Hobbits, Ostriches, and Worms – Oh My!
Be forewarned. This week might come off as a rant at first but it’ll get better, I promise! We went to the popular tourist-y spots: Hobbiton and Waitomo. But let’s start off on the planning to get there. We had planned to book with “Company A” and while I was exchanging emails with a representative, a new representative came back and told us that we actually can’t go on the trip because we need 4 people. Did the Groupon mention this? Nope. Was this noted anywhere on their company site? Nope. This was a day before we were supposed to go. Luckily we hadn’t paid yet so we went fishing for a new company. Luckily enough, another was available AND noted that it had a required minimum people to go. Company B was more explicit but only about this one policy. I probably spent around 2 hours fishing for Company B’s phone number or email. When I got through on one number, I thought “hallelujah”! But then I waited for 11.2 minutes for somebody to pick up- Kate (roommate) was beside herself with laughter when it said “estimated wait time: 2 minutes” around the 6-minute mark. BUT I GOT THROUGH!!! AND GOT CONFIRMATION!! YES!! After that, was smooth sailing.
On the day of, we had already gotten permission to take the day off work. We woke up at 5am to get ready for this 13-hour long trip. But once we got in the van, we were met with snacks and drinks. While I fell asleep nearly immediately on the way to Hobbiton, I did catch the first few minutes of the first Hobbit movie as well as the faces of the 3 other people on the trip. Once we arrived, I ran to the café to get some coffee. And although it was a bit foggy, Hobbiton was a delight nonetheless. Because we were the first group of the day, there was nobody else (except one group receiving a private tour…family friends?) and we were able to get good pictures. By the way, as a 5’0” tall gal, I fit in perfectly well in Hobbiton- it was more like returning home. At the end of the tour, we had made friends with the tour guide Sunny and were in high spirits.
Afterward, we headed to Waitomo to grab some food and for the caves. We got an amazing $20 deal for an entire battered fish and a buffet (with the best pumpkin soup I’ve ever had). We were told that we were headed to Waitomo caves now. BUT THEN! We made a pit stop and visited some ostriches. They’re funny and weird. Very flappy. Anyways, upon getting to Waitomo, we were surrounded by stars in the caves- or what looked like stars (I’d insert a picture but we weren’t allowed to take pictures of them). They’re actually glow worms and their bums are shiny. As you can tell from the picture above, we made some friends on our tour- they’re the other people who were with us in our tour bus/van. It was the first time I’d made friends with everyone on a tour with me and to be quite honest, it was great.