Wai-O-Tapu and Hobbiton

We woke up and after a glance of todays agenda had a earlier than usual check-out, apparently realizing some geyser in Wai-o-tapu activates like a clock at 10:15 every day so it would be nice to catch that moment – which was 35 minutes away.

We drove there with a full 5 minutes to go, well to Wai-o-Tapu that is. To find the geyser was another matter, we were running around like headless chickens back and forth before finally hearing from someone it was a 20 minute walk – we put Juni and stroller back in the car and drove to the geyser – perhaps it was still spraying water even though we now for sure missed the start. We got there, and see 100-200 people waiting for the geyser to start, I snap off a photo and then the geyser erupts within 10 seconds. Touristing like a boss.

Suspiciously well timed

Suspiciously well timed

We had a lot of ground to cover today so did the rest of Wai-o-tapu rather quick, an hour or so was enough to get a good look (and photos) of the champagne pool – a body of (very) hot water with various colors coming from minerals the water brought up from deeper earth. It was interesting to see the various pools and general hazardous environment.

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An attempt to catch the complete palette of the pool

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Visiting the Baggins

Enough with nature, we got a milkshake to go and drove off to Matamata for a visit to Hobbiton. We had some forebodingintermittent heave rainfall but once we got to Matamata the weather looked great – there was some confusion at the ticket office which claimed I had cancelled my tour but we got sorted out quickly. We were in luck (well, we chose Friday 14:00 in hope of beating the worst crowds) since when we entered the bus with only 12 people in total.

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Inside of the Green Dragon

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Hobbits or no hobbits, it sure looks idyllic

The Hobbiton tour was very well arranged – loads of pictures and designed in such a way that one group didn’t block the next groups photos so it turned out to beat my expectations. It was a cuteness overload with all the Hobbit-holes and interesting to see how they faked things looking old and the level of detail that needed to be exactly as Peter Jackson wanted it seems to a mix of myth and hybris.

After the tour we had dinner at The Redoubt Bar and Eatery, top-ranked by Tripadvisor and nice but not that much deviation from the regular pub-food. After we had filled our stomachs and Juni had crawled about and charmed the personell we drove to our final destination for the day. Mona had found an Alpaca farmstead on AirBnB about 20 minutes outside Tauranga. We said hi to the family living in the house and got our room (with our own bathroom as well) and prepared for bed while we noticed that Juni started to get a runny nose.