amazonv: (TARDIS)
what hurts
some of my toes
my ankles
my knees
my left hip
my back
my left rib / chest area
my shoulders
my elbows
my wrists
my fingers
my neck
the inside front of my head
my left eye
my left eyelid

uuugh

and this is for days and days
knock it off already
amazonv: (TARDIS)
So many the same shops, the same things repetitive and not too different or exciting

Cities the same too, it's some of the odd sights that vary, is it worth it?

wish i had better recon on betals beach so i could have managed the lake

should have considered train between in country locations?

pick places next to transit or rental car, too much on uber (esp with latest revelations)

hobbit holes were cool, should have gone twice

tours took me things i might not have seen otherwise, good

perhaps longer in each place (but that would have been less places)

overall, now off the bucket list, glad i went, but unlikely to go again, such a long flight

much disappointment in humanity, vandalizing PLANTS, buildings, not following directions (using flashes on nocturnal animals), not managing their kids (smashing on glass and scratching at animals), littering in amazingly beautiful locations...
amazonv: (TARDIS)
Feb 20
monday

Sydney

checked out

took train to airport

checked in at airport

flight syd->lax

wiped phones and latops en route

Luggage took forever
CBP took forever, and i have global entry

got to my lax to atl as it was boarding

then atl grabbed some food, i forget what

atl-clt

clt met with driver who took me home to virginia

did slight bit fussing around, it was past 10pm Feb 20th
didn't get to see alex
did get to snuggle cats
amazonv: (TARDIS)
Sunday Feb 19

Melbourne

I slept poorly due to white night
and was up early to get to the airport
checked out
Train to the Skybus to the Airport
I took the first available train in the morning, and I had to add a few more dollars to my opal transit card

Check in for flight
Flight
arrival
train into downtown
checked into hostel

Then i went to the Sydney eye tower
reconfirmed I am afraid of heights
But i had purchased that combo pass so it was paid for and was a nice view

Then wandered about in the Westfield mall, Din Tai Fung steamed buns for lunch

Next up was the Queen Victoria building - tried to goto the beautiful tea room on the top floor - but it was closed for a wedding. ended up at once in the center - The palace tea room

Lingonberry green tea
Green, vegetal, hint berry, barely
Two cup pot, one cup, second very strong tannen

Finger sandwiches
Ham
Tuna
Egg
Meh

not interesting, or impressive, didn't bother to finish.

