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    Ripe Coffee – an insiders peek at Wellington inde-coffee nirvana

    Speciality coffee in New Zealand is simply booming. And I LOVE it! Inde-Roasters are beginning to pop up everywhere, rocketing up the standards of flavour to be found in our mugs, on our kitchen benches and most importantly fuelling brunch sessions. I mean important work things.

    It’s not often that a caffeine junkie is invited, nay, driven to exploring the hallowed ground that is a coffee roastery. Ripe is a small owner-operator set up just on the harbourside of foodie boom-town Petone, Lower Hutt in Wellington. I do have to make a small confession here. I’m not the only coffee junkie in my family. My Dad mainlines his with as much sugar as he can get away with, my sister takes hers in soft-drink format, but my brother is the worst of us all. He works for Ripe, testing freshly roasted slurps of coffee hot off the roaster.

    Ripe Coffee, Petone - an insiders peek at Wellington inde-coffee nirvana

    Out the back is where the magic happens. A mischievous team of roasters cast their spells over selected green coffee beans, in an alchemical recipe of flavour, texture and deliciousness. My bro explained to us in depth the processes they go through to retain complexity of flavour, uniformity of batches and experiments of seasonal roasts that they’re known for. Alas, I hadn’t remembered to pre-load with a cup of Joe so my note taking was scanty at best. Ok, I admit it, I only took photographs.

    Bad blogger.

    Ripe Coffee, Petone - an insiders peek at Wellington inde-coffee nirvana

    So come with me, on a wee tour of their HQ; a scatter of retro design, passion, humour, delicious taste, mysterious brewing equipment, chocolate fish and last but definitely not least, Betsy their gorgeous mobile coffee van.

    Ripe Coffee, Petone - an insiders peek at Wellington inde-coffee nirvana

    Ripe Coffee, Petone - an insiders peek at Wellington inde-coffee nirvana
    Their refurbished and modified 1923 Whitmee coffee roaster. Credit.

    Ripe Coffee, Petone - an insiders peek at Wellington inde-coffee nirvana

    Ripe Coffee, Petone - an insiders peek at Wellington inde-coffee nirvana


    Ripe Coffee, Petone - an insiders peek at Wellington inde-coffee nirvana

    Ripe Coffee, Petone - an insiders peek at Wellington inde-coffee nirvana
    Ubiquitious, essential Chocolate fish – a kiwi staple

    Ripe Coffee, Petone - an insiders peek at Wellington inde-coffee nirvana

    Ripe Coffee, Petone - an insiders peek at Wellington inde-coffee nirvana

    They supply to a growing number of North Island cafes, hotels, coffee bars and home roasters. Just listen to the mouthwatering description of their Ethiopia Yirgacheffe;

    “The coffee is spicy & fragrant, with a slightly chocolatey or nutty
    quality. This washed processed coffee produces a bright & clean
    acidity with subtle peppery notes with lemongrass & tangerine, with a
    medium to light body.

    • Roast Depth: Light

    • Aroma: Rosy, Cardamom, Apricot

    • Sweetness: Preserved Orange, Paw Paw

    • Acidity: Citrus, Clean & Bright

    • Body: Silky & Light

    • Flavour: Peppery, Palm Sugar, Tangerine

    • Finish: Toffee & Honeycomb”

    Yum.

    Ripe Coffee, Petone - an insiders peek at Wellington inde-coffee nirvana

    Ironically I never managed to photograph any of the coffees we drank over the course of the week I was on the fair shores of Wellington; too busy enjoying that incredible taste, childhood treats and baby cuddles. I wonder how long it will take my nephew to realise what kind of a family he’s been born into…

    Ripe Coffee, Petone - an insiders peek at Wellington inde-coffee nirvana
    Didja think I was kidding about Ripe’s dreamy location?

     Ripe Coffee, Petone - an insiders peek at Wellington inde-coffee nirvana

    There ends the tale of a fortnight in my home (New Zealand). It was with a heavy heart that I left her shores, but a paradoxically a happy one excited to be headed towards my hearth and home in the sprawling urban chaos that is the London I love. Seeing New Zealand’s shorelines disappear slowly from the corner of the
    plane was utterly bittersweet. Every single expat will know exactly I
    mean.

    My trip was short, sweet, wonderful and I was a very lucky girl to be able to spend so much time with my family; a relaxing Christmas, enjoy a day at the beach, enforce hairy-toed stereotypes visiting Hobbiton, realise a lifelong dream feeding a Lion, snuggle my beautiful Nephew and literally take a stroll down a foodie memory lane in Wellington.

    What a country, eh?

