Aug 31, 2016
The plan for today was to check out the Hobbiton movie set that was used in the hobbit and the lord of the rings movies. It’s a bit cheesy and I’m not normally into doing something this cheesy, but I love the books and the movies. It was a lot better than I thought it would be for sure.
The area around it is beautiful. Within an hour or two hours radius you see glimpses of similar sites. The rolling hills are what inspired Peter Jackson to eventually choose the site.
Most of the hobbit holes are empty inside, like this one. The interior shots were filmed at a different location. It’s still cool to be in one of them though.
The set is pretty large. There are over 50 hobbit holes. The green dragon bar is here. As well as the lawn used for Bilbo’s party.
One of the major problems on the set was the construction of Bag End. In the books there is an oak tree on it. No big deal. Go into the forest and chop a tree into 21 pieces. Then reassemble on site. That’s great for the lord of the rings movies, which were shot first.
But then they decided to make the hobbit movies. Since the hobbit takes place sixty years early the tree had to be sixty years younger. So the film crew needed a tree that looked exactly the same but was much smaller. They couldn’t find one. So they made one. Yup. This tree is not a real tree. Not even a cut up and reassembled one. It’s entirely fake. Foam covered in real bark. The 200,000 fake leaves are all individually wired to the tree limbs. I’m not joking. This tree is not real. You can zoom in on it a bit by clicking on it. It’s unbelievable.
But seriously how cool is bag end in real life. I mean, it’s a movie set. And hobbiton is a fictional place. And new zealanders hate people that think the places from the lord of the rings actually exist in real life in their country, but with stuff like this it’s hard not to believe.
Bag end is dope. Also, that’s a fake tree. I still can’t believe it.
The tour guide said you could push this door open, but I was scoping out the scene thinking she would still yell at me.
Some of the hobbit holes have things inside like these aging cheeses, but most of them are empty.
Sam’s house. So cool. He wasn’t home though.
And you can grab a pint or two at the Green Dragon. The pub is super cosy and comfortable. I would like to spend more than twenty minutes here.
After hobbiton I swung out to see Cathedral Cove off of recommendation from the last hotel I stayed in. The hotel worker said Auckland was just another city and I could skip it. Thankfully I disagreed, as I thought Auckland was pretty cool. But before I get to Auckland, here’s some more nature. The view is great from up here. It’s interesting that some of these rocks you can see from here are almost identical to the ones from Halong Bay in Vietnam. The Halong Bay rocks are just more frequent and covered in more bush.
Then it’s a 45-minute hike down to the cathedral cove area. Although it’s getting dark I beasted the hike to make it down and up before it got too dark. The beach is pretty nice.
The water is surprisingly beautiful over here. The opening in the rock is pretty cool too.
It’s a good place to take your selfie game to the next level. I’m a fan of this next shot. Just love most things going on in it. The textures are pretty sweet. I love the balance. It’s not a typical beautiful colored shot you will see from this spot, but I think that’s what makes it even better. My pose and posture makes me look rather creepy and like an alien. I actually think I scared a couple away while shooting this picture. Because it was late in the day the beach cleared out and I had the cove to myself. So I was taking my time with my hoodie up getting some shots. A couple turned the corner, saw me as some scary dude, and I think they booked it out of there ha. Sorry guys, I was just messing about with my selfie game.
Afterwards I had plans on staying in Coromandel. The gps threw me on some absurd practically single lane gravel road that climbed up and down a mountain to get there. When I did finally arrive at nighttime the town was dead. And not because it was late. It was 7:30 PM. Or 7:34 PM when I pulled up to the gas station to get gas. As I do the attendant who I can see from my car shuts the lights off and locks the door to the station. His place closes promptly at 7:30 PM apparently, and he won’t let me get gas. I’m a bit annoyed as gas stations are far apart here so this could be a big deal for someone who really needed the gas. But it’s no worries as I have plenty left in the tank.
I leave there in search of a warm meal, which I can’t find. I search for a hotel with an open lobby, which I also can’t find. Since there seems to be nothing for me here I decide to just head out to Auckland. I get to my hotel there and grab some sleep.
Sep 01, 2016
Finally back in a city. It will be nice to grab some food that doesn’t come from a gas station, convenient store, or fast food joint. First up are some steamed dumplings and a tea. I might be a bit far away from Asia, but I’m not all that far. There are a lot of places selling food like this and it all looks great. These dumplings were fantastic and make me sad that I won’t be getting this stuff back home.
Back in the city also means it’s time for art again. I head to the museum to check it out. Some of the best stuff is the stuff that isn’t even exhibits. This spiral staircase was rather nice. It wasn’t even in use. Just in a corner and sealed off. I’ve always noticed a lot of little gems in dark museum corners and noticed that art buildings themselves are understandably beautiful.
I thought this was a cool piece. It’s 120 individual displays of various things like buttons, spoons, and thread all assembled into one large piece.
This hallway is just fantastic. I didn’t particularly love any works in it, but the statue at the end is just framed so perfectly by this hallway and this view.
I was trying to get a good selfie in the reflection and this was about as good as I could grab. You could ignore the selfie part if you like. It’s mostly a failed picture.
These rainbow bejeweled pop rocks were pretty fun.
Just working on that selfie game.
Afterwards it was time for some craft beer. I went to Hopscotch Beer Company but you can’t drink there because of crazy New Zealand laws. So I picked up a beer and drank it on my walk. I heard this should be legal, but in case it wasn’t it was a fast drink.
On the way I walked past the tower. I think these things are a little too played out in cityscapes, but so it goes.
I swung over to Brothers Beer for a flight. It was a busy spot.
I unintentionally walked right up to it as well, ha.
Finally was able to grab a steak and some oysters. I was looked at cattle for many many hours of driving, so I was definitely craving a steak at some point.
And that concludes the trip. It’s super late so I’d like to try to grab an hour or two of sleep before I have to wake up and head out to the airport for my return flight home. Pretty cool that in doing so I will have flown completely around the world.
I’ll definitely be getting a concluding writeup out at some point when I sleep and have time. The trip has been just incredible. A lot to say about it.
I’ll be seeing everyone back home hopefully soon. Hope everyone’s travels and lives are going swimmingly. I guess it’s appropriately to throw a little Tolkien quote in here.
Far over the Misty Mountains cold,
To dungeons deep and caverns old,
We must away, ere break of day,
To seek our pale enchanted gold.