We started the day with a walk along the coastal path that we had followed in the kayaks the previous day, stopping at Gemstone Bay and Stingray Bay. Then we were back on the road heading south towards Matamata, the home of the Hobbiton set used in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
The tour bus drove us through the Alexander Farm, which was spotted by Peter Jackson when he was looking for a suitable location for filming, and to the entrance of the Hobbiton set. We spent around two hours walking through the Hobbiton village past many hobbit holes and gardens. An amazing amount of detail went into constructing the set, some of which never even made it into the films. The original set was taken away after Lord of the Rings but then reconstructed for The Hobbit, and left in place as a tourist attraction. We finished the tour in The Green Dragon – a themed pub with open fires and nice beer!
In the evening we drove from Matamata to our next stop, Rotorua, which is famous for its geothermal activity (and inevitably the smell of sulphur in the air). We stayed in the Cosy Cottage Thermal Holiday Park, and had enough time to try out the onsite geothermal pools which were 38°c!