A Travellerspoint blog

Curtis and Sara's adventures throughout New Zealand Part 5

Last day in Wellington...

Sorry I haven't updated in so long. I've been REALLY sick the past few months and I'm just now getting over it!!! I've just now realized how long it's been since I last posted an entry so I need to continue where I left off if I'm ever gonna finish this trip, LOL!!! Okay, getting on with it then...

Our last day was spent exploring the city. We went to the Te Papa museum which again, I had been to before, but it's super awesome and Curtis had to see it so that's where we went first.

The giant squid was still there:

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New Zealand floor map:

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A freaking AWESOME Maori Proverb:

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Maori weapons carved out of Jade:

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Maori Tiki Gods carved out of Jade:

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A close-up of a typical Tiki God:

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Of course, I had to get another photo of The Beatles arrival to New Zealand:

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This is something I didn't see last time. Some kind of Maori meeting house or temple. REALLY colorful:

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We then left the museum and went further downtown to see some of the government buildings like the famous Bee-Hive building:

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When The Return of the King premiered in New Zealand, the parade started from this building. AWESOME!!! Here is another building that looked pretty cool:

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That's about all the good photos we got as the sun was going down. We took the bus back to Courtnay Place and decided to have Indian food for dinner:

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That's Butter Chicken. Curtis keeps saying how he wants to go back just for Butter Chicken. It WAS really good, but not $1100.00 good. There's also a restaurant just around the corner from BASE Backpackers called "Sweet Mother's Kitchen". I went there quite often when I was living in Wellington and they are AMAZING. They have the best chips and salsa and Curtis said they had the best quesadilla that he's ever had:

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Then we went over to the Embassy Theatre for Curtis to snap some pictures. I love this theatre. It just looks so cool:

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And the inside is so fancy:

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Who is that I see on the far right???

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Hi, Mike!!!

We then went back to the hostel and down to the BASEment Bar for one last beer before we headed off to bed. Saw this on the board:

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Ah, BASEment Bar. How I miss thee...

To be continued!!!

Posted by Squarabara 20:47 Comments (0)

Curtis and Sara's adventures throughout New Zealand Part 4

Day One in New Zealand's capitol city, Wellington!!!

The next morning, Curtis and I woke up early because we had the rental car until 2 p.m. so we wanted to take advantage of it. We decided to go to none other than the Weta Cave!!! I know that you have seen loads of photos of me there before, so I won't bore you with more of them. But here are just a couple of Curtis and I standing outside:

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Curtis loved the Weta Cave but wouldn't buy anything cause he's a loser.

Next we took a drive around the bays known as "Island Bay" and "Oriental Bay".

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When you look at travel sites for New Zealand, they always show that photo for Wellington. Well I actually got to go there so HA!!! ;)

We then drove up to Mt. Victoria where there were more filming locations. I had been there already but of course Curtis had to see it, too. So we parked the car and took a walk up the hill. A very long, steep walk, to be exact. On our journey we found a swing:

Seriously. It was so scary. When it's up on a hill where the hill is going down from under you??? Forget it. Here's photos:

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Here's more of Mt. Victoria:

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How cool are those trees?!?!?!?!

So anyway, the one thing we did that I didn't do the last time I was there was walk to the very top of Mt. Victoria where they have spectacular views. So that's what we did:

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We then found out when we got to the top that we could've driven our car up there. *Sigh* Oh, well. We needed the exercise anyway. On the way down we found this dog park. We just liked the name:

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Our next stop was Cuba Street as it's one of the main areas of Wellington City AND they have really good shopping and cafes. We stopped to get some crepes:

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The crepe place was right next to this alley with like the sickest looking graffitied wall I have ever seen:

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I'm sure there's cooler but I thought that was pretty damn cool.

As we were enjoying our crepes, the power went out in the entire city. People were like huh??? And they all started to wander the streets:

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We headed more downtown to see how far the power had gone out and it went all the way to the museum:

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I started to worry a bit because I didn't know how bad it was and that night was gonna be me and Curtis' first real night out in New Zealand. We were gonna see a band play. I didn't want a power outage to ruin my night!!! But alas, four hours later and it was back on. YAY!!! We went back to the hostel, took a short nap and then started to get ready for our night out. Here we are all set to go:

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We had our first drink at BASEment Bar, of course and then headed back over to Cuba Street to a club called "The San Francisco Bath House". It was a really cool funky looking club with a nice bar and a big stage for the band. We were gonna see a New Zealand band called Six60. For not knowing anything about the band, we were pleasantly surprised. They were really good!!! They were kinda rock/reggae. This is the only good photo:

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And even that photo is not good. I just like how it looks. Here's some of Curtis and I at the show as we slowly got more retarded:

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Not a bad first day in Wellington if I do say so myself. =)

Posted by Squarabara 19:21 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Curtis and Sara's adventures throughout New Zealand Part 3

Taupo to Wellington!!!

all seasons in one day 60 °F

Our first stop out of Rotorua was Lake Taupo. About an hour and a half drive. Now, I had been to Taupo before with my friend Aki as we were passing through for me to get to Wellington. So I was already familiar with it. However, Curtis and I would just be driving through. Our first glimpse:

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We stopped for lunch here. We went to Burger Fuel. A chain of restaurants quite popular in New Zealand and Australia as well.

