Wednesday morning saw us packing up in a scramble to check out and make it by the skin of our teeth to join a half-day Lord of the Rings tour. Our tour guide was full of fabulous stories to tell because the lucky bugger had worked pretty much full-time as an extra and doing other odd jobs on all 3 movies. He’s been a Gondorian soldier, a spectral warrior, one of the Haradrim…you get the idea. We visited a lookout or two, the Buckland forest filming site, the Weta Cave and the outside of the filming studios.
After the tour we popped into Te Papa very briefly and had a look at some of the Maori exhibits before piling back into the car and heading off to Wellington Zoo where we had lunch, saw a Kiwi’s bum (it was fast asleep and half hidden) and I took photos of otters.
Then we drove to Hastings for an overnight stay, there was lots of Scenery on the way so I made Adam get out of the car and photograph some of it.
We were supposed to go to Napier the next morning to look at the Art Deco stuff and had also half planned to find a winery or 3 but somehow ended up letting the kids talk us into visiting a Laser Tag place instead. But first we did a tour of a tannery and sheepskin products factory. Then I read Kindred by Octavia Butler and Adam watched the scoreboard while the kids shot at complete strangers in the dark for a while. Afterwards we had lunch at a park, did a token drive-by of the Art Deco architecture in Napier and indulged ourselves with a visit to one winery before hitting the road to Rotarua.
And then drove into Rotarua to a chorus of gagging and howls of protest from the back seat over the smell. We have since decided that our hotel is situated in one of the stinkiest parts of Rotarua, and yes, there are definite differences in stench levels around the town!