Then town hall train stop

Back to hostel

then went out for dinner

steamed buns

oliver brown for dessert

rained on me, so end of wandering

back to hostel

packed up as much as i could

sleep
amazonv: (TARDIS)
Feb 18
Woke early, not as early as hoped
A bit gassy from the Aussielent
More aussielent for breakfast, and chocolates
Off to the Queen Victoria Market – lots of stalls etc. some of fruit, cheese, meats, mushrooms, clothes, souvenirs, jewelry, etc etc.
I got a finger lime and a giant fig – all the figs are giant here ~$1
The fig tasted like a fig at home
I got a flat white and croissant ~$9 it was actually light and fluffy
Another USB-c charging cable to see if it works better $12
Arc Lighters http://www.arclighters.com.au didn’t buy as trying to do carry on only
Jewelry & souveniers $90 for friends & partners
Next up was The state library chill out beanbag area again with wifi and power. It just started raining so that worked well.
Next I went to Melbourne Central – huge mall! Had a wander around. I don’t recall buying anything?
I stopped at Ramen Ya in the food court for food and tea – it was tasty $
Then wandered more (again don’t think I got anything)
As I left I got a macroon $3 it was good
Then I headed to Chinatown, which I had wandered near but I found the gates, small and not that great of a Chinatown IMO
Then I hit the Alchemists Refuge – a bar under a gaming shop, had a cider $8
Then I wandered around white night, got a boba $
Wandered more it is apparently white night, whatever that means, there is musical acts and streets are closed and places are staying open late. Apparently this happens all over? I’ve never heard of it, nor the girls in my hostel room.
Headed back to hostel
Taking some notes then off to sleep
amazonv: (TARDIS)
Feb 17
Slept in as the girl on the bunk below me was sleeping in and blocking my locker (lockers are under the bed here). So I played on my phone.
She finally checked out. I changed and got ready for the day.
I then headed down to the kitchen and made Aussielent vanilla for breakfast. It was a bit hacked as I didn’t really have proper supplies.
Next was The National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne Australia) – aka art museum.
I took a break part way through for tea and scones. The scones were dense and the tea was OK (English breakfast).
Items of note: I love Monet, I love pointillism, I need to properly display my kimono, I spotted a worth dressed and grabbed pictures for Nikki, I took a picture of a pretty grandfather clock as it reminded me of my grandfather, and of course lots of tea things from various eras and cultures. Not a fan of the modern.
After finishing the museum I headed to The Block Arcade (Thanks to The Devotea for the suggestions)
First stop was Hopetoun Teas $22
As predicted there was a wait and everyone was drooling over the pretty cakes in the window. I got the bruchetta and congo bongo black tea. The flavor came out best with a touch of sugar.
http://www.hopetountearooms.com.au/
Then I popped in a spice shop gewurzhaus $27.45
https://gewurzhaus.com.au/
I ended up buying ras el hanout as theirs has more in it than mine and I wish to compare. I also got some duck spice to use with duck since I get that from my local farm.
Then a chocolate shop Haigh’s. I got a delicious dark chocolate covered ginger chocolate, a salted caramel chocolate, a milk chocolate heart, a dark chocolate heart and a chocolate covered marshmallow. I also got to sample the dark chocolate honeycomb. Note it was good but not better than good stateside chocolate IMO – of course most things are better than commercial chocolates (Hershey). $8.66
Then back to the hostel for laundry $18 and shower. Shower had mold – no wonder I have not been breathing well.
Hanging out a bit in the chill out area, Aussielent and chocolates for dinner, then trying to sleep early.
amazonv: (TARDIS)
Feb 16
Slept in a bit again, I think this vacation is too long for me, I am going to return exhausted which is bad as I have no recovery time when I return.
I had some Lady Devotea and toast for breakfast. Vegemite is salty sticky, black thick spread. I don’t get the appeal.
Packed up.
Blessed Cheese for lunch. I had a chai latte, cheese and bread. Very tasty. Apparently the selection of cakes has decreased recently though.
Stopped in a spice shop.
Winery – Coriole - enjoyed the nero the most. Tastings seem to be free in Australia!
Winery – Penny Hill - Black Chook sparkling chilled red shiraz – pretty good! Enjoyed their merlot the most
Had The Devotea tea at Au Pear. Lovely tea, lovely place.
Then it was time for the airport – it was actually pretty busy, luckily we got there with time to spare.
Once I cleared security I grabbed a chili hot chocolate then right on to the plane no waiting.
After landing I got the Skybus and then the Train to check into United Backpackers once again.
I just had some Aussielent and passed out.
Surprisingly this is the first time ended up in a top bunk.
amazonv: (TARDIS)
Feb 15
I slept in@ around 9am I awoke and then had tea and breakfast, I tried wheat bix.
I got to try Amba, one of the limited edition teas (cherry, rooibos, black) here. Enjoyable cup, too bad dried fruit is so PITA to make (time).
After breakfast there was a bit of box folding.
We followed this up with a quick trip out for some groceries. $3 toothpaste
When Lady Devotea came home we sat down for lunch with some Zealong teas.
And now I’m goofing about on the internet.
After that was going out for fish and chips at the beach, it seemed very American, deep fried breaded fish, potatoes and bananas (YUM), along with a cloudy but colorful sunset.
After that we wandered home and chattered for a while and then did a set of tim tam slams with chai – it wasn’t a specific chai it was an impromptu chai. That happens with tea addicts.
amazonv: (TARDIS)
Feb 14
2/14/17
Went to bed early and slept in, until 8?
Got dressed, packed some, and headed out for breakfast.
Used yelp to find a lovely small creperie, Roule Galette, that was run by two French women (strong French accents, muttering French, had recently been back to france). $20
Excellent crepe (cherry tomatoe, swiss cheese, egg, arrugala), and a lovely pot of T2 english breakfast tea (not amazing but much better than the bagged nonsense I have been getting).
Went back to hostel and packed up.
I headed out to the state library which has a bag check but not big enough for my bag. I was disappointed.
But they have a reading nook with electricity, bean bags and wifi so lurking here for 2 hours catching up on internet and viewing their 360 google view tour. Close enough I guess.
After catching up on the internet for a bit I headed by train then SkyBus to the airport.
At the airport I got a cup of tea $4, a teabag, sad but not bad, tea drop Malabar Chai.
I listened to “Side Jobs” for a bit and I noshed on two protein bars I had and finished off my jelly beans, then it was time to board.
I had somehow overplanned and could have spent a bit longer before heading to the airport, but oh well.
Loaded onto the plane, got free cookie and juice and listened more to my book.
I was greeted by The Devotea at the airport and got to ride home in the bright yellow Devotea-mobile. We headed off in the midst of rush hour to The Fortress via a shop to grab some items for dinner.
Once at the Fortress Robert went to cook a dinner and dessert up.
While he cooked I got the grand tour from Lady Devotea along with some tea.
We also ran into a huntsman – Australia is full of terrifying bugs.
We of course had dinner with tea - Alishan Tillerman Tea Co..
Dinner was extra special as it was with Saxon – the other Devotea in Australia – and her partner Eve. We all had a lovely dinner.
After dinner we were all a bit tired and passed out.
amazonv: (TARDIS)
Feb 13, 2017
Woke up 2am
Dressed, packed
Uber to Wellington airport – apparently 7th most dangerous airport due to wind
Got there when they opened, 3:30, which was 2.5 hours ahead of my flight, they recommended 2-3
The Air New Zealand employees were not there yet
4:00 checked my bag in
Wandered a bit then went past security when it opened
I ended up changing $10 NZ for $5 AU - woo exchange fees :(
They have adopted the same bullshit security theatre 1 baggie of travel sized liquids in carry on only.
Past security I got a flat white and parfait
Then flight, 4-5 hours
On which I got breakfast as well, I guess I am a hobbit
I talked to a new Zealand native on the way to Australia for her son’s second wedding
And also napped a lot
Arrived at some early hour
Got the SkyBus to somewhere
Then got a train from there to the hostel
Checked my luggage in – room not ready, when paying though they assessed a credit card use fee.
Walked to the shrine of remembrance
It is a bit of history of all the conflicts Australians have been involved in, along with specifically remembering many specific units/battalions/soldiers.
Impressive, and depressing that humans keep doing this to one another over and over, and putting faces and stories to numbers in history books.
I then has lunch at Jardin Tan (lunch botanical garden). Ginger beer and noodles and beef. They also charged a credit card fee. This seems to be popular here? The food itself was good, but prices here seem high. Service was also spotty.
I wandered all the garden, with many backtracking and getting lost. I am a concussed goldfish even with a map and GPS.
A bit before closing I got a pot of earl grey and scones with jam and clotted cream at The Terrace. The scones were moist and light and fluffy. The tea however was a bag, and although a full leaf pyramid sachet (temple tea co), not very flavorful. I noticed signs for high tea and based on my experience and the price they were asking, I do NOT think it would be a good idea.

