Monday, September 19, 2011

My Bubble: A Mad Rush To See The Hobbits ...

Late ... late ... we were behind schedule!

Eventhough we had been telling each other that our vacation must be totally free and easy without being fixated on where and what to do, we were still late if we want to make it to the The Hobbiton Village in Matamata by the next morning.

Kenrick had been very meticulous and thorough when he delivered his campervan to us at The Spencer on Byron. We had not anticipated that the handover and briefing would take almost 2 hours but it was all for a good cause to the best of our benefits. We are certainly thankful because his advices came in handy during our drive around North Island.

Kenrick had also been very accommodating to drive us on a quick tour around Takapuna and then onto One Tree Hill where lo kong took over the driving. Under Kenrick’s watchful eye, lo kong fumbled initially trying to familiarize with driving a manual and huge vehicle. Kenrick must’ve been quite relieved after we dropped him off safely at his home in Papakura.

We had spotted a KFC earlier and decided to grab a quick lunch there before heading to one of the popular hypermarkets, Countdown to grab some groceries for the campervan which included six-pack of lo kong's favorite Hoegaarden and a bottle of wine.  By the time we started our journey on the South Motorway heading south to the city of Hamilton, it was already past 3pm. I knew we will not be able to make it to the Hamilton Garden as I had intended. We arrived in Hamilton past 5pm and with a one-and-a-half hour drive behind him plus all the extra efforts put into reacquainting with manual driving, lo kong was already dead tired. But I had not planned to overnight there, so lo kong drive on to our next attraction in Matamata where we were supposed to put up a night. Talk about a slave driver huh?

After Hamilton, we arrived in the town of Cambridge. It was already dark as night eventhough it was only about 7.30pm. Lo kong finally decided to take a well-deserved rest at a McDonald’s parking lot where we rested for about 2 hours. We felt uneasy though as we weren’t sure if we were allowed to simply park our campervan there. While lo kong rested, I kept popping my head out the window in case we were being cited for illegal camping. The temperature was way too cold for lo kong and it made me even more uncomfortable when he decided to start the stove to make some hot drinks right there in the parking lot.

However, if we wanted to make it for The Hobbiton Movie Set tour first thing in the morning, we knew we will have to drive on. We set the GPS for the movie set and thought we’d just arrive earlier than expected. The road getting there was dark that you practically don’t see anything on the left or right. It was also narrow and winding. At one point, after taking a wrong turn-off and we had a harrowing time trying to make a 3-point turn on the narrow stretch without causing any damages. Surprised and worried, we arrived at the GPS destination to find nothing there … complete darkness that we don’t see anything beyond our vehicle’s lights. Without hesitation, we quickly drive on to town. What a relief when we started seeing streetlights along the way though the road were deserted … it was already closed to midnight.

Finally we reached the town of Matamata but it was too late to check-in to any camper site. Again we parked right on an open and totally deserted parking lot next to a McDonald’s outlet and call it a night there. Thank God for our ensuite bath and toilet which we subsequently discovered the detriments of not dumping quickly enough ... the stinky way!

Silence of a Happy Lamb ...

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