Shells, hobbit holes and cyclones

by sam on 16th December 2014 7 comments

The first image for blog - Shells, hobbit holes and cyclones

The plan for an early start on the Waihi beach to get the best shells after the tide went out, did not quite go to plan, we did go there early...just on Brisbane time not NZ time!! We were not disappointed.... At first there were a few Gastropods and broken clams and then 10m further up there was just a carpet of awesome shells, some transluscent purple washed up jellyfish that you could see all the innards inside, and some bright pink seaweed. Sadly, NZ customs take their bio-security extremely seriously, we only just managed to get our Aussie thunder eggs into the country, so there is no way we would get these back home :-(

The first image for blog - Shells, hobbit holes and cyclones

Our next stop was back 800 years in time (so Adam told me) to The Shire. Adam has been waiting for this day for 8 months, and with the new Hobbit film just coming out this week, his excitement was palpable!! We got on a cranky old white bus (named Gandolph!) that took us a couple of miles further up gravel tracks in the hills to this spot literally in the middle of no where, Middle Earth!

There we found Hobbiton, the set for The Lord of the rings and Hobbit films! 44 Hobbit holes of all different sizes, not that the hobbits are different sizes, but to aid camera trickery for filming...60% sized ones for Gandolph the grey stand next to, looking giant, and long ladders on baby sized trees so even Liss looked tall on them. Washing lines on hills that film crew have deliberately walked up and down to for 10 days to make tracks look authentic and worm... 6 full time 7 days a week gardeners working on up keeping the gardens and huge vege patches... The detail is unbelievable!

The first image for blog - Shells, hobbit holes and cyclones

The centre of the shire

The most impressive part was the big, old oak tree above Bilbo Baggins house...that looks as real as any around the area, that is, in fact, completely fake with 250,000 individual leaves wired on! Apparently when they came to film, the tree that was there were not in great shape, and didn't look how they envisaged it, so the "perfect" one was made.

Equally, of the 13000 sheep farmed on the 1250 acres of land that this set is built on, not one could be used for the film, as the sheep were too "modern"... In the 1200s, sheep had black faces and ears, here they are all white, luckily the UK still has old-school sheep one can import for such occasions...

The first image for blog - Shells, hobbit holes and cyclones

Ginger beer in the Green Dragon pub was pretty cool too, especially as they had free dressing up clothes there leftover from filming for Liss and Adam to indulge in. I think Adam chewed the ears of the guide, Curt from Tewksbury, who was very patient with him; Adam chasing round asking questions and sharing Hobbity wisdom behind him for the whole 2 hours. Needless to say, the boys had the best day, and us girls also decided that we might give the films another try ;-)

The first image for blog - Shells, hobbit holes and cyclones

First pitch at papamoa,

This evening we are warm, cosy and dry in our Betsy at a beachfront camp space in Papamoa. Our first pitch had the potential to be the most fab spot, up on a peak overlooking the Pacific Ocean, but there is currently a cyclone 100km away in Auckland (lucky we didn't fly in today!!) and boy, can we feel the ripple effect of that so close to the shoreline. We moved pitches, down the hill slightly to gain some shelter, which has definitely helped, but there is a little of that feeling of being in a ferry cabin on the Bay of Biscay!!

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by Nan's Hub on 16th December 2014

How cool is Hobbiton! Adam looks well chuffed. You might never get him to leave NZ!

by Nan on 16th December 2014

Another super family pic xx Looks a really cool place. Never seen Adam looking sooo excited :)

by lucy Middleton on 17th December 2014

Did adam buy lots of hobbit memorabilia?
Or j for that matter?!

by Granddad on 17th December 2014

Obviously the whole family blown away by the whole experience. Ado I've heard that if you walk around Hobbiton for to long your feet turn into those ugly gert hobbit feet. Love to all xxxxx

by JD on 22nd December 2014

It was awesome, I bought a keyring, Ads has a few bits for his Xmas present from us :-)

by The Hodders on 22nd December 2014

Wow that looks amazing!! Cannot believe what a fun packed trip you are having! Enjoy every minute. X

by Days on 22nd December 2014

It is definitely being a trip of a lifetime, as planned Lou, no better than planned, it is fab. And NZ is just amazing, even just the little patch we have managed to see xx

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