Saturday, April 27, 2013

Whakarewarewa and Hobbiton

April 26th
Whakarewarewa is a Maori Village.  They live together as they used to in a tribal unit at the hot springs.  Just like at Taos Pueblo in New Mexico, you pay your admission and take a guided tour. First was the performance. William says he is going to learn Haka and teach the grandboys.

The people of the village use the hot springs for bathing, cooking and washing.  The cooking is done in steam boxes that have been built throughout the village.
The guide. His name is hard to remember, so he says we can call him chief.
This cooking box had steamed pudding and chocolate pudding cooking.
really hot boiling pools.
The Pohutu geyser goes off frequently.
Welcoming visitors for over 100 years.

From here we head to the Rotorua  Museum.  A very interesting building. It was built as a bath. But the thermal water is so acidic, it just ate the place up. You can tour the old bathing areas. Tubs with the bottoms eaten out and walls scaled away. As a museum it is more successful. A good history of the Maori and an interesting art section. The movie about the 1886 earthquake is complete with physical effects. I thought I was about to fall out of my seat, it shook and bounced so much.
April 27th
Hobbiton. All you hobbit fans can just eat your hearts out.  This location has a long history. It is an old sheep farm. One of the few large farms in the area still mainly sheep. In 1999 Peter Jackson found the site and negotiated to build Hobbiton here for the Lord of the Rings Movies. The movie set was to have been taken down after filming, but it started to rain hard for months and it was impossible to demolish. In the meantime the neighbors had figured out what was here and were asking to see it. The owners were getting up to 100 people a day asking. So they negotiated with the film makers to let them keep it.  They restored what they had and began selling tours. The place was rebuilt again better by Jackson for the Hobbit movies and the owners built the Green Dragon Inn. They had to bring professional thatchers from England to do the roof. The whole thing is charming. Well worth the price of admission. They now run 2000 people a day through here, but the tours are spaced out enough so it did not seem crowded.

Sam, our guide

Barry finally gets to come on a tour. He has a great time.
looking down on the party field
Bilbo's House

The Mill

Sam's house

I had ginger beer.
The green dragon over the bar of the Inn
The Green Dragon
Our time in New Zealand is almost done. We leave for home in a few days.

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