Thursday, March 24, 2011


Matamata is the town that has Hobbiton from Lord of the Rings. So yes, it is like Rolo, Saskatchewan, famous town of Corner Gas.

We hopped on the bus with our tour guide, a shaved Gandalf-type. BEFORE we left of course, we had to read and understand our confidentiality form. This is bad news for you, but great news for us. Bad news is, we'd get sued if we posted pictures here, so this is all you get:

Ok, here's one more at the silly thing at the visitor centre. Note I wore my hobbitest clothes for the occasion. And my hair is always like a hobbit's.

Good news for us was that because they are going to start filming the Hobbit soon (thus the confidentiality), the tour is not worthless now, it's absolutely beautiful! Our tour guide was great, and super specific (ie "remember how Gandalf drives in and the kids are disappointed and then he sets off fireworks? THAT IS THE VERY BRANCH IN THAT SCENE!" Or, "This is the exact spot where Bilbo did such and such and then he says exact quote").

The hobbit holes are completely real. Well, you can't go in them all, but the brick is brick, rock is rock, gardens are gardens, etc. It's also completely accurate to the books. For example, in the book there are little plum trees, but NZ's plum trees are too tall, so they have a real pear tree planted and they stuck a bunch of plums on it.

Caryn bought The Hobbit within the hour after the tour and we are reading it out loud to each other. We rented and watched LOTR's 1 as soon as we could find a place with a DVD player. It was a nice way to relax after our Tongariro crossing hike (and fitting - the hike is Mt Doom!).

Beautiful spot, Hobbiton. I could live there.


  1. March 24, 2011

    Hi, Ali and Caryn:

    So, first things first: I’m so happy that you are having such a wonderful trip! You are just the best travellers! And second first things first (!): I apologise for being so slow to get on top of this “commenting”. OK, the truth will out: I got a little intimidated. But I’ve got Rachael holding my hand, and here goes. I’m inspired by Michelle! Your sister, Caryn. And Kath! And Rachael! They are very good commenters!

    I’ve been reading your blog. So I did know that you are safe and sound. I am so glad. And just now, I sat down and re – read the whole blog and all the comments. So I’m one up to date Auntie. You did have a nice trip to Guatemala! And cool, you met a band in the airport, Ali! I wonder how you figured out that they were the band. But Rachael met her blogger in the hotel in Havana. And what a good idea to make a labyrinth in the sand. Speaking of a light environmental footprint! Brisbane, Byron Bay. Oh, such exotic travel names. Surfing, Caryn! I didn’t know you were quite so clever! And dolphins. Oh, darlings. I’d love to see them. Cute seems to be a theme, and I did think Ali won the prize for cute with the kangaroo and koala. What I want to know, are koalas and kangaroos as fantastical as they’ve always seemed? I thought your limes were terribly funny! And I’m desperate to go to the Art Museum. Cute again in the balloons. And the art in Cairns -- just absolutely lovely. Good niecies, going to art galleries. Stone carving in Sydney looked pretty great, too. Though I did just watch 127 hours: be careful in them there rocks! My personal trainer LOVED the movie! What Opera did you attend? Ha Ha. Well, the opera house looks so elegant, and you saw it! Too bad about mardi gras. And you’re driving in New Zealand. Clever women. I too have not made it past page 5 of Room, but have every plan to carry on. Regardless. Speaking of narrators, also watched Never Let Me Go, from the K. Ishuguro novel, and Ali, your Mom loved him, loved his “unreliable narrator” voice. And that is a good movie, again an unreliable narrator. I wouldn’t recommend it, however; it stays in your head far too long, too heart – rending. Oh, how I longed to call your Mom, Ali, and TOTALLY discuss that movie. It would’ve been – at a bare minimum – a 4 hour conversation. More! We would’ve THRASHED IT OUT. And called the next day with just one or two more ideas.… oh, how I miss your Mom… There. Onto Tua Tua. Spectacular, is all I can say. AND I must get on the next plane. Beautiful. Coromandel sounded like fun, and Hobbiton so sweet, and then you’re reading to each other, soooooo sweet! Well, I’m sure one is supposed to “comment” more briefly. But would you please take into account my novice status….

    We’re fine. Winter. Snow. Same old Calgarians. We get a warm day in March, think it’s spring, then we’re so maaaaadddd because it snows again, and we all know, it is not spring until May, sometimes even later. Snow. Very, very beautiful. Fluffy. Soft. Not spring! Loved, loved Havana. Wanted to stay, cried when I left! Crazy, eh. But I LOVED it, loved Haberneros. Grandma is fine. Ken and I are playing at a bridge tournament this weekend! Thinkin’ about what we’ll do for summer. Love you both to bits, and glad, glad, glad that you’re having a lovely, lovely time. Your blog is very neat! (Auntie) Pat

  2. Wow, Pat puts the rest of us commentators to shame!

    This is COOL. You two were so lucky to catch Hobbiton in all it's glory for the filming! I am quite excited for the movie.

    The other day I got up, ate breakfast and went to work. At the end of my shift (9AM) Em texted and invited me to have waffles at her place. So I joined her for second breakfast! We decided that anytime your life resembles that of a Hobbit, things are not so bad.