The oaks were massive and gorgeous. I love old trees. If I lived here I would make a picnic basket of tea and scones and a book and sit under them on nice days and read happily all weekend. I stopped by the grey garden because it sounded amusing, and had the temple of the winds (book title). I was amused to see a California garden there. And of course the camellia collection. I can only imagine how beautiful everything is in the spring.
All that walking has made my feet quite sore.
Also, I hate people.
People-smashed flowers – aka sat or stood in flower beds to get better pictures!
People-stole plants, and the garden has had such an issue they can not afford to restock any longer!
Children-ripping flowers to smell them, encouraged by their minders.
People-defaced flowers – as in graffiti.
People-smoked, I can’t imagine that is permitted (due to rubbish created)
People-kanoodled. I am not a fan of PDA but I can withstand a bit of hand holding and being sickeningly cute, but I hate anything more from anyone.
I hate humans
Now back at the hostel grabbing a bit of wifi and planning tomorrow before I go get some water and pass out. Tomorrow I have to fly again and will have my giant bag….so contemplating sleeping in and being absolutely wasteful. It seems awful to do though.
The more I travel the more I realize most places really are the same. Perhaps I’ll get the travel bug out of my system and stop trying to see everything. Besides I fall apart physically when travelling. There are some unique things per place, but perhaps instead of running around like crazy I can just see 1-2 things leasuirely?
amazonv: (TARDIS)
Feb 12, 2017
Woke up
9:00 Mojo café for a flat white and honey/butter toast for breakfast $12
10:30 – 1pm Weta workshop there and back again tour
It was AWESOME, I could see Hitsman and Volk and Kurt doing this for sure. Hitsman seems to have looked into it but doesn’t like the unpredictability of employment. Chainmaille, leatherwork, sewing, 3d printing, forging, just so much awesome. I wish I had the talent for it.
1pm+ Te Papa museum https://www.tepapa.govt.nz/ $10
Very interesting. I happened upon it while they have a Snowden exhibit. Also confirmed I really am not a modern art person.
At the museum café I got some Tip Top (ice cream) Hokey Pokey (honey) flavor $3 as I had heard about it / seen ads. It was a good ice cream. Hats off on the butter (tastes like fresh kerrygold), cream, and ice cream in new Zealand.
Coffee – the flight hanger (one of the baristas was a winner at the national championships) and a feta and spinach scone. They love their cream and butter here so much.
So windy!
But yes so far all good food and coffee
Then walked to get some whiskey and crème brule at The Library.
Got myself lost on the way home, as per usual. I am directionally impared.
Then back to the room to pack, shower, and do some internet.
I think that is all I managed :(
amazonv: (TARDIS)
2/11/17
I woke up and finished packing.
8am Breakfast at the B&B – tasty fruit, eggs (fresh from her chickens), toast, tea – really lovely.
9am She drove me to the airport
It wasn’t a long flight to Wellington, a bit bumpy though. Apparently, they are known for wind.
At the Wellington airport – I ended up buying ice breaker merino 30% off shirt and underwear $
I got the Buss 9$ downtown then walked to the hotel.
I checked into The Amora Hotel. It was not bad, great view.
Hotel included free wifi, free laundry room and free soap!
I did 1 load of laundry 1 wash, as there was only 1 washer, but needed to do two. The sand and just dirty clothes had left me wearing my last clothes – and I had even hand washed the underwear the night before.
I ended up doing a hang dry for the first load as the dryer was full.
Then it was time for my High Tea I had reserved at 3pm $
REVIEW
After tea I checked on the washer, and it was still full
So I wandered about, part of which was establish where my weta tour picks up tomorrow.
I also got to wander through the “Wellington Night Market. In Left Bank off Cuba Street on Friday and Saturday nights, 5pm - 11pm, the market offers people a new food and shopping experience, along with a variety of entertainment, including live bands, cultural dance performances and karaoke.”
I decided since Wellington is known for craft beer to have dinner at the Black Dog Brew Co – brown and bread and spread tray (pesto, hummas, caramelized onions) $
On the way back to the hotel I stopped at a convenience Store and grabbed $5 water
Once back at hotel I checked the washer, still full.
So I took advantage of having the internet - I checked a job a friend had alerted me to at a tea company, but I was not qualified.
Then I checked washer – nabbed it right before someone else, there is only one. Set timer to go flip wash load 2 from washer to dryer in 30 min
First load of wash is strewn about the room
My shoes are still wet from yesterday – and sandy
Again tried to catch up on internet
When the second wash was done the dryer was still busy and the room was closing soon
So both loads of laundry now wet and strew about room
Upside there was a fireworks show for some reason in the harbor I got to enjoy.
amazonv: (TARDIS)
Wake Up! Sydney Hostel
Always seemed to be someone at the front desk, which was great. The staff were also all pleasant and helpful.
Free wifi in the lobby, pay in the rooms.
ATM in the lobby is handy.
I was able to check in early in the day and ditch my bags to make site seeing easier which was great, some places are very picky about check in time.
I liked how I got the key on a lanyard.
I had a 4 person room. It was clean, but the bed was a bit thin and it was set out with a comforter not a top sheet which was odd to me. The locker was a bit skinny and barely fit my pack.
The daily announcement is startling as it starts wake up! But it’s at 5 or 6pm.
