We awoke around 7-ish, I got in my hobbit attire and we headed downstairs to breakfast! Pineapple juice, sausage, eggs, cantaloupe, and chocolate pastries!! yum. Kylie & I sat together, then soon we met folks in the lobby area, and boarded the coach! Us 2 sat in the front 2 seats, recorded everyone boarding, and then we were off! Goodbye Auckland… so many hills and cows and sheep! As we drove, we saw the Waikato River.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
After a bit, we reached Waitomo, and arrived at the Glowworm Caves! We stood around and hung out until it was time to enter the caves! No photos allowed… 😦 But it was awesome. Stalactites & stalagmites everywhere, as well as joined ones (I forget what those are called!) Then we reached the glowworm section. Oh my gosh – so cool!! Especially since I have no photos, I’ll have to describe it extra well. They look like… beautiful blue-green stars in the giant, pitch-black sky, but bigger & closer together. Once our cave guide turned on the light, we could see their webs – looked like… suuuper thin icicles, or a lot of wet string real close together. Way cool. (Google-image “Waitomo Glowworm Caves”!) Then we headed down to the boat in the underground river… it was completely dark down there, and we had to be extremely quiet. Then, quoth Mike, “Drums, drums in the deep…” Yes. 😄 When we heard a noise, we realized it was our boat slowly coming to get us. LOL, GOLLUM IN HIS BOAT! It was perfect; seriously felt like I was in the Misty Mountains unaware of a game of riddles about to happen… 😄
We boarded and floated along the quiet, underground river. Wow, so pretty. Glowworms were everywhere above & around us! To my eyes, it looked like Mirkwood! The cave walls = thick, thick trees; the worms = the little bit of sunlight seeping through. 😄 Oh, it was magnificent. Arwen, Kylie, Mike, and I were in the very back row of the boat. The other group after us was so loud >:[ Our guide had to tell the other guide to tell their group to shut up 😛
Once we were exiting, we could finally take photos. Yay! We got out, wandered the gift shop, and re-boarded the couch & headed to lunch at “The Big Apple.” Our group got steak, and the choice of a buffet. Afterwards, most of us gave in to ice cream 😛 I got cookies n’ cream & coconut. Ice cream was not allowed in the coach… but, shh, Scotty let us, since we put it in cups. Then we were off! Leaving Waitomo… on to HOBBITON!!!! ❤ ❤
Along the drive, saw more hills that looked like hobbit holes, cows, sheep, and pigs. 😄 Through Cambridge, and soon enough, we were in Matamata (also known as Hobbiton area)! ALL our attention was out the windows. Mike announced that there was a road coming up that some of us might know, I said, “BUCKLAND ROAD?” and yesss, that it was! 😀 He also started playing Concerning Hobbits over the speakers… couldn’t be more perfect way to enter! We were in the Shire… entering Hobbiton… WHAT. We parked, got out, and AHH! FREAKING OUT SO MUCH. Me: “HOW ARE YOU GUYS NOT FREAKING OUT?” Arwen: “OH I AM.” We were pretty much hyperventilating. 😄 First thing we saw was this awesome rock. Yes, a rock… but take a look yourself:
Then we each took photos in front of the Welcome to Hobbiton sign, as well as a group shot 😉 Next, Ian had us all sign our waivers/agreements, to which if we broke, we’d face a huuuge fine and the wrath of Sauron! 😛 THEN, he informed us that we will in fact be the FIRST people EVER to DINE IN THE GREEN DRAGON!!! *Cheeeers!* Completely full of excitement, we browsed the cute little gift shop. Oh gosh, I want it ALL! 😄 There were Weta sculptures, shirts, wool things, magnets, postcards, pens, books, maps, hats, beer, etc. I bought 6 pens, a magnet, and 6 postcards to write to my loved ones back home ;P
Soon we got back in the coach and headed on down to Hobbiton for REAL (what you see in the films). Ohhhh my gosh, the Mill was the first thing we saw… then the bridge, and the bright colors of little hobbit doors spotting the rolling green hills!! :3 We got out, Ian introduced us to a man (I forget his name) building a bench, for what I think will go in The Green Dragon? Then we walked through the little entrance path… saw amazing things… I did literally collapse to the ground. I saw my first hobbit hole… in real life, right in front of me! :’))) ❤ ❤ Haha, Arwen, Elvish, and I were taking photos like crazy, and kept falling behind :b The mailboxes! So cute! The windows peeking out of the grass! Ahh!!! The little STREET signs!!! Everything is so wonderful! Mike tried to kindly move us along because of time. 😄 We only had an hour and a half, after all 😦 Next, Ian showed us a “wicked” photo spot 😉 Ahh… The Hill, and Bag End! I could see it across the way! Oh my goodness…!!
