New Zealand, home of Morodor. Hobbits too, but most people forget that it also has Morodor.
I watched “It” on the plane on the way to New Zealand. Thankfully I was already planning benedryl induced sleep for the 11 hour flight. It was Christmas Eve by the time I arrived, so we had drinks at the hostel and then watched Role Models.
Monday Christmas, so we went to the beach. The hostel threw a barbeque and we were on the local news. Afterward we watched The Edge of Tomorrow which was surprisingly good, followed by Uno.
Tuesday was Boxing Day and I went to see Auckland’s Sky Tower.
Boxing Day is when the church would open their charity boxes the day after Christmas and give people money. Now it’s used for shopping.
Then I went out for drinks with people from Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, England, and Singapore.
Wednesday I went to Coromandel, a hot water beach. The idea was, there is hot water just below the surface in some places at this beach, so people dig holes to find it. Sometimes it’s boiling hot, so you have to be kind of careful. Once you find the hot water, you have a nice wading pool to swim in. I was with people from Argentina, Hong Kong, and Sweden.
I’m not a huge beach fan in general, but this turned into one of my favorite beach games, which is keep the rising tide out of the hole your digging. It’s like a metaphor for life. The ocean always wins in the end.
Then we went to Cathedral Cove, another beach after a 3 mile walk through a World War I memorial forest trail.
I also finished catching up reading The Expanse, after finishing the 7th book which was released earlier this month.
Thursday I went on a Lord of the Rings tour. When they filimed The Lord of the Rings originally, they built the Shire out of plywood and styrofoam They tore it down afterward. People started coming to visit anyway to see where it was filimed. Part of the agreement when Peter Jackson came back in 2008 to see if he could use the same farm to filim The Hobbit was that they build a permanent Shire. So I went to see The Shire set. All the Hobbit holes have doors that open to the inside and all the gardens and paths are still there. The scale of everything was strange though so that they could make people look like hobbits.
Friday I walked around Auckland. I saw a very touristy tuktuk and a park with bean bag chairs set up.
Then I took the ferry to Waiheke Island where I stopped at Oneroa beach and Rocky Bay.
Saturday I flew to Queenstown on the southern island of New Zealand. Queenstown is a lot like where I grew up, and New year’s Eve is like the fourth of July.
I had more tasty dumplings. I walked around the lake and listened to some live music, then had some ice cream with a hard white chocolate shell from a creamery, and a hamburger from Fergburger, a famous hamburger place here.
Sunday was New year’s Eve. I took a gondola to the top of the mountain and went on a short hike.
On this ominous trail.
Then there was a huge festival for New Year’s. New Zealand is one of the first places in the world to hit 2018, 18 hours ahead of New York. They had two excellent bands play and fireworks.
Monday was New Year’s Day. I did some checking to see what exactly I’ll be importing in two weeks. Then I spent the day by the lake.
Tuesday I went to Milford Sound. We stopped for Venison pie and saw some Mirror lakes.
Then we went on a boat tour of the Sound. Milford sound is near where the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates meet.
There is so much to do in New Zealand, like Japan I feel I’ve barely scratched the surface. It was an excellent place to spend Christmas and New Year’s.
Here are more pictures from New Zealand.