There seemed to be one boys and one girls bathroom per floor. It got a bit dirty unfortunately as the day went on.
Each floor also had one laundry on each floor with 2 washers and 2 dryers. They only took 2$ coins and cost 4$ each (8$ a wash and dry total). Luckily the staff are always ready to makes change. There is wash powder in the vending machine for $1.
The location is super near public transit – Central Station is down the block. It is also near food and convenience stores. In addition they have their own café and bar as part of the hostel. When you check in you get a voucher for one free coffee in their café. I got a late and it was good. I also tried the bar for dinner. The burger and fries were good, nothing amazing but not a bad price (relative to local restaurants) and not bad quality.
amazonv: (TARDIS)
Greenlane Manor Motel Auckland New Zealand
Very nice woman at check in helped me check in and helped me figure out where to head for food and best ways to get transit about. She also offered me a glass/carton of milk. New Zealand likes milk.
In my room, which was very clean and a good size there was a great booklet of local attractions and restaurants.
It is located near a train station and near shops and restaurants.
In the room I had an electric tea kettle, fridge, dishes, cups, silverware, microwave, toaster and instant coffee and tea.
The location, at least my room was a bit noisy as it is near a road.
Warning: Limited front desk hours, a maximum daily MB limit on wifi
Overall I would stay here again and would recommend it.
amazonv: (TARDIS)
Atura Blacktown
I made a reservation at the Atura Blacktown through Expedia. On arrival I found it was not really that accessible by public transit (the bus stop is only about 1 km away, but there is a major highway in the way), so I ended up spending more than I would have liked on uber. I highly recommend using this hotel if you have a car.
As far as the staff – they were helpful, pleasant and I very much enjoyed them. They were happy to answer questions, suggest things, and call up a taxi as needed.
The room itself was clean, a good size, and had everything I needed. Please note the kitchenette is actually dishes, silver wear, drink wear, coffee maker, microwave and sink. There is a lack of fridge. There was not excessive noise or light and the bed was comfy.
I was amused it was cruise ship style lighting – you had to put your room key in a socket near the door when you entered to power up the lights, a smart thing but took me a few minutes to figure out.
The hotel buffet breakfast was a bit pricey – 27$ but offset by the green voucher (let them leave your sheets during your stay and get $10/day). I don’t eat much so I may have been better off finding a grocery and having breakfast in – but again no car. The food was good, but I find the breads in Australia a bit dense compared to the US. I had things like bacon, eggs, waffles, peaches and cream, tapioca and fruit, coffee, tea, Danish, croissant, potato pancakes, and some other cold porridge thing.
There is a pub and a drive in within walking distance.
There is a lobby bar – but I didn’t try it.
Overall I would recommend this place and stay again, but only with a car.
amazonv: (TARDIS)
2/10/17
8am breakfast at my B&B, so much good food! Fresh eggs (she keeps chickens), toast, fruit, bacon, tea and juice. Like a little Italian grandmother she had more food than I could ever eat.
Next up I put on sunblock and headed out to Bethells beach. I also got a Tupperware of the fruit I didn’t eat to take with me.
On the way down there were horse tracks and dog tracks, it made me think of tilly (the horse that played argo).
I arrived at High tide unfortunately, so I couldn’t go in the cave at the end of the beach, but I got a good walk around. When I got super close I sat on some rocks and had some water and the fruit. Sand is rough terrain :( and I am unfit, it was tiring. I did enjoy the look of the black sand beaches, but they didn’t seem to get hotter than normal sand to me?
I talked to a nice old lady on the beach for a bit and heard about her visit to San Francisco with friends, apparently they got odd looks camping in tents (being senior citizens) at the national park.
Next I tried to get to o’neil beach or bay and got soggy in the process. I thought I had gotten there but reviewing maps after I returned I had not. I had been to Waitakere Bay and seen o’neill bay. There were things (gates) that seemed to be blocking the way so I didn’t go down to the other thing I looked at. But, the walkways and are not clear (to me, not a camper or hiker) some of the walkways I took later had that same look but had skinny paths to the side for people the gates being to block things larger than a skinny adult.
I considered going back to the cave as the tide was lower, but my feet were soggy and I was very tired. So instead, I tried to get to lake wainamu. I walked in soggy shoes (from above adventure) for hours, they make you walk in a creek! At that point I was in for a penny in for a pound, already soggy might as well get soaked. It was supposed to be a 20 minute walk. Apparently (recon after I got home) I got close, but again I felt like I must have missed it, and I also couldn’t tell if there was still a trail.
Failure to properly recon, had intel but not enough. This was what originally inspired me to come in the first place, why I always wanted to go. And I failed.
www.loyaltoxena.com/XenaFilmLocations.html
I should have satellite view’d in advance, but I didn’t realize how bad wifi and (no) cellular would be out here.
My feet hurt, and I am tired, sand is rough terrain. I am out of shape and sad I need to fly away tomorrow.
I got home, showered, made pasta, had wine, cleaned the dishes, now plotting for tomorrow in wellington and writing up reviews in word in preparation for having internet.

