On our first morning in Rotorua we drove to Matamata and joined a bus tour out to The Shire. Yes, that Shire, Hobbiton, which is all set up and just about ready for filming to begin. It looks absolutely fantastic and if you’re anywhere within reach of the place you HAVE to go see it! We were allowed to take photos but had to sign a confidentiality agreement promising not to share any online. So this is all you get from Hobbiton:
As I was taking photos of [stuff I can’t tell you about] Tom pointed at my feet and said “Look! A frog!”
And so it was.
Back at The Shire’s Rest we watched a sheep shearing demo and bottle fed some lambs, had lunch at the cafe and coveted the collectible models and jewellery (David really wants a One Ring on a chain – a mere $800 worth, so not happening).
The afternoon was spent with me watching the kids in the swimming pool at the hotel and Adam doing laundry.
That night we went to the Mitai Maori Village for a traditional hangi meal and cultural performance. It was, shall we say, touristy. But they put on a good show, the meal was nice and the glowworm spotting walk after dark was kind of fun.
On Saturday we drove out to the Hidden Valley, Orakei Korako, to see the geothermal park.
We took picnic lunch and shared our bread crusts with the ducks. We had hoped to have time to squeeze in a visit to the Buried Village before joining the last tour of the day at the Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park but when we got to the Buried Village we decided we didn’t have time to do it justice and had a Devonshire tea in the cafe instead.
We arrived at Rainbow Springs just in time and were treated to a behind the scenes tour of their Kiwi breeding, hatching and conservation project. We saw a one day old chick, fast asleep in its incubator, and Eggnog, hatched on Christmas Eve last year, who was taken out of its cage to be fed and given antibiotics. In the nocturnal enclosure there were 2 adult birds out and about foraging. Tom, all his deepest desires satisfied, announced we could go back to the hotel now, but we had a look around the rest of the park anyway.
There were streams and ponds all over the park filled with the biggest trout I have ever seen, no doubt this is due to the fact that food for feeding the fish is available at the park entrance. The kids duly fed the enormous fish and I attempted to take photos but none of them really came out.
Our day ended with a fabulous meal at the Cicco Italian Cafe, the food was so good and the desserts were magnificent!