Thursday, April 14, 2016

Update from Middle Earth

Sorry, we've been pretty busy these last few days.  Doesn't hurt that since Saturday, we've had drinks and canapes prior to dinner and  lazy evenings afterwards. Does not leave time to process photos. The bad news (for us at least, is that this means we only have a few more days on vacation.)

We arrived at Cape Kidnappers, in Hawkes Bay, on Sat afternoon.  I went for a short run, only to get get lost on the 6000 hetacre farm. Found my way back, just after dark.  Played golf on Sun, then went for a wonderful wine tasting tour.  On Monday, I got up and ran for a bit, we played golf, and then took some mtn bikes out to the Gannet colony.

On Tues, we departed for Kauri Cliffs in KeriKeri (Bay of Islands).  We arrived in time to play some golf (big shocker), finishing number 18 in the dark.  Played again on Wed  morning and departed for Tara Iti.  Pictures from all the above will be processed later and posted, but here are a few teasers...

Tara Iti is gem...Tom Doak links course along the pacific.  Wow... we awoke to a howling wind and waves of rain. Very much like you would find in Scotland.  Our caddie, Stevie Mac, was from the old country....

 hard to see, but the sand dune in the distance is the largest in the southern hemisphere...

our room...I am writing this from the chairs next to the fireplace as we speak (which just had a log fall out...)

afterwards, we headed out for some bird watching.


Oyster catcher

I promise, there are more photos from Cape Kidnappers and Kauri Cliffs.  More to come later

Friday, April 8, 2016


We arrived in Wellington and made our way to Weta Cave (folks who did the special effects for LOTR and Hobbit).  We took a tour of the studios (no photos allowed), but suffice to say, very neat stuff....

The trolls hang out in front of the cave:

Gollum ...

Golf today was at Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club. 

Afterwards, we went to Mt Victoria in downtown Wellington to hike and enjoy the afternoon

Jack's Point and Exploring Middle Earth

Jack's Point Golf Course, just south of Queenstown.  Beautiful layout, but very difficult greens.

This was the entrance to the sheep pasture that Mark had to drive across...

The Remarkables:  While not the specific LOTR site, they were used for some scenes.  This picture was taken from the golf course, near the sheep paddock from the previous picture.
After golf, we drove south to try to find more LOTR sites.  This time we were looking for the Fanghorn Forest in the Mavora Lakes region.  First we had a traffic jam:
Then we found the edge of the forest: 
First we had to cross this bridge to get there:

Then prior to our departure to Wellington, we stopped by Twelve Mile Delta to see if we could find any Oliphants...none were found.

Neither did we find any fish in the pool, like Sméagol did...

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Hills Golf Course

Since NZ is on standard time, the sun sets a bit earlier, giving me time to process photos.  It's also a bit easier to process photos when you take 40 vs the 150 taken yesterday. 

Today we played golf at the Hills Golf Club.  We put the address into Google Maps and proceeded to follow directions, to a lonely street with no golf in sight...typical, Google has brought us to the maintenance shed before on golf courses.  We started to drive to ask directions, when I pulled out the paper map...sure enough it was there (this was the only indication of the golf course...try finding this at 80 kph):

Lots of great golf holes and scenery.  They even spruced up the course with whimsical statues along the way.

(no this was not golf ball was found in that location)

Afterwards we went looking for another LOTR filming site, the Anduin River: