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

Carried away in Carterton

Getting carried away for us was rising before 6am on a Friday morning to hook up the caravan and head to Carterton. We were keen to see hot air balloons lift off at 7am as part of the Wairarapa Balloon Festival*. The ballonists got carried away on a beautiful March morning. It’s definitely a sport for early risers, we won’t be taking it up any time soon.

Balloons getting ready to rise in Carterton

Hot air balloons getting ready to rise in Carterton

Mike Pero's flying house with a rooftop cat

Mike Pero’s flying house with a rooftop cat

Floating away in the early morning light

Floating away in the early morning light

The big attraction at the 2014 event was … Read the rest

On a sweet trail in Auckland – Part One

Giapo, 279 Queen Street – ‘The Plated Cone’
Take your flatmate or your family of four, the plated cone is a whopper. We dubbed ours American Samoa – Mike chose California Pistachio gelato and I chose Siamu Popo – flavours of Samoa including coconut milk and lime juice.

One scoop of each gelato went into a waffle cone covered in chocolate. The cone was encircled by a large, thin, chocolate plate that tasted like a yummy chocolate wheaten biscuit. The plate was covered in hazlenuts and dotted with chocolate swirls. The whole shebang was topped with a macaron, and a … 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

Ring the Westminster Chimes at The Faraday Centre in Napier

The Faraday Centre is a historical technology museum, it’s a hands on sort of place so you get to push, pull and make stuff go, not just look at it. You’ll find all sorts of weird and intriguing things like a Uranus electric mouse trap, a dishwasher from 1925, a 1907 Rover car, and old and unusual typewriters.

Ring the Westminster Chimes at The Faraday Centre

Ring the Westminster Chimes at The Faraday Centre

You can use the pneumatic conveyor system that once transferred money in cannisters through a series of pipes around Westerman’s Department Store in Hastings. Curiously, C1 Espresso in Christchurch are using a similar system … Read the rest

I wanted to be a prawn star …

… like Casey from Auckland who caught a 43.5cm long prawn at Huka Prawn Park in Taupo. After 3.5 hours of fishing I thought I’d have to settle for being a prawn star photographer as all I’d done was photograph other peoples prawns and feed fish that were continually stripping my hook of bait.

Casey's catch

Casey’s catch

However I kept baiting and kept waiting and after four hours I finally hooked a prawn. Did I taste success?

I was so excited .... a prawn at last

I was so excited …. a prawn at last

No, I looked at my little prawn and thought about how Mike had eaten some … Read the rest

Smash Palace Bar, Gisborne

The name Smash Palace gives an indication of what to expect – think a guy called Gazza getting a liquor licence for his second hand shop / wreckers yard and inviting his mates around for a party. There’s a pool table, Lion Red on tap and a mix of soft and hard rock on the sound system. Smash turns it up mid January for the annual rock and metal event – Hell Smash Fest.

Welcome to Smash Palace, Gisborne

Welcome to Smash Palace, Gisborne

Smash Palace, Gisborne

Smash Palace, Gisborne

Outdoor seating at Smash Palace

Outdoor seating at Smash Palace

Smash Palace, Gisborne

Smash Palace, Gisborne

One of Gazza’s mates has conveniently landed a DC3 in … Read the rest

A new breed of boy racer?

Remove the blades, add some more horse power, make it loud and low, give it a name like MowJo, and you’re on your way to having a race ready ride-on mower.

Ride-on lawn mower race at Rotorua A&P Show

Ride-on lawn mower race at Rotorua A&P Show

When I saw lawn mower racing on the programme at the Rotorua A & P show last year, I thought it was a one off event unique to Rotorua. Not so, the first ride-on mower races were held in 2003 at the Omokoroa School gala, ride-on mowers meet regularly at the Sanson rugby park, and race at the Manawatu Garden FestivalRead the rest