While going down south, we crossed Auckland again and met with our friends Sami and Ed who invited us to dinner at their place. It was a great evening of beers and exchange of NZ stories.
Back to the road, this time our destiny was Tauranga.
There is a high mount called Manganui from which you can see both sides of the coast.
It began to rain, so we decided to get in the car towards Matamata to fulfil one of our dreams; to visit Hobbiton. There’s a huge farm in the middle of nowhere where both The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit were shot. The family, after struggling with some contract issues, was able to keep it alive for people to visit (and make a fortune). We definitely couldn’t miss it. We were astonished by how much money and time they spent on building such an amazing set. Many things took months of work by an entire specialist crew, only to appear for some seconds in the extended version.
We took a two hour guided tour, and were super lucky of being only 4 of us since normally there are groups of 35 people.
The tour ends drinking a beer at The Green Dragon, Really Great Plan!
It hadn’t stop raining and the day was ending when we started heading towards Raglan, a small beachside town located 48 km west of Hamilton.
Raglan is best known for its surf.
Eight kilometres from the township a series of left point breaks line up. The well known ones are Indicators, Whale Bay, Manu Bay and Vortex Bay.
There is also a 30 minute gravel road that takes you to a small farming community called Ruapuke. It has a really long beach as well as good waves when the direction isn’t right for the points.
The art scene is also remarkable. There are two Photography Galleries and small art studios as well. The visual artists hold regular exhibitions at the Raglan Old School Art Centre and it has a Film Festival as well on September.
So at the end we might have fallen a little bit in love with this town, and gotten stuck for a few days.
Today we are saying goodbye to Raglan and hit the road to Taupo!