the shires are under reconstruction for the new movie to be filmed later this year. this is private land & when the owner was asked to leased it to the film company, he was offered to stay anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, till filming was complete. what made this land special is that it has this lake...
|**notice the houses are larger on the left & built smaller towards the right.this is to give the effect of dwarf-like hobbits in a large house & humans in a cramped hobbit's home**|
.....and a century-old oak tree next to it. remember party tree & party field at the beginning of the 1st episode?
some places were still out-of-bounds as they were being prepared for the new film, so we could only picture frodo's home from a distance.
rotorua is a definite must-see if you only have a few days in the north island. the best authentic cultural performances are said to be here, held on traditional (sacred) maori land. the show started with the MC demonstating how our "hangi" dinner was being cooked...
followed by warriors paddling their "waka" down the river....
then a welcome by the women....
followed by the traditional haka performance - the local battle-cry before combat, seen more often nowadays when the NZ rugby team All-Blacks prepares for competition.
but one attraction that will thrill the kids is the skyline cable car up to Mt Ngongotaha...
then take the luge downhill.....
yeah, we each went on 3 rides of different levels of slope.
St Faith's Church, by the edge of Lake Rotorua, is the 1st permanent church built in the Rotorua area.
what's unique here is the image of Christ sandblasted on a glass window with the actual lake rotorua as backdrop, giving the impression of God walking on the water!!
ok, rotorua is famous for its geothermal activities as it stands in the crater of an ancient volcano, giving rise to geysers, thermal springs & boiling mud pools. the odour of sulphur can be revolting to sensitive noses.
one more stop before departing rotorua is the Huka Falls jetboat ride. the driver definitely knew how to skillfully manipulate the boat as it twists & turns on the river, as well as approaching the waterfalls itself. needless to say, the kids loved it!
there's no doubt in my mind that Rotorua is the one-stop tourist attraction of the North Island. no wonder Rolf Harris had this hit song many years ago, which went like this:
Hurry hurry hurry home love
Hurry home to Rotorua
To the mountains and the valleys
Hurry home to me
I know I know
You had to go
Please hurry back home love
I miss you so.
no doubt, too, that many people will return one day, including us. this concluded our 12-day vacation.
|waiting at the bus-stop in downtown Auckland for the express bus to the airport|