My stomach grumbled as I wrote more day write-ups and place reviews so I ate the avocado, grown in new Zealand. It was good but not better than others I have had. Come to think of it same for breakfast, the kiwi I had was good but not amazing. Do all kiwi grow in new Zealand?

I rained a bit, quick shower, they need rain here though so I am sad it didn’t rain more. Snatched my wet sandy clothes off the line and popped into the tub.
That made me think of the avocado farmers, a couple, I met and chatted with at the Zealong tea plantation in the shop after the tour. They were very concerned over the lack of rain in the area.
amazonv: (TARDIS)
2/9/17
Woke up crazy early 4? 5? But hit snooze. Behind schedule!
Packed up and then took Uber to the airport. I then went to get my rental car, from thrifty. No GPS available. It was an MP Spark, I have never heard of one before. It is a tiny thing.
I was supposed to rent from enterprise, I had booked in advance, but when I called 2 days ago or so to confirm as I could not find the agreement in my email – the person said they could not find my reservation. So I panicked and booked through thrifty at a much higher price. It turns out I had made a reservation as 24 hours out I got my reminder email, I was forced to cancel and did write customer service.
Driving on the left hand side is weird, and hard to break habits. Also extra bad as I lack a left eye. I am glad to live in the states!
I drove to the Zealong tea estate, luckily my phone worked well as a GPS.

