2-23-02 Latest News

There And Back Again - A Journey To Middle-Earth
Strider @ 10:28 pm EST

I thought I would share with theonering.net my experience on the Red Carpet Movie Tourís LOTR ultimate fantasy 12-day tour (http://www.redcarpet-tours.com). Iím on a small VIP tour of travel agents. Iíll send in updates as time and connectivity permit. This is the third installment. (Read the first installment here and the second here)

Feb 20th
Once again, we started out fairly early on a beautiful sunny morning. We started the day off with some actual New Zealand attractions that have nothing to do with middle earth. We saw some more geothermal activity (I tell you, boiling mud is just a pretty impressive thing, and kind of funny looking too), including a power plant where they harness geothermal activity to create energy Ė pretty nifty. Staying in the energy-generating theme, we headed off to Huka Falls Ė they arenít tall, but boy are they powerful. Having witnessed enough non-LOTR things for the day, we took off down the Desert Road and stopped and Rangipo Plains. A short hike took us out onto the plains for a nice view of Mt. Doom.

Pretty dang cool huh? All the hills and mountains in this area are all volcanic (as with most all the rest in New Zealand) and the plains are full of pumice and other evidence of fairly active volcanoes. We made a short stop for lunch, before heading around to the other side of the park and up the slopes of Mt. Ruapehu. Let me tell you this is one awesome place. In the winter it is a ski area, but in the summer, the area is clear of snow and the rocky terrain is stunning this area was used for some different Mordor scenes, including some with Orc armies as well as some scenes with Frodo and Sam.

The end of our amazing day brought us back to Ohakune and The Hobbit Lodge. It turned out to be a delightful little motel, complete with a fabulous restaurant and bar. The food there would make Bilbo proud Ė perfectly delicious, and plenty of it. They even have steak with mushroom sauce. And the desserts are something to write home about. I thought I was getting a simple chocolate sunday, but it turned out to be a veritable masterpiece, and enough to easily feed two. It was the perfect hobbit ending to another brilliant day.

Tomorrow Ė Rangitikei River (River Anduin), Kapiti Coast (Pelannor Fields), and the lead Nazgul and his horse.