We all sat in the grass where Elvish re-enacted the earwax hobbit. 😄 It was so relaxing… so peaceful here. Absolute perfection, actually. The weather was perfect, warm, with a nice breeze. Birds were chirping, and not a sound of machinery or anything of the sort was to be heard. The grass was lush & green, all the little gardens & yards about looked as though they had been tended & occupied by real hobbits for years. The doors & simple architecture was all so authentic & lovely… ❤
EEEP! Then we headed up the Hill to Bag End!! We saw tomatoes and other plants & vegetables growing all over, then Ian showed us a red-doored hobbit hole that we got to go inside! SO MANY PHOTOS! Ah, Elvish took an amazing classic Bilbo-walking-out-the-front-door shot of me! So exciting.
Bag End – the mansion of the Bagginses
I can’t even believe it. I just kept saying that and awing at everything. ahhh!!! WE’RE ACTUALLY HERE! Then… (‘: we arrived at Bag End… (: I was SO in awe. Also ditched my shoes, I needed to be as Hobbit-like as possible. Ian took some group shots of us all on the steps to Bag End, and we then each took turns in the doorway. THE DOOR. THE ROUND GREEN FREAKING DOOR OF THE HOBBIT HOLE MANSION OF THE BAGGINSES KNOWN AS BAG END.
I felt so right in my outfit, especially the pipe and all. We took some “good morning!” photos, and I took a peek behind the door! For Elvish’s photo, we set my little plush Bilbo in the window, and when I picked him up, there were webs on his little sword, “He’s been hacking at some spiders, it seems.” says Elvish! LOL! The view of Hobbiton from atop The Hill was incredible. We proceeded to walk down the pathway, as Frodo does in The Hobbit when he goes off to Westfarthing Woods to surprise Gandalf. Just… walking the same steps as Elijah… my mind. can’t. 😄 And even though this scene took place on the other side of Hobbiton, here, I ran down yelling, “I’m going on an adventure!!!” Because I had to.
Down the path from Bag End, there were little Overhill & Bagshot Row “street” signs :3 And more cute hobbit holes along the windy path (: Then we made it to the Party Tree! Ian showed us the exact spots of Bilbo’s birthday banner, the fireworks, Merry & Pippin lighting the dragon, etc. 😀 Then… Elvish, Katie & I, yes, yes… we danced… under the Party Tree. Or, partied, if you will.
3 Bagshot Row – Gamgee Residence
Moving on. Sigh… (good sigh!) At last, we reached the Gamgee home! <3!!!! Indescribable. The house of SAMWISE the BRAVE. I’m standing where Sean Astin stood. 😄 Just as expected, there was that lovely yellow door, and many flowers & plants out front. 😉 I also realized after taking a few photos here, that I had lost my pipe! ‘Twas either while dancing under the Party Tree, or somewhere hiding from me in front of Sam’s house. Sad, but, how cool is it to say I lost it in Hobbiton, dancing under the Party Tree? With the chance of possibly one day being made mistaken as a film prop? So, I don’t mind 😀 Who knows, maybe Pete will find it. Either way, Hobbiton has a piece of me now. 😄
And alas, we ended our walk through the lovely Hobbiton — but continued on to dinner, drinks, and good cheer at The Green Dragon! We crossed the bridge — THE Bridge (you know, that Gandalf rides his cart across in FOTR?), and over the Water next to the Old Mill. 😉 Oh my goodness. Have I mentioned the weather couldn’t have been more perfect? 😉
The Green Dragon!