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    Where to eat brunch in Wellington or, Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites – a delicious trip down memory lane

    You know that thing parents where are encouraged to introduce their children to studying foreign languages are youngsters – their minds are like sponges, they aren’t jaded by the pressures of the world and learning is fun. Well, brunch is the language I learnt as a young, fresh out of High School student skidding along the pavements of Wellington.

    Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites - a delicious trip down memory lane

    Where to eat brunch in Wellington or, Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites - a delicious trip down memory lane
    Brunch at Fidels with the lovely, just returned Jenna

    I was young, I was poor and boy, was I impressionable. Luckily, and much
    to my parents relief it wasn’t drink (even though I worked in a pub),
    drugs (the hardest thing us architecture students took was caffeine
    tablets to keep up all night to get the work done and attempt to get creative juices
    flowing) or the fire poi dancing I spasmodically did (on weekend
    evenings when I definitely should have been sleeping). 

    Fidel's Cafe - Where to eat brunch in Wellington or, Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites - a delicious trip down memory lane

    It was however a growing appreciation for creamy Hollandaise neatly
    ladled over golden muffins, oozy beautiful poached eggs and prefectly
    crisped slivers of bacon. The Art Of Eggs Benedict.What is it about eggs
    Benedict, Sweetcorn Fritters and Bacon & Egg Pie that so captures the heart of antipodeans?

    Where to eat brunch in Wellington or, Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites - a delicious trip down memory lane
    Soho Brown’s – a new to me cafe.

    Is it the ability to rise a little later after a full evening out, and
    eat a luxurious meal with good friends? Is it the perfectly legitimate
    ability to drink pints of ice cold vitamin drinks or champagne? Could it
    be the sheer possibility of eadible joy – muesli? sure! pancakes with
    maple syrup? sure! hamburger? go for it! Or could it just be the
    enjoyment of lingering over a leisurely meal with loads of laughter at
    the previous evening’s antics? I reckon it could also be the divine flat
    whites promising energy and flavour. I’m no expert, but I’ve certainly tried to work out the answer. Practise makes perfect after all!

    Where to eat brunch in Wellington or, Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites - a delicious trip down memory lane
    To the left, the kiwi classic Neenish Tart, to the right Ginger Crunch.

    All I do know, is that walking through the streets of Wellington was literally walking a foodie road of memories. The infamous Fidels where we argued the finer points of architectural theory, insane art psychology and where to buy the best paint over Eggs Bene. Midnight Espresso where we spent many a late night, hunched over the best milkshakes trying to work out why our lives were just so random. Espressoholic who had hands down the best Ginger Slice in Wellington.

    Where to eat brunch in Wellington or, Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites - a delicious trip down memory lane

    Wellington is blessed with a plethora of delicious eateries – especially when you head up Cuba Street – just go hungry.

    Where to eat brunch in Wellington or, Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites - a delicious trip down memory lane
    Espressoholic
    Where to eat brunch in Wellington or, Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites - a delicious trip down memory lane
    Midnight Espresso

    And the best hangover/fire poi dancing cure? Satay Kingdom. Tucked down a tiny alley, it’s a place where you think might give you 3 strains of salmonella but native Wellingtonians simply swear by it. It is impossible to get a weekday lunch there if you don’t rock up super early or super late and weekend brunch hours can be even worse. Their Roti Chanai is simply out of this world.

    Where to eat brunch in Wellington or, Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites - a delicious trip down memory lane

    And a new, rather interesting addition – the Homies cosy teahouse. I’m only disappointed I didn’t get to properly pop in…

    Where to eat brunch in Wellington or, Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites - a delicious trip down memory lane

    And when all else fails? Bake your own & take them down to the waterfront on the glorious days of sunshine (where the wind mysteriously dies down) and enjoy the view. My favourites?

    ANZAC Biscuits
    Bacon & Egg Pie
    Fudge Slice
    Ginger Crunch Slice
    Sweetcorn Fritters 

    Lolly Cake 

    Melting Moments (Gluten Free, with Pumpkin Spice Icing)

    Where to eat brunch in Wellington or, Wellington cafes, a brunch fiend and flat whites - a delicious trip down memory lane

    How could you ever say no?

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    Feeding a Lion at Wellington Zoo – an experience I’ll never forget

    A week or so ago I posted about a Eureka moment I had about becoming a tourist in your own hometown. Basically, it occurred to me that once leaving my home country all I could think
    about was travelling to see the world, explore new cultures &
    experience the unique and infamous *activities* of the exotic,
    unfamiliar
    cities we come across. It’s taken a few years to occur to me, but how
    often do we travel-lusting lot sit back and explore our
    own hometown backyard?

    Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

    A faux Kiwi egg!

    With this in mind, a 101 in 1001 goal list swiftly nearing to completion
    date and an afternoon pootling around Wellington, I utilized my mate
    Google Search and stumbled upon something amazing. 

    Something incredible –
    Wellington Zoo offers animal experiences where you can find yourself up
    close and personal with a selection of their zoo pals.

    Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi
    Zoos are a marmite institution. Some people hate the caging of animals,
    some love being able to educate themselves of the many wonderful species
    Mother Nature offers, and some like me can’t help but see zoos from an
    ecological need perspective. Like it or not, humans are awful; poaching,
    eroding natural habitats and changing the strata of long-established
    animal kingdoms.

     

    Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi
    Tiger, where?

     Good Zoos, to my mind and to my very limited experience, play an
    integral role in helping these animals. Breeding programmes helping to
    keep species from dying out, drumming up fundraising and PR awareness
    for wild animals, and provide carefully thought out sanctuaries that
    earnestly care about the welfare and happiness of their animals. Not all
    institutions are created equal, and not all do as much as they can for
    the happiness of their inhabitants.

    Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London KiwiWellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi
    A Tuatara – a New Zealand native and one of the last dinosaurs in the world

     Wellington Zoo, and for that matter London Zoo where I acted as a zookeeper for the day,
    try to look after their animals the best they can. They also allow for
    humans to interact with incredible animals through experience days (ps.
    this isn’t a comped post, just something I’m incredibly passionate
    about) in ways that just wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

    Feeding a Lion at Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

    At London Zoo
    I’ve had
    Ringtailed Lemurs scamper across my lap, been eye to beady eye with
    penguins and experienced mucking out & saw-dusting the Zebra &
    Okapi pens. I was also warned that my handbag would be checked on exit
    for Penguins, but that’s a story for another day.

    Feeding a Lion at Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

    My love for animals has always however been of the feline kind.
    Ranging from a childhood dream of working with big Cats, but having to
    settle with volunteering at the RSPCA, owning a wee tabby
    beastie cat and hanging out with office monkeys – sorry, I mean
    colleagues – I set a goal of patting a big cat on my 101 in 1001 goal
    list, never thinking that it would happen in the hilly surrounds of
    Wellington.
    Feeding a Lion at Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi
    Zulu and I having a moment

    Oh yes, it really happened, and what’s
    more, we got to feed treats during behaviour training with two enormous,
    utterly beautiful male Lions; Malik
    and Zulu. Hanging out in the medical pens at the back of the Lion
    enclosures, we assisted – read: stared at the magnificent cats – the
    keeper with behavoural training, that is getting the Lions to move into
    certain areas of the pen for weighing, check-ups and for their daily
    health checks.

    Feeding a Feeding a Lion at Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

    In
    case you were wondering, a Lion’s licking your hand just feels like a
    drier cat’s tongue on a much larger scale. Stick that with the rest of
    the useless facts from this blog! 

    We openhandedly fed them meat, stared into their big eyes and eventually
    got to pat their beautiful hides through a gap in the cage walls
    (mostly so they didn’t accidentally turn and crush our fingers). I don’t
    think I’ve ever been more awed at raw power and feline beauty.

    Feeding a Lion at Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

    They really are like enormous, very dangerous housecats; they rumble and roar, have hairy slightly oily coats and get up to all sorts of mischeif; Malik likes to wee on unsuspected keepers in between highly essential naps.

    Feeding a Lion at Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Feeding a Lion at Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi
    This isn’t my hand… she was harrumphing at us as she’d missed out on meaty treats

    Once we tottered of the back area, not before we said hey to one of the upset Lionesses, we explored the rest of Wellington Zoo, dodging kids and ploughing up the steep hill. But hey, just check out the incredible views not to mention the Momma and baby Campuchin monkeys…

    Feeding a Lion at Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Feeding a Lion at Wellington Zoo, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

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    Wellington, New Zealand and the siren call of home to a longterm expat

    It had been too long since I’d been home. Home (New Zealand) that is, rather than Home (London). Four years of adventuring on the high seas, fitting long haul trips into annual leave allowances and using Skype as a crutch to replace hugs were my main excuses (and the fact that travelling to the other side of the world can leave a serious dent in your bank balance).

    This was until a surprise call featured a sonogram and I found out that the ripe old age of ….(hah, that’s a state secret…) that I was going to be a proud Aunty. Confession time: I’m not particularly maternal myself; call it being selfish, call it having an unusual childhood, call it a lack of weird hormones bouncing around, whatever, it’s not in our life plans at the moment (or ever) but I surprised even myself by becoming incredibly homesick.