REVIEW to come

I drove back to the airport, and the phone worked less well but it was OK, I think it used a lot of offline maps.
On the way to return the car I stopped for groceries twice and fuel once. (washing powder, attempt 2 at hostel locks $10)($30 pasta sauce, pasta, water, avocado, wine) Getting fuel (20$+) was awkward. First I picked the wrong side for the tank. The car lacked the handy which side indicator that many rentals I have gotten has. Next I had to figure out with petrol it used. Then I ended up at a pre pay station, but had no idea how much I needed. I read the owners manual and moved to another spot, so it all worked out. After that nonsense I noticed it was on the keychain (which fuel to use), duh.
I returned car, but didn’t get a bill. I hate that. I handed them the keys and they were like OK, leave. This is one of the reasons I prefer enterprise.
I then got tickets ($18) for the SkyBus to downtown. There was awful traffic so it took much longer than it should (car fire on a bridge).
I then walked to the West train to Swanson (N) $7
The B&B owner got me at station.
I got in and settled in. Then I made myself a pasta dinner in the kitchenette, and ate it with a glass of wine on the porch.
I took a walk out to see where the lake path was, and then headed back. It was past 7pm already. I also read the Xena website and the booklet the B&B put together of local attractions to prepare.
I have to be careful of water use, apparently it hasn’t rained much and they are on tank water.
I was told to check out the southern hemisphere sky. But this being my night away from light pollution of cities, I couldn’t see the sky as it was cloudy. Such is my luck. I have not been outside at night much otherwise. Not that I’d see the difference anyway.
There is no cellular signal out here, either phone, and the wifi is spotty.
I went to bed. Sleep!
amazonv: (TARDIS)
2/8/17
Feb 8th
I woke up at or before 6 and had breakfast at hotel. I had arranged the night before what I wanted as my tour picked me up at 7:20 and breakfast started at 7. The hotel was very accommodating.

The great sights tour bus came and took me to Te puia geysers, thermal pools, and hot mud puddles. They also had a kiwi bird.
Next was Agrodome agriculture show, sheep, cows, dogs, not very exciting, a bit of comedy in there but really wasn’t in the mood. It did make me think of Mary.

Last on the tour bus was rainbow springs bird (kiwi) and fish sanctuary - i got some honey candy (manuka honey is a big thing here) and a small change purse since so much money is coins here. $15.4

I got dropped off at the Hobbiton shop, but had some time, so I went to get lunch at art cafe - porridge and smoothie $17.7. it was a HUGE bowl with sugar and bananas and cream. I enjoyed it.

