Moeraki Boulders

It’s always cool when you come across a natural phenomenon, and the Morekai Boulders located in Northern Otago are exactly what I’m talking about. How they came to be? No one actually knows, but rumors and tall tales fly rampant around this area as to how they were created. Maori (indigenous people of New Zealand) legend tells the tale that they were old eel baskets that washed ashore by the legendary canoe, the Araiteuru. Other people say the boulders are alien eggs which is completely absurd in my book.

Moeraki Boulders

Derik and I had quite the discussion as to why and how we think they got there…and we both agree that they had to have been man-made, and thus not a natural phenomenon. Everyone has their own assumptions though, and I think visiting the Morekai Boulders yourself will help shed light in your mind as to why/how they’re there.

The boulders are massive in size, and almost all completely spherical. Some have cracked open over time, revealing a gorgeous hollow-ish interior filled with quartz and some sort of orange mineral. The boulders range anywhere from 3ft-7ft in diameter, and weigh several tons.

I first saw the Moeraki Boulders while browsing ‘New Zealand Attractions’ on Pinterest some time ago, and I just knew we had to get there. The boulders are conveniently located on Highway 1 between Dunedin and Christchurch, and we were on the way up to Christchurch to bring our campervan back, so making this pit-stop worked perfectly!

Luckily they’re only about 40 minutes from Dunedin, so I’ll be revisiting sometime in the near future to get a few epic sunrise shots.

We decided to head up the night before, and stayed overnight in Moeraki Village Holiday Park. The park ended up being a lot further away from the boulders than we had originally anticipated, and we almost missed the sunrise the next day because of it. That being said, the park was clean, the owner was more than friendly, and there are two amazing restaurants nearby. Unfortunately the restaurant most notorious in Moeraki was closed for the day, so we settled for the Pub down the street. I had the most amazing fish and chips I’ve ever eaten there, and sitting by the fire was super cozy and warm on the cold day!

The next morning was overcast, and my ‘super awesome sunrise’ picture idea kind of went down the drain. Oh well, the boulders were still beautiful! Also a sea lion (pictured below) scared the pants off of me as I almost backed straight into him while I was taking a picture. I seriously was almost a foot from him before Derik yelled at me to turn around. I’ve never jumped so high and ran so fast out of there in my life!

Travel Tips: Go early in the morning. You may get some gorgeous sunrise shots, and not many people will be down by the beach. Also it’s low tide in the morning, so the boulders further out will be accessible to take pictures of and climb on. Make sure you grab a cup of coffee on your way down or you way back-the cinnamon latte is divine!

Cost: Free (suggested donation upon arriving and parking in the Moeraki Boulders Cafe and Gift shop center-be nice and donate something!)

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A Journey Through Middle Earth: Hobbiton

One of the coolest things about living in New Zealand is the fact that you’re always seemingly stepping onto a movie set location or two. You wouldn’t even know it if there weren’t for the tiniest posted signs declaring so, or learning via Google Search about it. However, Hobbiton is a completely different story. Although this movie set location does happen to be in the middle of a sheep field just like all the others, it’s the most well known Lord Of The Rings/The Hobbit landmark in New Zealand. Can I dare say most well known movie landmark in NZ?

You can’t just waltz in to Hobbiton, you have to book a tour. Don’t get too upset, the tour made the experience 99% cooler than it would have been if we strolled through ourselves. Why? We learned so many random facts about Peter Jackson, the set, the filming of,  and more that I can now pretty much say I’m somewhat of a self-proclaimed Hobbiton expert.

Hobbiton is the only remaining full set locations from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. Initial movie contracts stated that after a set has been used, it had to be torn down to bring New Zealand back to it’s natural, beautiful habitat. Believe it or not, Hobbiton was almost all but destroyed. Because of bad weather, the few remaining hobbit holes could not be torn down until the area dried up for heavy machinery to get back into the sheep field. During that waiting period, the family that owned the farm had curious neighbors and friends drop in to view what remained of the Shire. Word spread quickly, and before you could blink an eye, contract revisions were made and Hobbiton was restored to be a permanent tour location for those who wished to come visit Middle Earth.

The Hobbit holes are mostly just shells with less than 4 feet of standing room in the interior (some don’t even open up). I was super disappointed to find this out, but I guess that just means I’ll have to visit ol’ WETA workshop to see what the interior looks like. Or maybe Peter Jackson can give us a tour of his own private Bilbo Baggins replica Hobbit hole he had special made for his guests?

My favorite part during the tour was visiting the Green Dragon: a fully functioning tavern that brews it’s own Southfarthing beer (free beer for visiting). The scones, meat pies, and cheese platters they serve were also to die for, probably some of the best I’ve ever had. Could have just been because of the experience of visiting the Shire, but I doubt it. 

