I will let you in on a little secret. If you have not noticed by now, I am in love with The Lord of the Rings and everything J.R.R. Tolkien. How would you have guessed? Well, not only is it in my bio, but every single one of my blog entries has a title with a quote from either The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit. Because my love of the books and movies is so strong, one of the things that I just HAD to do while in New Zealand was visit the Hobbiton Movie set. So in the middle of March, I planned a trip to Auckland with my flatmate, her friend, and another friend of mine from Arcadia. We planned very far in advance so that we would make sure to get the cheapest deals and have this trip set in stone. But at the end of March, my family said they would be visiting me from May 20th-May 30th. What would you know– I had planned our Auckland trip during those dates. Everything truly happens for a reason, y’all.
So after the long wait, the week was upon us. I made smoothies with my smoothie squad on that Monday, went to the Baa for trivia night that Tuesday, went to the Capping Show (the world’s second longest running student revue and this year it was titled “The Lord of the Degrees”) that Wednesday, and then flew to Auckland with my group on Thursday night. My dad was gracious enough to be our shuttle from the airport. I stayed with my family at a cute Airbnb that night, and the next day we went to the Te Henga Walkway for a little hike and stroll on the beach. We began by having to cross a stream because the bridge was out. Once we got past the stream, we had to follow the markers through some private land to get to the beginning of the trail. The trail was stunning and overlooked the black sand beaches and the rolling waves of the blue water below. We found a way to the beach and stopped for some well-deserved lunch. We found a different way back via the beach, so we got to explore some of the many caves along the oceanfront. Afterward, we got back to the car and headed to the Airbnb to freshen up and relax a bit before going to get some dinner.
The next day I was dropped off at the bus stop with my original group, and we caught the bus to Matamata. We arrived about five minutes after my family, so I met up with them, and we went to a Kebab restaurant. We then got our tickets for the Hobbiton tour and loaded up on the Hobbiton bus. The bus driver was super nice and showed us a short video. When we arrived at the Shire’s Rest, we switched bus drivers and our tour guide, Jules, got on. She was very knowledgeable about the set and gave us lots of insight into the building of the permanent structures in Hobbiton.
Hobbiton was everything I had hoped for and more. The hobbit holes were extremely extensive, and the sheer detail put into each and every visible piece was breathtaking. We got to take tons of pictures, and you better believe that I took advantage. We got to see Bag End, where Bilbo and Frodo live, and we got to see Samwise Gamgee’s hobbit hole. Toward the end of the tour, we went to the fully furnished Green Dragon for a complimentary drink. We enjoyed the Hobbit life very much, but sadly it had come to an end. We were led to the gift shop and then back on the bus. The tour was amazing and it was a beautiful day for it. I said my goodbyes to my family, as they continued on toward Rotorua and I headed back to Auckland.
I flew back with my group on Sunday morning and then had a nice and restful afternoon to myself. That night I went to Signal Hill with two of my flatmates to watch the city lights from above. This was a fun little trip and a beautiful sight to see. Then on Monday, I made some brown rice and mushroom casserole to bring to my Māori 108 shared lunch. It was really fun to eat with my classmates and to try a huge variety of food that people brought. Then that night, I went out to eat with some of my friends for some ten dollar curry. Tonight I have my final for Māori 108– a concert full of the different songs and dances we have learned throughout the semester. I am truly excited and nervous for this performance! I then have an international farewell dinner on Wednesday, an Arcadia farewell dinner on Thursday, and then I am going on another road trip for a week starting this Friday. I will give y’all an update on the upcoming week as soon as I can. I still have so much to look forward to and less than a month to do it, wish me luck!