Arriving at The Green Dragon! First we crossed the little rope surrounding the establishment — first group ever to enter! :’) Elvish & I took our first steps in, together. Haha, it was wonderful. We weren’t yet allowed to take photos around the corner, since it wasn’t officially opened yet 😉 We immediately took a seat by a window, & started quoting scenes! 😀 Then we got seated at our grand table in a special room, and ordered… ales & ciders. “It comes in pints?!” I am currently 20, so currently not legal to drink in the US, but legal in NZ, ha! So, first legal drink taking place at The Green Dragon? YES PLEASE. HAHA! 😀 Oh my goodness, this night was all too fun!! We were so crazy & hyper & …musical? I didn’t drink much of my drink 😛 But Elvish downed hers; “I’m starting to feel the tingle in my fingers!” she says. Hahaha! Then to finish it off she sang, “Hey ho, to the bottle I go…” It was so cool. 😄 Also the food was DELICIOUS and the conversation was lovely, as always 😉 Eventually dessert was served… YUM! Chocolate cake, and this delicious, fluffy meringue cake-thing called “Pavlova”! Kylie was surprised us Americans have never heard of it! 😄 It was so good! Oh, & I must note when Mike was helping clear up the table, he exclaimed, “Hey I’m Rosie!” 😄
Throughout the end, we all gathered, and clapped, sang, and danced to the Green Dragon Drinking Song 🙂 Here’s a video:
Shown above is part of the interior of The Green Dragon… I wasn’t even aloud to take photos in this area until this moment, as the pub was not officially opened yet! We were seated at a large table in a special room on the other side of the pub, but when we finished eating, we found others had been let it the common area here! How exciting for everyone 🙂
Ahh, then we exited. I instantly ran into the Hobbiton cat-friend, Pickle! He’s so cute :3 Then I got many, beautiful shots of the sunset over Hobbiton… ❤ Perfection. I got one last look at the Hill, Bag End up there, and the Party Tree. On our way out, we passed & farewelled the first Hobbit holes we had seen on our way in. I found the “Green Dragon/Hobbiton” direction sign. Then, we said our goodbyes to the lovely, lovely, peaceful, beautiful, amazing, perfect land, and boarded our coach. “Ya gotta leave the nest at some point.” -Elvish. 😄 A couple minutes in, we dropped Ian off, thanked him, and started FOTR Extended Edition for the drive 😉 I quoted along at times, and heard Arwen, Kylie, Elvish, and probably everyone else quoting, too ^_^ How wonderful. Oh! Also, Elvish informed me this tidbit: That I was the first person in our group to take a bite of my food, thus, making me the FIRST person ever to eat in the Green Dragon. WAHT. me. how. Today has been a thing of dreams. Oh my gosh. I was so happy all day… and like I’d always said, I thought I’d have such a hard time leaving The Shire, but I was perfectly content. Instead of being sad that I left, I’m just happy I went. ❤ The very, very, very best ❤ ❤ ❤ The ride to Rotorua was very peaceful. SO HAPPY. I drew a hobbit hole on the window when they steamed up. 😄
Well, then we reached our accommodation at Hotel Lake Rotorua in the “Sulfur City.” Yes, it all smelt like eggs. 😄 After we all got settled in, we met downstairs for some more hangouts. I can’t say it enough — I WAS SO HAPPY. 😄 Eventually I headed upstairs, and Kylie showed Elvish & I how to use the kettle. 😄 I made hot chocolate & the two of us uploaded our photos/videos, then around 11pm decided to sleep. Today was unbelievable. On to tomorrow!! (By the way, today took up 7 pages in my journal, and 707 total photos ;))
–> view all of Day 2 Hobbiton photos here on my Flickr