Return to Aotearoa

It’s been 4 years since I traveled to New Zealand. And since I was spending time visiting Fr. Kerry in Australia, I figured it was time to return to the Land of the Long White Cloud. Besides, there were lots of other Lord of the Rings movie locations to visit. It was definitely a prime opportunity I didn’t want to pass. So after visits to the South Island 4 other times previously, it was time to see the North Island.

I recall with great fondness our trip to New Zealand in 2006, and our visit to Mt. Sunday at Mt. Potts Station in Canterbury, the site of Edoras in Rohan, the land of the horse lords.

The price of the tour was affordable then. On our return in 2014, I thought I’d look it up. Yikes! I’m glad we did it when it didn’t cost an arm and a leg and a lung.

That by the way is in NZ$. Today’s exchange rate: US$ 1.00 = NZ$ 1.52. Ergo, NZ$ 279.00 = US$ 184.08. Still a lot.

So when we came to the North Island, I just knew we had to visit Hobbiton, the Shire from where Frodo and Sam set out. So after 2 days in Auckland, we headed south to the Alexander Farm in Hinuera, 45 minutes NW of Rotorua.

Of course there were no Hobbits. I had to keep reminding myself it was a movie set. It was like Roanoke Island where all the inhabitants just disappeared. But it was also a magical place, especially when we put ourselves in it.

The Hobbiton tour concluded at the Green Dragon Pub where we got a free pint … ale, cider, non-alcoholic beer, fruit juice. Then off to Rotorua and the thermal springs and mud pools.

Rolo B Castillo © 2018