clo_again: (More Rain?)
[personal profile] clo_again
A picture post for those not on my Facebook or who'd rather check it out here.

So today I went to Hobbiton (rather, a farm near Matamata owned by the Alexander family but really, Hobbiton.

The first view you have as you walk up the path from the bus. I knew they'd taken all the hobbit-hole trappings like fences and plants away (apparently it's because most of the outside of the hobbit holes was made of painted styrofoam, that and it's a working sheep farm so the owners didn't want it all left) and it does make the holes stand out more to have them white but it's still a bit sad when Hobbiton looked so pretty.

The hill, with Bag End at the top. The oak tree that sat on top of it in the film was actually chopped down on a neighbouring farm and brought in in pieces to be wired and bolted back together for the filming. It's now just a collection of rotting pieces of wood on top.

The lake (on the far side was where they built the mill and the village buildings like the pub) and the party tree. I did get the guide to take a picture of me hugging the party tree but he was the crappest photographer ever and nearly all the pictures he took came out blurry. Sigh.

Me in front of Bag End as it is now. It's the only hobbit hole you can actually walk inside and it's just a bare wooden room behind it but still. IAN MCKELLAN WALKED UP THOSE STEPS. :DDDDDDDDD

After getting back from Hobbiton slightly soggy despite the massive umbrellas they kept on hand for obviously such days, and very excited about The Hobbit film after spending the whole forty minute bus trip talking about it and the fact that they're actually making two films, The Hobbit and then a second film about what happens between Hobbit and Rings, which I did not know and is VERY EXCITING :DDD, I was kind of tired and didn't want to do much. However, the tour bus had come in on a different road than I'd been along before and I'd noticed a park with lots and lots of steam rising from it really close to my hostel. So, since I'm leaving in the morning and I hadn't yet seen any hot springs or boiling mud or anything that Rotorua is supposedly famous for, I stuck on my raincoat and went along.

Now, you have to understand that I find this place entirely batshit. I cannot imagine why anyone would look at boiling mud and think it's sensible to build right next door to it. So I went into the park stepping warily in case of sinkholes and thinking of Centralia which I've found both fascinating and terrifying ever since I first stumbled across it (probably I think, in reference to Silent Hill which used the idea of the town abandoned due to a coal fire. Yes I was thinking of Silent Hill too and twitching considerably even though I haven't even played/seen it). Anywhere that has steam rising from the ground cannot be safe, really. And as I walked around the admittedly impressive park, with steaming ponds and lakes (one complete with ducks), deep holes in the ground from which the sounds of boiling water could be heard or worse, boiling mud, puddles in the path that steamed, a distinctly unpleasant smell and more-than-slightly alarming orange tape around a few areas where apparently the ground had subsided into a sinkhole and they hadn't had time to build a proper solid fence yet... all I could think was 'I'm so freaking glad that I'm leaving here tomorrow.'

I'm not saying it wasn't an impressive park. It's not just everywhere you can wander in and see mud bubbling happily away while clouds of thick steam rise through autumn trees. But what gets me, especially when I stumbled through the steam along a wooden path to find myself on boling mud flats with dead trees and water that would probably burn my fingers off if I touched it, was this place is in the centre of town. There're houses and hostels and shops built all around the edges of this park. From the orange tape, clearly new sinkholes and hot pools open up on occasion.

Who in their right mind would live next to that? I have no idea, same as I have no idea why people would want to stay in Centralia. You couldn't pay me to live here in Rotorua. Seriously.

Every so often there'd be a sign warning of "Danger: Thermal Activity". Usually the massive clouds of steam rising behind the fence it was nailed to made them redundant.

There weren't just a few of these holes. They were everywhere, surrounded by heavy wooden fences along with steaming lakes and rocks surrounding smaller vents. In the space of one park that I could've crossed in less than three minutes if I walked at a normal pace in a straight line, there must've been upward of forty areas fenced off. That's not counting the two or three big (steaming) lakes.

Worse than all the holes and boiling mud was the point where I walked through a steamy path under the trees to find open mud flats where apparently the heat had killed the trees and taken over. It was like...stepping back in time. Or stepping into Silent Hill.

They've built their town around that. That can't make any kind of sense, really. Okay so there's all the rest of town which is fine and Lake Rotorua is massive and quite cold but... I still wouldn't live next to that. No way.

I need to pack and book my Uluru trip which I still haven't done, so I can cancel my disappeared card... and all I want to do is watch another episode of Good News Week (the two latest podcasts downloaded today, hurrah!) I'm tired and it's lovely to have the hostel room to myself for a bit so I can watch stuff without headphones. Eh. Maybe one more episode. Then productivity. Probably.

I really enjoyed Hobbiton today. I bought a LoytR location guidebook from the little shop after and it mentions the horse riding stables I'm doing my day's riding with (I need to call them soon and give them card details; must remember!) There's also apparently a superb LotR shop in Queenstown. I might've got a bit excited over that. LotR shop! :DDDD Awesome!

And now productivity. Yes.

Date: 2009-05-08 09:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That last photo is really spooky! And really good, actually.

Date: 2009-05-08 12:59 pm (UTC)
mayakittenreads: (Puss Impy)
From: [personal profile] mayakittenreads
So. Damn. Jealous.

Date: 2009-05-08 03:45 pm (UTC)
rionaleonhart: final fantasy versus xiii: a young woman at night, her back to you, the moon high above. (nor women neither)
From: [personal profile] rionaleonhart
Ooh, I love those Rotorua photographs. I am glad that you survived your trip to what clearly is Silent Hill. (Also, that Centralia article is absolutely fascinating.)

Date: 2009-05-08 07:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

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