove all of the frogs as they were too noisy for the filming.
The guide was a young guy and acted a bit immature at some things, and was a little bit lean on some of his Hobbit knowledge, for example we had a big discussion about whether the 2nd or 3rd movie was been released this year, he insisted it was the 3rd while the rest of us were saying it was the second. One guy even said to him well what is the second movie called and he just stood there and looked stupid at us.
At the end of the tour we got a drink in “The Green Dragon”. The cider there was very tasty. We then headed back by bus to “The Shires Rest” and were looking forward to going to the gift shop, however it was shut. We were very unimpressed by that!!
It was my turn to drive then and we headed to Rotorua which took about 2 hours. We were pretty exhausted by the time we got there from the long day, so we found a campervan park and settled there. For dinner we decided to walk into town to have a look at what we could get. The first pub we came to was an Irish pub. Little did we know til we decided we wanted to eat there, that it was the Australia vs NZ rugby match, whoops. We asked for a table away from a tv and ordered our food. It was the best meal we had had since we arrived. I had a new cider and Kath had a new beer. My Cider was a Speights, and somehow the glass fell into my jumper as we left the pub. Naughty glass!