Sunday, January 29, 2017


Tuaranga (Dec 6-7, 2016)

Dec 6 (Tue) - at sea
            Today is another "sea day". We went to the spa today; Diane had a manicure and Paul had a massage. We also went to soak in the hot tub. What luxury! In the afternoon we attended a presentation on the life of Steve Irwin (the crocodile hunter). It was very  interesting.

Dec 7 (Wed) - Tauranga
          Today we stopped in Tauranga, the largest city in the western Bay of Plenty. We didn't see much of the city, just a drive-through on the bus.
Tauranga Harbor
 We took a 1 1/2-hour bus ride through the interior of the island toward Matamata. It seems like we are coming down with colds.
Houses on the bay in Tauranga 
New Zealand countryside
Our destination was Hobbiton. This is a farm owned by the Alexander family that was used for "The Lord of the Rings" films and the "Hobbit" films. It was fascinating to see this set creation. It was so neat. We saw the Birthday Tree, Bilbo Baggin's home, Samewise Gamge's home, and the Green Dragon Pub, where we were treated to Ginger Beer (non-alcoholic). They have houses scaled differently

Welcome to Hobbiton
Pathway to the village
Is anybody home?
Houses on a hill
A hobbit house
The birthday tree
Welcome to our little home
View across the village
Did this house shrink?
Best ale in Hobbiton

The old mill
Green Dragon Pub
Drinking Ginger Beer
 After Hobbiton we returned to Tauranga. We passed by a kiwi vineyard and some beautiful countryside. 
Kiwi growing
Houses in the country

 We returned to the ship for a late lunch at the  Mast Grill. We went to the Maori Haka show in the afternoon. The evening entertainment was Tom Burlinson (the lead in "The Man From Snowy River") singing the oldies swing tunes.
Volcano in Tauranga
 To be continued:

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