Peter's competition finished on Saturday with him coming 5th in Veterans, his best placing yet! He is also bringing home a silver medal in A Grade.
On Sunday morning we got up and drove for an hour to Matamata to visit Hobbiton and see where The Lord of The Rings Hobbit village was built. The two-hour tour took us past various Hobbit homes including Bag End, through the vegetable gardens and orchard, onto the village green and under the party tree before stopping at the Green Dragon Inn for a drink and something to eat. It was great to see the set but disappointing to realise you could not go in any of the houses as they don't exist. All the interior filming was done at studios in Wellington.
After Matamata we drove up the western side of the Coromandel Peninsula stopping at Mount Manganui which is a lovely beach resort area. From there we continued north looking at various beaches until we stopped at Tairua for the night. Our room overlooked the beach and was a lovely spot.
Today we continued further north to Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach but did not get there at low tide which would have given us a better look at Cathedral Cove and allowed us to dig a hole in the sand at Hot Water Beach and let it fill with thermal water to dip in!
The road was narrow and windy, often going up or down mountains.
After our beach stops we drove across the peninsula to Coromandel town and stopped for lunch and a wander along the street, another pretty town. The drive south down this side of the peninsula hugged the coast and was narrow and windy again but the scenery was stunning - both the beach and the countryside. Our drive brought us back to Thames, where we had started and then back to Auckland. Tonight we're staying in a motel near the airport and will drop the car off in the morning.
Our few days of touring have been lovely and we've enjoyed both the scenery and the food along the way. I believe the competitions will be in the South Island next year so we're planning to come back for that!