NZ102 SYD>AKL 767-300, Seat 2A & 2B
NZ119 AKL>SYD 777-200, Seat 6A & 6B (2nd revenue flight with new refit)
The House of Rugby, Auckland - to get a tshirt.
Hobbiton, Matamata - to get a tshirt and hunt a hobbit.
All Blacks V Wallabies/Bledisloe Cup. Eden Park, Auckland - because we can.
Auckland Airport Novotel
Chestnut Lane B&B, Matamata
Check-in at Sydney airport was fast and painless and we were soon through security and off to the Koru lounge so hubby can have his 2nd breakfast, hes a Hobbit in training so the snazzy pancake machine was given a workout.
I thought the seats on this old bird are squishy but I was able to fully extend my leg (Im 5.10") and barely touch the seat in front of me so lots of leg room and the staff were lovely.
On arrival we cross the road and check in at the Auckland Novotel and we then headed out to The House or Rugby cafe & store - to get a tshirt. View from our level 8 hotel. Super quite, you dont hear any noise.
Next day we pick up our hire car and head off for a 2.5hr drive to Hobbiton, aka Matamata for the rest of us mortals.
Some Hobbiton facts. It costs $75pp to get in and after the sticker shock of that, you are bused in and out and no time to wander on your own and the tour lasts approx 2hrs BUT afterwards I thought it was worth the $75pp price and really enjoyed myself. I was really surprised by how much I liked this tour.
Another fun fact, during the filming of the movies, they had to create a special 1% beer because the actors were getting drunk on the beer they were using for film shoots and each person can try a beer or ginger ale at the Green Dragon pub at the end of the tour. Another fun fact is this is 4klms inside a working sheep and cattle farm and Peter Jackson found it on a helicopter fly over. The first LOTR trilogy was built out of materials that fell apart after shooting and the owners were not allowed to restore anything so when they came knocking for the Hobbit trilogy, the owners said they wanted to renegotiate the contract and Hobbiton was born.
I was surprised by how colourful the gardens where, I expected it to be a bit drab with winter but they have 5 full time gardeners on staff and lots of veggies and flowers growing.
We spent the night at a nearby B&B in Matamata, Chestnut Lane, and I can highly recommend this. Prompt email response from the hosts, lovely setting, separate accommodation, yummy breakfast and comfy stay. What else do you need when the only other alternatives are motel/cabins that look like they were last renovated in the 80s and could be the setting for a few low budget horror films.
Chestnut Lane Cottage is to the left of the main house.
The next day, after breakfast we checked out nearby Matamata and then drove back to Auckland via Hunua Falls which was a beautiful waterfall just minutes from the car park.