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Curtis and his stupid L&P.

Here was one of the signs in the bathroom:
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They pretty much say what they mean in New Zealand. For example:
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You won't find a sign like that in the states!!!

A few photos of the town and lake:

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As you leave Taupo you go around the lake and up the mountain which makes for some spectacular views:

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From this point on, Curtis and I would be taking "The Forgotten World Highway". It was recommended to me from a friend that I met in New Zealand. We met up again while I was in Australia and she told me all about it and how it's a must do. It takes you to a town called "Whangamomona". Pronounced Fun-guh-mum-uh-nuh. Crazy, I know. But it's the only part of New Zealand that is NOT part of New Zealand. It declared itself a republic back in the day. You can go there and actually get your passport stamped!!! As soon as she told me this I was all over it. I told Curtis about it and we stopped at an information center to get more info and it even has it's on pamphlet!!! It looked really awesome so we decided to go ahead and drive it.

Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side at the beginning. One of our first stops was supposed to be this spectacular 360 degree view from this lookout. This is what it looked like where we parked our car:

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We were on top of some stairs that you can climb to see this "amazing" view!!! So Curtis was like "Let's get a photo of us with this awesome view!!!"

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That is literally what he said when he took the photo which is why I'm laughing. HAHA!!!

We got back in the car and continued on. We eventually started to see signs for Whangamomona and the Forgotten World Highway:

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Now, this is where the adventure REALLY begins!!! Within the first hour of our drive on the highway, we ran into this:

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AWESOME!!! I was so stoked on it!!! Why??? Cause New Zealand is known for sheep and I've seen loads of photos of shepherds leading their sheep on the roads and not once did I get caught up in one. I think the Good Lord was looking out for me on this day!!! I was so excited!!! The sheep got confused and didn't know which way to go when we were driving through in the car. Yes... we took video!!!

HAHA!!! That was so much fun!!!

The Forgotten World Highway kind of reminded me of Jurassic Park minus the T-Rex's. And thank God for that!!!

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About halfway through there was a rest stop that had the grave of the guy who started the construction of the Forgotten World Highway. You can pull off to the side of the road and walk for about 2 minutes to his grave site which is surrounded by little rivers and bridges and beautiful foliage:

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It was so pretty there!!! We got back in the car and drove on until we came upon this:

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Okay, one... how did this bull get out of it's pen and two... how scary!!! It literally just stood there and stared us down. For about a minute. Which is a long time if you think about it. Curtis was taking too long to take the photo and I was freaking out!!! I was like "Curtis, I would like to live to get my passport stamped at Whangamomona!!!". And then the bull made a noise and I was like GET US THE HECK OUTTA HERE!!! It was so scary. Then we came upon a Hobbit Hole. Or at least, that's what it called itself:

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That was kinda scary, too.

Then FINALLY we made it to Whangamomona!!!

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Can you believe that people actually live there??? The Whangamomona Hotel was where you went if you wanted your passport stamped. So that's where we went. The guy running the place was really nice and had one of those dry sense of humors that are so highly underrated in my opinion. We got our own passports stamped and then we also bought a Whangamomona passport for 3 dollars that made us official citizens of the Republic!!! WOO-HOO!!! Curtis and I can now vote in elections and even run in them. My life is now complete. LOL!!! We got a coffee before we left. This guy made the meanest flat white I've ever had in New Zealand. It was grand. You know those signs I was talking about earlier that New Zealand has all over??? Here's another one:

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The rubbed off bit says "Which car will you piss off in tonight???" LOL!!! I love New Zealand.

We told the guy that our final destination for the day was Wellington. He said we had another 4 hours to go. UGH. We had already been in the car almost 8 hours. But we had to move on as we had hostel reservations for that night. On the road again. More photos of the beautiful New Zealand sky at sunset:

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With just a few stops on the way we finally saw the lights of Wellington in the distance:

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I know it's a stupid photo but Curtis insisted that we get a first shot of Wellington as we arrived. I actually kinda like it.

So we finally found BASE Backpackers which is where I lived and worked for 4 months the last time I was there. It was really weird to be back and only like 3 people were still there that I knew of from the first time. When I think about it, it makes me miss all the people I met there. =(

As soon as we got all our stuff situated we went down to BASEment Bar for a beer. We needed one after all that driving!!!

