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There and back again: My visit to Middle Earth!

If you've noticed that posts here have been a bit slow of late it's because I've been quite busy; and one of the things occupying my time was getting ready for my wedding and subsequent New Zealand honeymoon! Of chief importance to readers of this blog, I'm sure, are two stops we made in New Zealand: Hobbiton and a Weta Workshop showcase in Auckland. Pics to follow!

First of all, I would obviously be remiss to not include a picture of me and my beautiful bride!

We did quite a tour of New Zealand- starting Queenstown and heading North through Christchurch to Blenheim in the Marlborough region. 

Our trek across the South Island before we flew to the North Island

In Queenstown we took an aerial tour of the back country in an around Milford Sound; the pilot worked as a transport pilot during the filming of the Lord of the Rings, and pointed out the area below as being where the Ford of Bruinen scenes were shot:

If you want him, come and claim him!

We did some relaxing at a spa called Onsen Hot Pools. Amazing.

We also did a pretty sweet luge in Queenstown. I very nearly killed myself because brakes are for wimps.

We took a detour to Mount Cook, which was used as the Lonely Mountain in the hobbit movies. 

There it is, snowcapped, and way off in the distance- naturally pics don't do it justice. I just so happened to be wearing my Gondor Calls for Ale shirt- definitely my favorite MESBG podcast by a mile, and I am a proud patron! 

A closer view of Mount Cook before the weather turned quite grey and we could barely see it even from the base!

A gorgeous little stone church called the Church of the Good Shepherd

I don't make a habit of goin' on boats... that's for them strange folk out in Buckland.

There was some truly lovely country in Picton Bay.

We did a winery tour in Marlborough, and were surprised by how many brands we recognized! 

One of my favorite stops was a Maori cultural center in Rotorua; their performance was amazing.

We're big fans of all of the geothermal activity in Rotorua- we went to two different hot pool spas there, as well as a preserve.

Where we go totally soaked by a passing rainstorm.

But it was absolutely otherworldly. 

Not a stretch to say this was one of the most beautiful things I've ever witnessed and the pictures just don't even come close to capturing it.

Next we delved into caverns old with a tour of the Waitamo Glowworm caves:


And then! We're going on an adventure!

Look! It's Gandalf's path!

Looking down the hill at the party tree and field. The construction on the right was a bummer; but Sam's house will soon be open to tour the interior which is really cool!

1 Bagshot row

Finally we made it to the Green Dragon!

The only brew for the brave and true!

How I'd love to live here in peace and quiet and not go on any adventures that make me late for dinner.

Next we went to a Weta workshop exhibit in Auckland- it was awesome! Pic dump below!

Some good painting reference! How'd I do

Another good reference for my own Uruks.


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