Today, I left Auckland and arrived in the small town of Matamata. Only about 6,000 people they say... There are far more sheep here than people. My camp site was further away than my phone contact had reported, so the gals at the I-site moved up my Hobbiton tour time, let me stow my gear at the shop so I would only have to get a trip out once. Seriously, New Zealanders are so nice!
In the blink of an eye, off I went to the Shire! Movie magic makes everything look bigger and grander, but it was a beautiful place! Rolling green hills and trees, sheep and angus cows (yum) foraging about... But aside from all that, I got to see Hobbit holes!!! The LOTR nerd in me was thrilled! I have seen the movies more times than I like to admit. I probably could give a tour myself, ha! The hills were a bummer for the knee but it was a slow tour with lots of picture takin so I had the time to take it slow. I saw Bag End, ate and drank (free ale guys!) at The Green Dragon. I took pictures at Samwise Gamgee's home in the final movie and got pictures of the party tree at Bilbo's birthday... It was surreal and I wished I could really live there. It was so alive and vibrant and was possibly the best smelling place I have ever been in the world.
I returned to civilization. What a drag. The kind ladies got a hold of the one can in town and I caught a ride out to the holiday park to pitch my tent. When I asked about a ride the next morning, I found to my dismay that he did not operate on Sunday. So tomorrow I take off early in the morning to allow myself a nice slow 7-8 km walk back to the bus stop. We will see how the knee holds up with the bag again for a few miles. I might try my hand at hitch hiking too. Can't hurt, right?
Tomorrow I am off to Rotorua to go zorbing, maybe check out this Agridome that is across the street from it. The next morning will have me at Waitomo Glowworm Caves and back again to see what else I can pack into my time before I move on to Taupo. My time is running out much sooner than I would have wished. I find myself wanting to stay here, live here, explore. But adulthood awaits me! Onward soldier, onward!