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And so ended our day of exploring one of New Zealand's most overlooked attractions. I recommend it!!!

Posted by Squarabara 15:56 Archived in New Zealand Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Curtis and Sara's adventures throughout New Zealand Part 2

semi-overcast 60 °F

I think I slept about 16 hours that night. We went to bed early. About 9 p.m., I believe. But I needed the sleep, so it was VERY nice.

That day, Curtis and I decided to go Zorbing. “What’s Zorbing???” is what you may be asking. THIS is Zorbing:

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Oh, yeah. You’re inside that giant ball with a lot of water rolling down a giant hill. We loved it so much Curtis even bought the photos they took of us which are as follows:

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It was so much fun and if you ever find yourself in Rotorua, New Zealand, Curtis and I highly recommend it.

Later that day we went to one of Rotorua’s many thermal pools. Rotorua has the most volcanic activity in New Zealand so you can find these places all over the city. Here’s the photos that Curtis and I took:

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Then we went down to Lake Rotorua because the hostel receptionist told us there was a Maori village there. It was really cool looking but we were then kicked off of the property as were told that you have to pay to walk around there and that it was closed for the day. Whoops!!!

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We only stayed one more night in Rotorua and the next morning we got up early so that we could go take a walk in Rotorua’s own redwood forest. Trees from the redwood forest in California were actually brought over to be planted there. It was BEAUTIUFL!!! It reminded me of walking around Endor in Return of the Jedi.

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Well, I’m gonna end this blog entry here as there are SO MANY photos that I don’t want to put too many in one entry. Don’t worry!!! I’ll have another entry soon!!!

Posted by Squarabara 22:33 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Return to Middle-Earth!!!

Curtis and Sara's trip throughout New Zealand Part 1

all seasons in one day 60 °F

Oh, for it feels SO good to revisit this blog!!! Like revisiting an old friend, if you will.

I am returning here to tell you all about my last few remaining weeks spent in New Zealand. Middle-Earth. Aotearoa. Land of the long white cloud. Oh, yes. For it is the most beautiful country on the planet!!!

I would tell you more about Sydney before I left there, but to be honest, there’s not much to tell. I was really just working so that I could buy my plane ticket home and to have money to go around New Zealand with Curtis once I got there. Although I didn’t get to see any of Australia, I will say that Sydney is an AWESOME city and I met some very cool people there. I would like to go back and see more of the country. Being that it’s so huge, there’s a LOT to see.

Actually, I can tell you about this. One of the few things I ACTUALLY did.

There is a museum in Sydney called “The Powerhouse Museum” and there was an exhibit there called “The 80’s Are Back”. Being a product of the 80’s myself, I had to go. I later found out that they had on display there one of Michael Jackson’s diamond gloves and his black sparkly jacket that he wore for Motown 25, when he performed Billie Jean live for the first time and also did the moonwalk for the first time. AWESOME!!! Here's a photo from that performance. It's really just an excuse to post a photo of Michael Jackson but you never know, some people might not have seen it!!!

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I met up with another Michael Jackson fan that I met online. Her name is Rianaa and she is the sweetest girl!!! Here are some of the photos that we took while we were there:

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The 80's albums wall. There's Thriller!!!

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There's BAD!!!

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Michael Jackson collecting cards.

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Michael Jackson doll. I own this, I own this!!!

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Me with Michael.

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The jacket and glove. Sweeeeeeeeeet.

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THE GLOVE.

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The jacket!!!

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Me with Thriller.

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Me and Rianaa with Thriller.

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Me with the glove. I love this one!!! I can't believe I was that close to it, ACK!!!

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The whole display.

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Me with Mike, again.

My roommate, Carolina, came with me also. And can I just say, that out of all the people I have shared a room with on my travels, she has been the best roommate I have EVER had. She’s from Peru and she is such a sweetheart. I hope that I get to see her again.

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This is Carolina.

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Me and Rianna at the end of the day.

I also had a last night out with my housemates. Here's some photos from that night:

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Sid, me and Carolina. Sid is from India.

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Sid has a thing for women's necks. I wasn't the only one he was doing that to!!!

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Kamila, me, Sid, Erica and Octavio.

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Carolina, me, Erica, Kamila. The two girls on the right are from Brazil.

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Octavio, Sid, me, Carolina, Kamila.

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Carolina, Octavio, me.

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Sid and Carolina. See???

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Carolina and Octavio. Peru and Brazil represent!!!

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Sid and Octavio.

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Carolina and Sid.

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Me, Kamila and Carolina.

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My friend Johanna stopped by to see me off. She's from Sweden.

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Carolina and me.

Okay, so anyways. Back to New Zealand!!!