    New Zealand Christmas & New Year - Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Homesick enough for my lovely other half to suggest calling off our planned Christmas/New Year break and send me to the other side of the world. 

    And how could you not, when you get to have sleepy cuddles like this.

     Wellington, NZ - The siren call of home to a longterm expat

    And heartbreaking images like this of my brother and his son holding hands, not to mention the adoration his zen-like Momma has for him.

     Wellington, NZ - The siren call of home to a longterm expat

     
    He is one loved little dude. (He also already has a Liverpool Onesie from his Uncle Mr Kiwi and a pile of baby clothes and toys you wouldn’t believe.) Needless to say I fell head over heels for him – a divine little munchkin who has the curiosity of a cat, the brightest bluest eyes and an adoration for bathing.

    I’m still not broody – heck no, this Aunty doesn’t do nappies, but loves from a clean distance – he is without doubt the most beautiful little fella. Not that I’m biased or anything!

    Wellington harbour, New Zealand - The siren call of home to a longterm expat

    It also meant I got to visit one of my favourite cities in the world – Windy Wellington. It’s New Zealand’s capital city, right in the middle of the country, boasts one of the highest cafe-per-capita populations and is as funky as they come.

    Wellington harbour, New Zealand - The siren call of home to a longterm expat
    Windy Wellington, living up to it’s nickname like a pro!

    Most people who have visited say it has a vibe like San Francisco, Paris (without the beautiful buildings) or Seattle. Alls I know is that I lived there during University, falling for Wellington’s charms hard. The harbour views, funky friendly cafes, great public transport, infamous bucket fountain, compact navigating, quayside artwork and best of all the coffee. Ooooooh the coffee!

    Wellington harbour, New Zealand - The siren call of home to a longterm expat

    New Zealand wishes 1 through 4 complete – A family Christmas / A day at the beach / Visiting Hobbiton / Cuddling my new nephew.

    Cuba Street, Wellington New Zealand - The siren call of home to a longterm expat
    The infamous Cuba St. bucket fountain.

    Wellington Parliament, the beehive, New Zealand - The siren call of home to a longterm expat
    To the left, our New Zealand Parliment aka. ‘The Beehive’ for obvious reasons.

    An afternoon wandering these streets brought the realisation of Home (New Zealand) vs. Home (London). New Zealand is a wonderful old jumper that I’ll always be able to blissfully snuggle
    back into (even though it doesn’t really fit anymore because of all the kiwi biscuits I always when I land!) but London is my home. It’s where my heart is, where the cat sleeps and my favorite Englishman is. I love New Zealand, but I’ve changed I guess. This wanderer still has many miles to cover.

    Wellington New Zealand - The siren call of home to a longterm expat

    Cuba Street, Wellington New Zealand - The siren call of home to a longterm expat

    I’ll always love a country where Santa wears candy cane striped flip flops, the traffic lights (temporarily) celebrate the fact that New Zealand suffragettes were the first women in the world to win the right to vote and spending celebration New Years on a friends’ farm is the best kind of crazy fun.

    Cuba Street, Wellington New Zealand - The siren call of home to a longterm expat

    Cuba Street, Wellington New Zealand - The siren call of home to a longterm expat

    I am one lucky girl. But wait, there’s a little more to come…

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    Hobbiton, the visitor gem of Middle Earth aka New Zealand

    Visiting Hobbiton just outside of Matamata a small town in New Zealand is an absolute must do on any tourist trip. Just make sure to book in advance.

    Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand
     

    The Lord of the Ring movies have a lot to answer for. Sure, it’s brought the stunning New Zealand scenery to the world, spawned remote farmyard bonfires where Hollywood A-Listers gather to toast hotdogs (true story that, I’m still waiting for my invite) and brought millions of dollars into the New Zealand economy.

    Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand

    It’s also meant that Kiwis have spent years being teased about having hairy feet, jokes involving creepy little dudes who obsess about rings and the threats of Orc-ish behaviour at parties (ok, I made that last one up). But let me tell you now, it’s not true, and I have the photos to prove it! Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand

    On a slightly less irate note, one of my New Zealand wishes (A family Christmas / A day at the beach / Visiting Hobbiton / Cuddling my new nephew) came through thanks to my Dad volunteering to pop over to Matamata’s answer to DisneyWorld – the Hobbiton Movie set. And yes, I realise I was perpetuating the hairy-footed stereotype, but my fluttering tourist heart couldn’t bear the thought of missing out on one of New Zealand’s newest attractions – not to mention exploring the Lord of the Rings & Hobbit connections – stories I’ve loved since I was a kid.

    Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand
     

    After navigating the back roads 15 minutes out of Matamata, you grab your ticket (prebooking at Christmas and New Years is absolutely essential – I booked our tickets almost as soon as I’d booked my flights!) and hop on a short coach ride through the working sheep and cattle farm.

    After a cheeky spiel by the bus driver, the guide for the tour disembarked our group (of around 40 people) and took us around the winding site pathways. It’s a super busy but efficient operation – think smaller scale Disney world – and there is SO much to see. Perfect replicas of 30+ character filled hobbit home facades dot the curving landscape, smoke curls from the chimneys and the vegetable gardens heave with real fruit, vegetables and flowers.

    Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand

    The set was rebuilt in 2011 for the feature films “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again”. It is now a permanent attraction complete with hobbit holes, gardens, bridge, Mill and The Green Dragon™ Inn.

    We were simply amazed by the technical trickery; think wood chip, paint and yoghurt moss on the ‘weathered’ fences, beautifully constructed props laid in front of the hobbit holes according to the trade of the ‘inhabiting’ family and 3D house facades carved into the gently curving hill mounds.

    Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand

    How cool is that?

    Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand

    The views were wonderful, our guide was brimming with cheer and for a Lord of the Rings fan like myself, the experience was brilliant. There was a real range of nationalities, including a smattering of Kiwis checking out the tourist sensation for themselves.

    Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand

    That view!

    Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand

    With boundless photo opportunities (there are a couple of stops the guides specifically offer to take your photo in and around the fabulous doorways) make sure you come with a fully charged camera (and selfie stick if that’s how you roll – just know we can’t be friends ok?) and a lot of patience for dealing with the other tourists in your group. The hobbit homes all vary in scale – from full-size to hobbit-size to allow for the many perspective tricks needed for filming.

    Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand

    Then, then you reach the crest of the hill, and the ultimate highlight – Bag End, Bilbo and Frodo’s home.

    The oak tree overlooking Bag End was cut down and brought in from near Matamata. Each branch was numbered and chopped, then transported and bolted together on top of Bag End (weighing 26 tonne). Artificial leaves were imported from Taiwan and individually wired onto the dead tree. 

    Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand

    Our guide also told us that Peter Jackson not being satisfied with the colour of the leaves had them repainted – from gantries. He also employed someone to walk to the washing lines every morning to create dewy trails in the grass. What a crazy legend.

    Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand

    It. Was. So. Cool. My preciousssssssss

    Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand

    Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand
    The party field all dressed for celebration.

    Originally constructed to only last a few weeks for filming (the New Zealand Department for Conservations are super conservative) when the neighbours started asking for tours, the owners began taking people around the mostly taken down site and came to the realization that they could be sitting on a tourist goldmine. When the hobbit homes went back up for filming the Hobbit movies, the Alexanders agreed on the condition that the sets were constructed to last for 50 years. Simply genius.

    Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand

    Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand

    “When tourists come here they don’t quite know what to expect,” says Russell Alexander, the farm owner. “They have no idea how big it is, and the detail – I suppose for want of a better word – it actually blows them away, what’s involved in making a major movie.

    You can’t help but be proud of this place … and maintaining it there’s obviously a huge sense of responsibility. But you also have to have huge passion. If you haven’t got passion it doesn’t work to keep this place and keep the business.”

    Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand

    The Alexander family farm was scouted serendipitously by Peter Jackson and locations scouts searching by helicopter for a gently undulating countryside closely resembled that of the ‘Shire’ in the popular classics by J.R.R Tolkien. Can you imagine getting that knock on the door? Rumour also has it that the owner was going to say no as he hadn’t heard of the Lord of the Rings books, but his wife (who had) nudged him rather sharply.

    Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand

    Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand

    Nearing the end of our tour, and the rolling in of storm clouds we made for the Green Dragon tavern – originally just a facade, the owners have developed it into a real working pub where you’re shouted a complimentary drink by your guide.

    Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand

    Cue the cheesiest photo I’ve ever taken in the history of blogging, but possibly the most satisfying, round doorways and all.
    Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand
     

    Long story short, Hobbiton is awesome, a LOTR tourist’s dream.

    Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand

    How cool is it? I’ll let my companions <note the LOTR reference right there> demonstrate how much they enjoyed. It’s a little on the pricey side as tourist experiences ever are, but definitely brilliant for what it is.

    Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand

    Just be careful, they seem to like to farming tourists in Maramata 😉

    Lord of the Rings: Hobbiton, Middle Earth aka Matamata, New Zealand

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