Equipped with our Jucy Condo campervan, we left Auckland (after an incredible Women’s March) and had a brief stay in Rotorua to soak in the hot springs and hike in the hills before heading to Hobbiton. Most of the bigger thermal features cost money to see, so we stuck to the ones at our holiday park and those we could see from afar. Here are a few highlights, before diving into the Hobbity stuff.
So Hobbiton. Sure, it’s man-made, touristy, overpriced, overrun, cheesy, yadda yadda yadda. But it’s also magical, photogenic, organic, hilarious, delicious (I could go on). On the advice of Chelsea and Nick, we booked ahead for the Feast at Hobbiton, which only has one seating a few nights a week. This meant we had an evening tour of the whole place, followed by delicious beer and a massive Middle Earthean feast at the Dragon Inn. Our guide, Sonny, could not have been more equipped for his job, despite having only worked there for a month and a half. Everything about him was perfect for the role as leader of our team of Hobbits: his voice, enthusiasm, friendliness, and knowledge of everything Lord of the Rings.
Upon arriving to the Shire, it was impossible not to take a million photos. Here are just a few highlights around the village, before our dinner.
Our sunset tour was followed by the kind of feast you’d imagine in a world inhabited by Hobbits. Roast beasts of all sorts were on offer with gravy to slather on top, along with ales, stouts, ciders, and wines to guzzle down, and potatoes, bread, and roasted veggies to feast upon. These little Hobbits did not go hungry.
With our bellies full, our meal drew to a close, but our journey wasn’t over yet. Everyone was given a lantern and directed back out to the Shire for another spin around the neighborhood in the dark. With the stars now fully out, the little Hobbit village dimly illuminated by lantern, and our new Hobbit friends all around us, we gathered in a circle and had a good old song and dance. I sadly didn’t capture this by photo, but we still got some good shots of the place at night.
We’re so happy to have made the journey to Hobbiton and Middle Earth. Next up, you’ll hear from Amanda about our time in the glowworm caves and our wet hike in Tongariro National Park.