Stalking Hobbits


Man….  Keeping up with a blog while on vacation is tough!  Especially if you’re on a “If it’s Tuesday, this must be Belguim” type of trip.  In my case, it’s “if it’s Saturday, this must be Sydney” trip.  We are seeing as much of Australia and New Zealand as we can in 23 days so we’ve been on the move.  Like really fast.  I’m exhausted.  I know – my life is so hard…

We left New Zealand yesterday at 7 AM.  I hate early morning flights.  Especially when I get up at 4 AM and my destination is two hours behind.  So it really means I got up at 2 AM “destination time”.  Am I whining too much?   Did I mention I was tired?

I wrote the below on our 3rd day in New Zealand and I naively thought I would have some free time to finish it before we left.  Clearly that didn’t happen.

So close your eyes and pretend it’s 5 days ago…

I am officially in Middle Earth.  The Land of Hobbits, Orcs and Elves. I think the Elves are sort of creepy the way they skulk around.  The location of Mt. Doom – otherwise known as Mt. Ngauruhoe to the locals on North Island.  It’s real name doesn’t seem as scary right?   Just hard to pronounce.  Lothlorien, Isengard and Fangorn Forest.  New Zealand.

I’m a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings.  I’ve read all of the books plus seen all the movies multiple times.  Like “reciting dialogue along with the movies” multiple times.  I’ve watched all of the “special features” and “making of” parts of the extended edition LOTR DVD set.  Several times.  I wish they would’ve made three movies out of The Return of the King ala Harry Potter instead of just one.  My son has a 3D HD TV that kicks ass with The Hobbit 3D BluRay DVD.  Now I’m thinking of getting a 3D TV…   Yeah – I’m a fan.

We have a half day LOTR tour set up for our visit to Queenstown.  Some of the most dramatic scenery in New Zealand is around Queenstown.  Lots and lots of LOTR movie locations close by just waiting for me.  I’m seriously afraid that a half day might not be enough to quench my thirst for Middle Earth.

I discovered quite by accident that my NZ road atlas lists all of the LOTR filming locations in New Zealand.  Happy accident indeed!  I’m dizzy with the thoughts of tracking Bilbo, Frodo and Gandalf around New Zealand.  Is it possible to stalk a fictional character?

I had to give up Hobbiton.  Our schedule is too tight.  It was a tough call.  I regretted it as soon a our train pulled out of the Hamilton train station, the stop that’s the gateway to The Shire.  Crap.

The spectacular location for Edoras, the seat of the kingdom of Rohan, is just a bit off the main scenic route into Christchurch from Queenstown.  We are driving from Queenstown to Christchurch.  But once off the main road – any main road – in New Zealand, 4 wheel drive is a must.  Mandatory.  Or your car engine will fall out.  I saw a video from a tour company that goes out to the Edoras location and the roads were like washboards.  I think they were trying to warn off people like me. I am still wondering if the Corolla we’re renting can do it…

However, I did go to one of the most sacred sites for LOTR fans – the WETA Design/Production Studio in Wellington (queue angelic harps and singing…)  There is a shrine set up for people like me called the WETA Cave.  It has all kinds of “stuff” from the LOTR and Hobbit films.  I saw a life-sized Uruk-hai. They had King Theoden’s sword and Legolas’ bow.  For crying out loud, I had my picture taken with a huge Cave Troll.  Does it honestly get any better than that?

Maybe it could.  I’ll let you know if the Corolla’s engine falls out. 


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