Curtis and I have been planning this trip since way back in the day so it was nice to actually finalize the trip. Like buying and reserving things and all that fun stuff that comes with planning a trip. It did get a bit tedious at times. Oh the amount of hours we spent on the phone!!! Curtis spent a lot of money calling me.

Curtis bought his plane ticket and it arrived at 6:30 in the morning on April 19th. My plan was to get a flight from Sydney to Auckland to meet him at the airport and coordinate it the best that I could. The closest flight that I could get to the time that he was coming in was 11:30 the previous night. UGH!!! That was the one I had to go with and I made the decision to spend the night in the airport because it would so not be worth paying for a ride to a hostel, paying for a hostel and then paying for a ride BACK to the airport just to meet up with Curtis. NOT WORTH IT. I’d rather stay in the airport on my laptop and fight to keep myself awake until Curtis arrived. Which is what I did. I spent the time creating the ultimate road trip playlist to listen to in our rental car. I called it “Goin’ Places: The Ultimate Road Trip Playlist” and it is, by far, the ultimate road trip play list. I think I shall keep it forever.

Curtis finally arrived and we got all our things and went to pick up our rental car. Curtis kept saying “Sara, I’m in New Zealand”. Yeah, I know, Curtis. So am I. So, by this time, I’ve been up for almost 24 hours and the adrenaline is kicking in. Because that’s what I needed to run on if I wanted to stay awake. We planned A LOT in the first day. After picking up our rental car we were then gonna drive to the small town of Matamata which is where they filmed all of the Shire scenes for the Lord of the Rings films and then from there drive to one of New Zealand’s bigger cities called Rotorua. It’s in that city that we had our first hostel booked. Here’s photos of our rental car experience:

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In the shuttle from the airport to the rental car place.

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Curtis' first time driving on the other side of the road, haha!!!

Neither of us had eaten so we stopped at one of New Zealand’s many road side cafes, The Pink Pig:

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It was in this cafe that Curtis discovered the drink “L&P” which he would continue to drink throughout the entire trip.

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Half an hour later, we made it to Matamata where we had a reservation to do a Shire tour. As you enter the town, this is what you see:

welcome to hobbiton

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They are quite proud of themselves for being the town that houses the Shire. Good on ‘em!!! Curtis and I took photos:

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On our way to the set:

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This is the map they provide you to see where everything used to be.

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Curtis is excited.

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Loads more sheep, as usual.
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They were building up the set again for “The Hobbit”!!! SO EXCITING!!! It hasn’t even been given the green light yet but we saw them working on it. YAY!!!

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This one is where they are putting "The Green Dragon" back in!!!

Here’s photos of Curtis and I on the set:

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The party tree!!! ACK!!!
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This is the pathway that Gandalf drives his cart through, right before the Hobbit children run up to him asking for fireworks!!!
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A close-up of the party tree.
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The pathway up to Bag End!!!
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This was when I actually lost it. Not only was I incredibly delirious but I couldn't believe that I was inside BAG END!!!
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This is my favorite shot!!!
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Inside looking out. Party tree on the right!!!
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This is the window that Gandalf pulls Samwise through when he is eavesdropping.
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This picture turned out great but it makes me puke. It's like Curtis and I are a newlywed couple and we just picked out our new home. Gag.
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We tried out our own forced perspective shots!!! One of the many techniques used in the films to make the hobbits look small!!!

After the tour we got to go to a wool shed and watch this HOT KIWI BOY sheer a sheep. It was awesome. Mainly because of his arms. They were like Wolverine’s arms. Yum...

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And then he proceeded to shave this guys head who was on the tour with us!!!

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Then we got to feed baby lambs. ACK!!! SO CUTE!!!

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The tour altogether was about 2 hours and I was SO HAPPY that I FINALLY got to see the Shire. I could NOT leave New Zealand without seeing it, it was amazing.

Afterwards we headed on to Rotorua. I was eager to check in to the hostel and take a shower as I had then been up for 36 hours. We made really good time since we left so early. It was still light out when we reached Rotorua. We even saw a rainbow:

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The first of many that we would see on our trip. And we stayed at “Rotorua Central Backpackers” which was a VERY nice hostel. Clean, nice rooms, friendly staff. I highly recommend them.
We went out to get a bite to eat and had our first drink in New Zealand. Well, Curtis’ first drink, anyway. We each had a Speights. It’s a New Zealand beer and it’s quite tasty.

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We then headed back to the hostel and by this time I was delirious from lack of sleep, everything was funny. Actually, I think it was because I hadn’t been around Curtis for so long, I forgot how animated he was and everything HE was doing was funny:

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And so ends our first VERY LONG DAY in New Zealand.

Day two and other days soon to come!!!

Don’t worry. There will be loads of updates as we took 2,000 photos. Holy crap!!!

Posted by Squarabara 23:45 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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