Friday, February 12, 2016

Hobbiton, Lugeing, and a Maori Performance at the Mitai Village in Rotorua, NZ

Hello Everyone,

We are still here in Rotorua and are trying to get as much of our fill of the tourism that we can handle.  Yesterday was a long day of car rides and tours but it was all worth it.

We started off with some school in the morning and then packed our lunches and hit the road again.  We started off with a Hobbiton tour.  This in jokingly I told the kids was their math field trip.  One of the really neat things about the Hobbiton tour is they tell you all about how they filmed the Hobbit and the behind the scenes secrets..  It is all a game of ratio's and scales.  "No Amaia, all the people really aren't that tiny and that ginormous."  They are all just people and they staged them during the shoots at different levels and different size doors to make them seem bigger or smaller.  If you were playing a hobbit you had to be 5'4" or smaller, that was the only main criteria.  They told us for the one scene where Gandolf is coming in to Hobbiton on his wagon with the fireworks and Frodo is riding along side him.  Frodo is actually sitting 3 rows back in the wagon to make him seem so small.  They attached a camera on the front of the wagon to get that shot and it had to line up perfectly.  Anyway it was a perfect day to go along with everyone else in New Zealand and tour the sites.  It really is a very busy place and Chris and I are realizing how we really like the remote locations that don't have to bus people in and do the cattle call thing, but once in a while you just have to move with the herd.

Bilbo's House

Kids learning Math lesson for the day.. Ratios and scales

Sam and Rosie's hobbit house

I need to get better at the selfies... sorry Amaia we can just see the top of your head... :@(

It is obviously a set and you can't actually go into any of the Hobbit homes because it is only the front and the hobbit village scenery that you walk through but the gardening and the decorations out side to show that it was a cheese makers house, or the potter, or the fish monger, and such were really cute.

There were two funny tid bits I got out of it.  The director wanted the set to seem as real life as possible during filming so they had hired a lady to come around and put laundry up in the morning and take it down in the afternoon so it seemed like people really lived there.

This is so the actors could get into believing the set.  Unfortunately one issue was with the pond... they did such a nice job making it that frogs moved in and they were so loud they couldn't film the talking scenes.  So he hired someone to come in and relocate the frogs until the shooting was done.  It only took 12 days so it wasn't too hard on them.

After the tour you go to Green Dragon Inn and have a bit of ale or apple cider and then you are on your way again back to the car park.  I did really enjoy it and the attention to detail was really amazing.

Okay so now back on the road again, just another hour to Rotorua and then we had about 2 1/2 hours to kill until the Mitai Maori performance and dinner.  We stopped by the OGO balls (the ones you get inside and roll down the hills... Too much money for what that is.  Just down the road though is the Gondola and Luge.  With a family deal you get 20 rides for the family to use anyway.. This we had to do.  It is safe for all ages and a fun way to ride down the hill and then you take the ski lift back up to the top to do it again.  We each got 3 rides (paid for just a few extra) to zip down on.  Okay not really zip more of going down the hill at a leisurely pace but a lot of fun to watch Amaia and Alina finally be able to participate in something.

We definitely couldn't complain about the beautiful day we had and the amazing view of Lake Rotorua behind us.

Here is a sample video of the baby scenic Luge 

Then it was time to scoot 300m up the road to the Mitai Performance.  They put on a good show demonstrating the Haka dance, talking about what the tattoos symbolize, weaponry, and how they use to cook the food if you can imagine, they aren't allowed to actually put it in the ground and cover with dirt any more.. but the dinner was surprisingly good.  Usually you think of the buffet dinners with that many people and they don't seem so appetizing so we were pleasantly surprised that kids cleaned their plates and went back for seconds.  Always a good sign.  They still aren't getting used to the lamb though... they just can't acquire that taste.

Chris with a cup of coffee in him and Oma in the front seat to tell a story to keep him awake we made our way for the 90 minute drive home.  A star filled night and an orange crescent moon that was setting in front of us playing peek-a-boo with the hills helped to fill the time...

Now we are off to Raglan to visit our cruising friends Bob The Cat!  Super excited to see the Dave, Malene, Lucas and Mattias.

Hugs and love,


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