We woke up this morning to the tune of singing birds, nut looking out throughout the window didn’t yield the nice view we were hoping for. Grey overcast skies with a chance of rain were to be the weather for this day.

Whangamata was destined to receive a few drops of rain over the next few days, which meant that us leaving was going to be a good idea. We don’t like rain during our holiday! 🙂
The destination for today is Rotorua, or Rotovegas, as the locals affectionately call it.

But first, another stop has to be made. Back home, we made reservations for a tour starting in Matamata. This trip tours the movie set for all Hobbit movies, and also was the location for all hobbit related shots in the three movies of Lord of the Rings.
The set is left full intact, just the way it used to be when shooting the Hobbit movies.
It now has more tourists. 😉

The movie set is strangely fascinating, in ways we never though it would. The site is very scenic in itself, and adding the movie set just creates a fascinatingly weird sense of oddity. We tourists don’t belong there, it is home to the Hobbits!
While you know everything is fake and just an outer shell, the attention to detail while creating the scenes is staggering. It includes beaten paths to laundry (by real people, over time), Hobbit holes in various sizes and scales (60%, 90%), a completely fake tree (built, painted and repainted after a year) and a field in a location which used to be a swamp.
It also is really expensive, but totally worth the visit. Trust me!

After this trip down to Tolkien’s imagination, a short drive took us via very curvy roads to New Zealand’s most visited town: Rotorua.
Famous for its geothermal activity the town is dotted with small geysers, mud pools and boiling pits of water. It also is really touristic, hence the local nickname of Rotovegas. The people even have erected a similar sign right at the start of the town!
We ended the walk through the local park with the geysers, mud pools and pits of boiling, smelly, water. Also, we dined at a place called Fat Dog before retiring to the Robertsons House B&B. built back in the 1880’s it again is a colonial style wooden house lovingly maintained by its current owner. Hat tip to John for giving us inspiration for the walk this afternoon!

Tomorrow, more smelly water, geysers and walks, we are off to see the region’s most famous places: the thermal parks!