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New Zealand Travels

Christmas in New Zealand 2017. It was a bit of a turbulent beginning to our trip and not due to cloud storms while flying. Someone assumed we were flying out of Narita airport. It wasn’t until the lady at the check in counter pointed out our tickets stated Haneda. Oh my word, we raced over to the bus stop, and an hour later made in to Haneda airport. We were the last passengers to check in. Think Home Alone craziness. We were escorted through the staff and cabin crew security area, and then a taxi cab drove us through to our gate. You know the type that are for elderly and disabled, not three abled passengers who are running late. Quite embarrassing, because my oversight caused many assertive employees to rush around and work harder. Thank God for the impeccable work ethic Japan holds. We arrived safe and sound in Auckland, but I opened my suitcase to read the note that my lithium camera batteries had been confiscated. Cursing my blasé attitude to traveling! At least, they weren’t expensive Canon ones and, I have one battery (not confiscated) in my camera body. We will search in Auckland for a spare. Or two.

Hobbiton and Waitomo Glowworm Caves I shall now be residing in Hobbiton. Please forward my mail to the red door with the wheelbarrow of vegetables in front of it. It was fantastic, just as I’d imagined it would be. The details were phenomenal and precise. I loved seeing lace curtains in the windows with a vase or jug on the window sill. The laundry on the clothes line, the fishmonger’s house, the honey on the table, the cheese hobbit hole; all delightful details. Best of all was the pipe and papers on the bench outside Mr. Baggins’ Bag End on the Hill. Perfect, just perfect. Down the lane, passed Samwise Gamgee’s hole, and over the Brandywine river to the Green Dragon for a tipple of ginger ale, cider or beer as you can only get in Hobbiton. The books on the shelves in the inn were just the right amount of dusty. The fires were lit. Cozy little hobbit nooks comfortably set with cushions. Notices and announcements posted up on wooden beams. A row of cloaks and bonnets hanging near the door. Just the right number of sunbeams filtering through the round windows. It was lovely, but I wish (selfishly) I could have stretched that 2 hour tour to a half day tour! We raced from Hobbiton over to Orotohunga towards the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. I’d seen a Pinterest post on the Caves and they looked so magical and ethereal I had to add it to the itinerary. It was most certainly worth it! We had to change our booking time, as we ran out of gas. It was a frantic 15km of praying on a yellow light and an ever decreasing quarter of a tank to the fated E of empty. We made it! Going from a $20 full tank to $125 is a wee bit steep to get used to, especially with all the driving we’ve yet to do. A pack of noodles between three for dinner it is from now on! The Caves were pretty spectacular, but nothing surpassed the beautiful blue glow of those worms (not in fact flies, but worms, but who would pay to go see flies?!) We sat in awed silence (and instructed silence) in boats: in almost darkness apart from the glow of the worms above