One of the stops on the cruise was Tauranga. There’s a famous beach town called Mount Maunganui in the area but we merely drove past it (v. pretty with lotsa nice houses) because we were set to visit Hobbiton, the sheep farm/set where they shot the LoTR and Hobbit movies. It was about an hour and a half drive away from the port.
Our guide at Hobbiton told us that one reason Peter Jackson chose this specific area to shoot the movies was that for large swaths of it, you do not see any roads or power and telephone lines. This photo that I took on the way there shows this to be true.
Sheep farming is THE industry in this area.
Obligatory tourist shots.
The place is spectacular.
But we were told that a lot of things were not real. Like this tree above Bag End. Apparently all the leaves were painstakingly stuck onto the iron tree frame by film students from the area.
Going there and back to the port took us a good part of the only day we have at this place but it was well worth it. 🙂