(Carry-over from December 8th Part 1)
After we got back to the Glow worm check in and cafe to wait for the bus. Onto our next stop: Hobbiton! Seeing this movie set hasn’t really been a serious item on my “bucket list” but I really do like the Lord of the Rings movies so I mean, who really wouldn’t want to see it?!? So, as we drove towards the set, the landscape became very smooth, rolling hills with sheep wandering around; it was so picturesque and serene.
There were so many people at the main building where you check in. Apparently, tours leave every 5 minutes or so and, if full, tours have approximately 40 people in them. So, they rake in just a few million every day of tours. I’d love to know the percentage of royalties! Hahaha.
Anyway, walking into the Shire was pretty amazing and surreal. It felt slightly like I was inside the movie, living and walking through the movie, slightly expecting Hobbits to come out and start acting. I swear, I should sell the idea of actually building out and finishing a few Hobbit houses and selling per-night accommodation and have a “living history-style” live-in Hobbits that work at the place, sort of like a bed and breakfast. Yup… trademark it, copyright it… that’s me!! 😀 I
The tour is tightly controlled, can’t really go out of eyesight of the guide as they do NOT want anyone wandering off where they shouldn’t be going. I took a lot of pictures and a few short video-panoramas so that you could get the sights and sounds of the place. So I’m going to stop talking now and put in a bunch of photos so you can see!
We did get a drink from the Green Dragon Pub which they have built out and made into a functioning pub which serves some food and of course drinks! I got the cider which was pretty good. They had some celtic-type music playing on speakers which made the place very quaintly festive.
After Hobbiton, we took the Hobbit bus to Rotorua and watched some short video clips of outtakes and making-of type material. For the Hobbits, they cast locals. Criteria was shorter than 5’4″, round faces, and cheerful; there were several people who went to auditions to be moral support for the people who were auditioning and the people that went to support were chosen and the auditioners weren’t. That makes for some awkward family conversations! Hahha. It was pretty funny.
At one point in the tour I got noticed that I could take pictures of my shadow and with my hair down and blowing in the wind, it looked pretty cool! So here’s one of those pictures.
Driving into Rotorua, our driver said that the whole town smelled of sulfur due to the hot springs around the city. Our Stray driver and this Hobbiton driver were making it sound almost unbearable but when I got off the bus, it wasn’t any worse than at Yellowstone. I did notice that during the night, the breeze must have shifted or something because I could smell sulfur overnight… but in the morning it wasn’t that bad. So, yes, Rotorua does occasionally not smell terribly pleasant but it’s definitely not unbearable.
Anyway, pretty much after that it was time for dinner and bed.