Then hobbiton!
Apparently, Peter Jackson approached this sheep farmer to use the land, and the first time they did disposable / temporary hobbit holes. People still came to visit. So when they had to rebuild, they made them permanent. There is a staff that cares for them, sadly it’s a lead tour and so you can’t go at your own pace. I think I would need to go a dozen times to get a good look at all the holes. There are 44 different holes? Each has such attention to detail – it makes me think of the harry potter set tour – things in the window, each hobbit’s things hinting at a job (bee keeper, gardener, cheese monger etc). I very much enjoyed it. The tree over top bag end is fake, everything else is real, they planted real flowers and squash and fruit trees!
The tour finishes with a free cider or beer or ginger beer at the dragon’s inn – which is ADORABLE. I wish you could just go there, or they franchised replicas!
Apparently, in the film where they watched sunset, well it was sunrise (bag end points the wrong way) so it was an extra early morning on set to film it, and then use it in reverse.
The fruit trees were not plums, so peter Jackson had the trees stripped of leaves and fruit and put plum leaves and fruit on for some scenes!
The Shades of green on the fake tree were not to peter jackson’s liking – so they were repainted before filming, very close to, and there are thousands of leaves!
The inn was expanded twice so far for the tours as it is popular! They also seem to host events, and people apparently come there for pictures etc after they are married (we got to see one woman in her beautiful dress)
They are expanding – a new tour bus parking area and bathroom center, built into/under a hill (they pulled the hill down, built, then put it back on!), and there is talk of ripping down bag end and rebuilding it as a walk through.
All the hobbit holes are, as much of Hollywood, just space behind them for people to step into or out of. The interior buildings are on studio film lots.
Also - they got permission to knock down a hay barn that was behind either the party or green dragon scene, if they rebuilt it. but in the end the art department just disguised it as a tree!
After the hobbiton bus took us to a place to meet the Auckland bus.

then back to Auckland, got there at 8 or 9 pm? There was traffic and other nonsense.

I took a taxi $33 to my hotel, greenlane manor again.

I then popped off for dinner - post house again, ginger beer and chicken $22

no grocery open so back to room to do computer things.
amazonv: (TARDIS)
Tuesday
Feb 7
Woke 430
Had oatmeal purchased day before, and tea from the room. It was sad tea.
Took Uber to tour area, got in way early, go paranoia

Stopped by a coffee shop, cute place, remedy coffee
Got Earl grey tea with lemon in a cup that said red rabbit coffee co $4

Headed back to tour bus
Got fruit breakfast, wasn't expecting that

Headed to waitomo glow worm caves
Jen would be amused, caving for indoor cats. They added walkways, lighting, railing, and put ropes over entries that would be too small further on. Took two years I think I heard to map the caves.

Then got lunch on the bus to next stop.
Note picnic lunch is code for box lunch on bus.

The large group of Canadians and Indians are trouble. Always talking, not listening, running late. The Chinese bunch of pushy :(

Lots of cow
Lots of lamb
Some alpaca
They farm deer
The fields seem separated by hedgerow not fences

Cooler than Australia

Apparently big on selling racing horses?

Have not seen a kiwi yet (bird)

Saw kiwi fruit orchard

Apparently there is green, gold, red fruit

Air on buss broken :(

Checked into cute boutique hotel, The Princes Gate Hotel. No air (old building) luckily it gets much cooler at night

after check in was the Rotorua duck tour! the water was so amazingly clear, apparently you can just drink it....

the area smells of rotten eggs due to the sulphur - there is hot springs and mud pools

i wish i had time to try the spa - perhaps another country has similar and i can add that to the list - natural hot spring silica spa and mud

thats the bad thing you go on all these tours and you see things you want to spend more time on but there is a schedule, rush rush :( on the other hand i see lots of things

after duck tour was freaking out b/c called enterprise and they didn't have my car reservation - so found another (thrifty) - days later i actually get email from enterprise i had a rental but the person i called and spoke with insisted i didn't have a reservation.

then was dinner - Tamaki Maori Village
cultural information, presentations and feast.
it was interesting but too interactive too many people for me i was peopled out and hate being on the spot

got back, it was late, showered and collapsed

vacation is exhausting, and too much light pollution to see the sky so far, at night, but i doubt i'll notice the difference anyway

Fi not working well
had to reload ekit/jt travel $30

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