Hobbiton, New Zealand

Hobbiton was the film set for The Lord of the Rings in 1999. It is a beautiful sheep and cattle ranch on the North Island of New Zealand. Director Peter Jackson thought it had the perfect green rural valley look for the homes of those delightful hobbits . They put in 37 hobbit holes and decorated them with gardens and hedges. It is an interesting site for any Rings fans.

But it was not built to last and after filming it was partially torn down after filming. In 2010 , it was rebuilt in a more permanent fashion for the filming of the movie The Hobbit. Now, it has been converted into a tourist destination. The tour we took was about 2 hours long. We had a very nice tour guide. who filled us in on stories about filming the movies and other funny tidbits about the set.

Our handsome tour guide
View of the lake and the main buildings at Hobbiton

It was an interesting tour and well worth the time and money. We thought it was the best tour that we took in New Zealand. Here are some photos from the tour.

You can see how each house was dressed to suggest a individual who lived there
At Bilbo ‘s house, his pipe and journal
Hobbit laundry drying is the sun
The water mill on the lake in Hobbiton.

We would highly recommend this for any visitor to New Zealand, it is a must see. The tour ends in the Green Dragon Inn, with an (included) cup of beer, wine, or ginger beer.

Hobbiton is only a couple of hours from Auckland, and Rotorua, our next stop, is only an hour more, so it was convenient to visit on the way.

Auckland ,the Sky Tower, Howick Historical Village

We landed in Auckland. This trip was a sightseeing trip and it did not include any pet sits. The three of us took an uber to our hotel which was in the center of the city right by the Sky Tower. David got us rooms on the 22nd floor and we could see all of downtown Auckland from our room. Here is the the view of the Sky Tower from our bedroom.

We walked over to it the next day. There is an observation deck that is 360 degrees round. You can look down on the city, and the harbor from there.

Under the top deck there is a restaurant and a snack bar. We got a gelato and sat in the Sky Cafe until the sun set.

Linda and Dave in the Sky Cafe
Sandi, David and Linda

It was good that we went up the tower that day because the day after we left they had a fire on the roof of the convention center that was being built right behind the tower. The smoke was so heavy that we would have had to stay in our hotel for the day. It was a sad day for Auckland.

The next day in Auckland we went to Howick Historical Village. I love to visit this type of historical museum that has houses and exhibits that explain country’s historical time. “Howick Historical village  is a re-creation of a New Zealand colonial village using houses and cottages saved from the surrounding Auckland suburb of Howick. ” ( Wikipedia) The English government offered retired soldiers and their families (called Fencible soldiers ) free passage to New Zealand, a house and an acre of land for 7 years of service in 1847. Their main service was to attend military parades every Sunday.

In 1962 the local historical society decided to put this village together with cottages and buildings that were still around the area.

It was a bright and sunny day; perfect to see the village and the reenactors that were bringing this history to life.

Musicians playing historical instruments in front of a house
A local Maori house that some settlers lived in until their cottages could be built
Period oven where a lady was baking bread
A man using an original printing press from the 1850s
Morris dancers
School house where we sat for a school lesson
It was Spring in New Zealand the the chicks were just born
The village court house

We spent an enjoyable afternoon exploring this historical village. The next day we were off to Hobbiton, the set for the Hobbit movies and The Ring trilogy.

Off to New Zealand by way of a cruise from San Francisco

We were so excited to start our cruise to New Zealand from San Francisco. We spent three days touring the city before we got on the Golden Princess to start our 20-day cruise to Auckland. We were travelling with my sister, Sandi for the trip. Our cabin was an aft cabin that had a wonderful balcony on the back of the ship.

Our cabin was on the back of the ship

It was exciting to see our ship go under the Golden Gate Bridge. I took this photo of it.

We were at sea for several days and finally arrived in Hilo on the big island of Hawaii. We got off the ship and rented a car and drove down to the Kilauea volcano. It was almost completely closed because of the volcano’s eruptions last year. So we drove down the coast to see the black sand beach where the sea turtles rest on the sand.

The pond by the black sand beach

Linda and Sandi at the black sand beach
One of the turtles resting in the sand

Next day we called at Honolulu where we visited the summer palace and walked around Waikiki. We had lunch at Duke’s, which we do whenever we find ourselves near one of their locations.

After six more days at sea, we arrived at the island of Bora Bora. The color of the sea was extraordinary. The variations of blues were stunning. We took a boat out to the lagoon to snorkel in the crystal blue waters.

A local man anchoring a snorkel boat in a lagoon

The next day we landed in Tahiti. It is another beautiful island . We took a bus tour around the island to see their historical sites and beautiful beaches.

These local musicians greeted us as we left the ship
One of the local ducks
A view of one of the many beautiful beaches on Tahiti

After a few more days we landed in American Samoa. There was not much to do on this island. We went off and walked around the city. It was very hot and muggy and it rained. We, and about 60 other passengers, visited McDonald’s to try to use their WiFi. It was a little, umm, slow. I did get a good photo of a beach as we left.

We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary on the ship on Oct. 13. We had a special dinner in one of the specialty restaurants on board.

After a total of twenty days on the Golden Princess (and crossing the international date line), we arrived in the modern city of Auckland, New Zealand. We spend two nights in a hotel on the 22nd floor in downtown Auckland. Here is a photograph from our hotel room of the Auckland skyline. That’s the Sky Tower, which we visited on Sunday evening. You might have read about the big fire that erupted at the adjacent convention center the day after we left.

I will continue the story of the two weeks we spent touring New Zealand before flying home to Los Angeles.