If you have a chance to go, be sure to stop by the gift shop! Not only can you get Tolkien’s entire written collection on Middle Earth, but you can buy elven robes, rings, Hobbiton beer,  Gandalf’s staff and more. Even if you don’t get anything I mean, some of us are dirt poor, it’s still fun to have a look around!

TRAVEL TIPS: Try to go in the fall/winter. We only had 4 other people on our tour, and were able to spend a lot more time talking to the tour guide! In the summer each guide can have over 30+ people per tour.
Tour ticket price: $60+
Tour hours starting at: 9:50am-5:00pm

Check out http://www.hobbitontours.com for more details!

The Shire, Matamata, New Zealand Hobbiton, Matamata, New Zealand Hobbiton, Matamata, New Zealand… [Read More]

Thoughts

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+Nature has been taunting me with it’s delicious sunrises, dewy grass, and warm sunbeams in the morning, but by noon the rains have set in for the rest of the day. Must be coast life/spring weather?

+Speaking of literally living 200 yards from the ocean, I’m not even sure I’ve seen a typhoon/tsunami evacuation route here. Our house and the neighbors’ on either side of us are the closest houses in town to the water. The neighbors have lived here for 30+ years, so I’m guessing there isn’t a problem? One of the many things I think about at night.

+Let’s talk about seasons. My entire Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Bloglovin’ feed are filled to the brim with everything fall. New Zealand is just going into spring, and my brain is all sorts of confused as to what it should think right now. That being said, I’LL HAVE A SPRING BIRTHDAY NEXT MONTH! I always wanted one.

+There’s a mouse living in our ceiling at least we think it’s a mouse. At night he shuffles around so quietly, it sounds like someone’s walking into our bedroom on the carpet floor. I wake up at 4am every morning thinking some creepster is standing over our bed. #ridiculous

+Tell me: Is there a difference between raisins and sultanas? Because… I’m all sorts of confused. I just bought ‘Sultana Bran’ at the store the other day, but I also grabbed a bag of raisins for oatmeal cookies I have yet to make. Enlighten me.

+Speaking of oatmeal cookies, I can’t figure out my oven. The temperature gauges and different heat cycle gauges have been rubbed off. I’m going into this blind here.  The other day I was reheating leftovers for lunch, and what should have taken 10-15 minutes to do took 60 minutes. I had the temperature gauge all the way up. I think. #idontknowwhatsgoingon Since I’m working at home and Derik’s working full time outside the home, this will be my entertainment/challenge for the month. Baking level went from ‘maybe I’ll blow my face off trying to manually light this propane oven’ to ‘I’m not sure what I’m doing.’

+I walked around half a week with only my left hand in full gel manicure. My poor right hand nails never felt more neglected. I’m sure people I came across on a daily basis thought I was super weird, but what’s new?

+Why is it that it always takes 3599 days to get your WIFI hooked up in a new house? The installer guy didn’t even come over.  A week after the initial installation and connection request, and multiple phone calls after that, he just called me back and had me set it up myself. What a rip off.

+I’ve started putting bean sprouts on everything. E.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.  Where this new obsession came from? I don’t know.

+I just began unpacking the three boxes I sent myself way back in May, and there were certain things I already forgot about. I couldn’t imagine unpacking the five we left at Derik’s parent’s house! They should probably just throw that crap away…we would never even notice it’s been so long since I’ve seen it. Actually, (parent’s-in-law if you’re reading this) I hope they don’t! I think our marriage license and my wedding band is in one of those boxes. Not sure which one.

+My phone is currently updating to the new IOS8 software. I hope it doesn’t explode. Any thoughts on the new iPhones? I’m intrigued by the 6+. I know it’s a monster of a phone, but I secretly want to hold it in my hands and check it out. Think of the pictures you could take/view on that thing.

+Since it’ll probably rain this weekend, I plan on getting my calligraphy and watercolors back out and have a little fun. Melyssa has been inspiring me with all her gorgeous instagram posts!

+I’ll also be posting about Hobbiton sometime this weekend. Yes…the Shire! It’s the post many of you have been waiting for, and I have no clue why it’s taken me so long to post it. Although we aren’t huge LOTR junkies, we enjoy visiting movie set locations whenever we can! We’ve also visited two movie set locations for The Chronicles of Narnia. I had no idea parts were filmed here.

+I was so encouraged and loved over my last post, I can’t even begin to tell you (my readers) how thankful I am for you! Between the emails, Facebook messages, comments, and tweets…you all are fantastic.

Happy (almost) weekend!