So excited to be in New Zealand again. Breakfast in the budget hotel was a novelty but overpriced. A couple of hours free WiFi was handy, and free WiFi again at the motorhome depot - so much time waiting two hours for paperwork to be done and someone to show us round our vehicle, but nothing to write about yet! The itinerary was put back... help, we had to be in Matamata that afternoon for the Hobbiton tour.
We made it by the skin of our teeth as the meeting point is 20 minutes drive outside the town. Thank God for the SatNav we didn't order but was left in the motorhome.
Even to those unfamiliar with the Lord of the Rings movies (a third of visitors) this unique village cut into the rolling, green hills has a special appeal. You can easily convince yourself that it was created by hobbits: their character is found in every colourful, circular door, bright garden flower display and twist and turn of the little paths sheltered by hedges. Washing is hung on the lines, smoke wafts out of the chimneys and cheeses are stacked in the window (of a Took's?) home. The tour guides take you round in groups that are nicely spaced out so the place is not full of people roaming about and getting in the way of each other's photos.
Hobbiton gives you a warm, generous welcome and that's even before you get to the Green Dragon Inn and receive your complementary cider, pale or dark ale or ginger beer - we tried all those between the four of us. To reach the pub you pass the mill with waterwheel in motion, cross the bridge, and hear the sound of playful fiddle music drifting across, drawing you in. 'I wish the Green Dragon was my local,' I wrote in the visitors book. All in all, Hobbiton is a tad different from the muddy field with bare plywood hobbit holes we saw 14 years ago...
We had to shop in New World supermarket then, which should have been earlier, and when we came out (having spent more than anticipated as prices over here are a lot higher than at home) the sun was setting and we knew we had blown it for going to Kerosene Creek until the next day. Plans for the free camp spot near Taupo went out of the window and we ended up in Rotorua. A few hours after parking next to other motorhomes there was a knock at the door. "Security!' I opened the door (Henry had collapsed after driving from Auckland and was fast asleep) and a man greeted me. 'Good evening, I'm going to have to move you guys on as this is not a designated parking area.' He was very pleasant about it considering we were probably contravening the bylaws. He told us where to move to and we drove round with a lot of other lost motorhome drivers, until we gave up and headed out, ending up some time later in a picnic area for the night.