Feasting at Hobbiton – Evening Banquet Tour

Let’s get into it – The Evening Banquet Tour includes a tour of Hobbiton Movie Set and costs $190 for an adult. Our tour started at 4.30pm from Shires Rest Cafe where we boarded a bus to Hobbiton. Our guide Belinda then took us on a guided tour through the magical Shire.

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour - I want to live here

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour – I want to live here

We arrived at The Green Dragon Inn around 6pm, chose our complimentary beverage, then waited for the big feast reveal at 6.30pm.

The Green Dragon Inn from afar (photo taken during the day)

The Green Dragon Inn from afar (photo taken during the day)

The curtains were parted to … Read the rest

High Tea at Zealong Tea Estate

If the sun’s shining at Zealong Tea Estate near Hamilton it’s nice to sit outside under an umbrella overlooking rows of lush tea plants. Zealong is New Zealand’s only tea plantation and the five flavours of tea produced are certified organic.

Oolong tea leaves can be used up to 8 times

Oolong tea leaves can be used up to 8 times

Tea is the star of the show at Zealong, but lunch and high tea are also served. A Signature High Tea and a Classic High Tea were on the menu for us. Tea is infused in a lot of the small dishes that make up the high tea, including … Read the rest

Waitomo Big Bird B&B

Before getting to Waitomo Big Bird B&B I’m going to put some context around our B&B (bed and breakfast) experiences to date. Our first B&B stay was in Northland six years ago, we were so impressed with the quality of the property that we decided to stay in B&Bs more often. All B&Bs are not created equal though which is part of their appeal, and on occasion, our disappointment. Sea Breeze B&B in Napier stands out as our favourite and it’s the most immaculate B&B we’ve stayed in, our least favourite cost $255 a night and we didn’t think it … Read the rest

House truck stay in Waitomo

I’m a fan of house trucks and after a night at Wacky Stays in Kaikoura I came home and Googled house truck stays in the North Island and found Waitomo Farmstay and Gardens. In late March we booked a night in their big house truck with its rusting Thames Trader cab and higgeldy-piggeldy designed living space on the back.

House truck at Waitomo Farmstay and Gardens

House truck at Waitomo Farmstay and Gardens

The interior of the house truck is full of honey coloured wood and there’s a good sized kitchen and a couple of couches to sit on. As the truck is now in its … Read the rest

Classics Museum in Hamilton

Plenty of Kiwi blokes have sheds, but not many sheds house a multi million dollar collection of classic cars and automobilia. Hamilton businessman Tom Andrews has turned his shed into the Classics Museum at 11 Railside Place. We counted more than 60 cars plus motor bikes, petrol station memorabilia, and a treasure trove of bonnet emblems, badges, tricycles and pedal cars. The vehicles on display come from the Andrews’s private collection as well as car clubs.

1947 Packard painted Envy Green

1947 Packard painted Envy Green

I’ve picked a selection of some of the more unusual vehicles in the museum like the 1964 Model 770 … Read the rest

Horsing around in Cambridge

Seeing wild Kaimanawa horses on their own turf will be at the top of my bucket list when I make one. My dream came a step closer recently when I met 16 year old Jose. Jose was a wild Kaimanawa stallion at 4 years old, now he’s as quiet as they come – put up an umbrella near him, stand on his back, drag something behind him, he’s not bothered.

Jose, a Kaimanawa horse at the Horse Magic Show in Cambridge

Jose, a Kaimanawa horse at the Horse Magic Show in Cambridge

Jose was part of the Horse Magic Show at Cambridge Thoroughbred Lodge. Riden by ringmaster for the show, and … Read the rest

The Green Dragon Inn – Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

“Oh, you can search far and wide, You can drink the whole town dry, But you’ll never find a beer so brown, As the one we drink in our hometown …” so goes a song written by the film writers of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The Green Dragon Inn from afar

The Green Dragon Inn from afar

Take a seat outside The Green Dragon Inn on a summers day

Take a seat outside The Green Dragon Inn on a summers day

If you like dark beer the Oakbarton brew may be your choice of complimentary beverage at The Green Dragon Inn. You visit The Green Dragon for about 20* minutes as part of a Hobbiton Movie Read the rest

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to”, so wrote J.R.R. Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings.

Our favourite Hobbiton photo

Our favourite Hobbiton photo

After visiting the Hobbiton Movie Set I can see why the hobbits were content with life in The Shire, but I’m glad we ventured out our door and onto the road to Matamata.

Hobbiton themed Matamata i-SITE

Hobbiton themed Matamata i-SITE

Lots of people start their tour from Matamata i-SITE, however there is plenty of parking at Hobbiton … Read the rest

Royal Tour: The Duke & Duchess come to Cambridge

One of my aunts has a photo of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. The photo was taken at Wanganui Airport in 1983 during her Royal Tour with Princes Charles and baby Prince William. I used to look at the photo as I was growing up and think ‘wow, the Prince and Princess went to Wanganui’. While in Wanganui they visited Prince Edward who was a house tutor at Wanganui Collegiate which I thought was pretty wow too.

The Duke & Duchess arrive at the Cambridge Town Hall

The Duke & Duchess arrive at the Cambridge Town Hall

Thirty one years later Prince William has returned to New Zealand with … Read the rest

Running of the Sheep in Te Kuiti

Te Kuiti bills itself as the ‘Shearing Capital of the World’ and has a 7.5 tonne sheep shearing statue to prove it. What gives the town more shearing capital kudos is that David Fagan, a multiple World and NZ Champion Shearer, is a local. David’s son Jack followed him into the woolshed, he’s a gun shearer too, so Te Kuiti should hold its title for a while yet. Every year Te Kuiti hosts the NZ Shearing Championships where you may see one or both shearers at work.

Shearing statue in Te Kuiti

Shearing statue in Te Kuiti

If you visit the shearing statue you’ll … Read the rest