Good news. This is the last long vacation post. The one after this will only have a link to the highlight video – not a thousand pictures. ;)
One of our favorite activities we booked in New Zealand was a horseback ride in Glenorchy through a place called Dart Stables. They have some Lord of the Rings-themed rides that start with a movie tour, so obviously that’s how I got Andrew on board.
They drove us around for the first hour and a half of the tour, showing us sites where movies were filmed and giving us a wealth of movie trivia.
Apparently these mountains are part of Isengard? I can’t remember. Ask Andrew. All I remember is that we passed a bridge and a wooded area where Hugh Jackman was in Wolverine. ;)
We thought our horses might have really epic names like Aragorn or Legolas, but we were given Doobie and Randall. Hahaha. They were fantastic nonetheless. ;)
Horseback-riding over a stream with mountains in the background makes you feel way cooler than you actually are.
Our guides were fabulous, and one of them was sweet enough to take our picture.
Fun fact: we literally met a guy who lives in Oklahoma while we were on this tour. We were in a group of maybe 8 people and 2 guides…IN NEW ZEALAND. What are the odds to meet a dude from Deer Creek!?
I loved this guy’s post-ride attitude. Haha.
After our ride, we made a stop at the legendary Fergburger restaurant for a late lunch. The line was always out the door when we’d gone by, and after eating our meal, we knew why.
This burger is Andrew-approved.
The rest of that day was spent driving around soaking in pretty scenery. :)
Jack was with us in spirit. ;)
This turquoise stream of perfection is called Shotover River, and I wanted to drop a cabin on the bank and live right next to it.
The next morning, we bid farewell to our happy lake view and headed for the airport.
Here’s the deal. If I spend a small fortune on a vacation that takes me halfway around the world to a place that is a once-in-a-lifetime, by-the-grace-of-God visit, I’m going to make the most of it. My idea of vacation is more adventurous than relaxing. ;) When I was booking flights, I saw one option that had an 11-hour layover in Auckland. Andrew’s whole obsession with New Zealand began with the Lord of the Rings movies, and at 2 hours away from the Auckland airport, I knew a quick trip to Hobbiton would be a little insane but doable. And thus, we rented a car and sped to the Shire because I really love my husband.
He was on a whole new level of nerd. ;)
The Hobbiton set is pretty much just an outdoor attraction. These little Hobbit holes don’t have much room at all behind the doors because all of the indoor shots were filmed at a studio in Wellington. So yes, we did go inside of one, but it wasn’t as glamorous as the movie. ;)
He’s going on an adventure.
After a speedy race back to the airport, we wept bitterly and boarded the plane to LA.
We have still been overflowing with gratitude over this trip. I can’t tell you how many little signs and blessings the Lord sent us while we were traveling. (He rocks.) If you have the chance, I obviously recommend you visit New Zealand. And Australia. If you want to peruse any of my travel research, you’re welcome to come over and chat if you bring me a cheese pizza.
The real question is…where should we go next? ;)