As you descend out of the mist & follow the undulating road you'd better keep your eyes peeled...
for there are hobbits in these parts
& a Baggins you just may spy,
if you keep your wits about you.
There has been great excitement & screeds of red carpet rolled out during this week of the premiere of the movie The Hobbit.
Filmed & directed here in New Zealand, we're all pretty chuffed about the honour & the fuss.
Actually, quite handy to Middle Earth itself, we came across a signpost on our journey back form Te Aroha.
The day was moody & dismal & an eerie sense of timelessness swirled about our journey. We had never even heard of Okoroire nor the hot springs near "Middle Earth" before.
Feeling a little as if we had stumbled into Strawberry Land (Ireland) we ran through the rain to the front door, only to be greeted by a crunky (Kaitiaki word), disinterested & unhelpful receptionist, although she did hand us a pamphlet & allowed us to wonder through & have a little squizz around parts of the hotel.
Grand rooms bound by dark wood panelling & huge old fireplaces; brooding massive paintings hanging over the mantlepieces were enough to make us turn tail & run, but the whisper of possibility that there were ancient hot springs nearby caused us to summon our courage & siddle back to the surly lady to ask about the pools. "Not open 'til 11.00 she stated emphatically."
a gap in the hedge caught my eye & so we wandered..
& across the carpet of carmine camelia petals
and found the pools that time forgot..
peering through the holes in the tin fence we began to change our minds,
but since it was raining, decided that we could be enticed into trying a dip in the No 2 pool. So back we trudged for the key. The only thing that had changed was 1/2 an hour..it could have been open any old time!
Water from the perpetual spring has been pouring through here to fill this pool over & over for as long as anyone can remember...the oldest concrete hot pool in the country.
It was the "Fairy Pool" or "Fairy Bath" as it is also known, we later realised we didn't actually find that day. Still with it's sandy bottom, surrounded by bush & ferns & twinkling with glow worms at dusk.
The Hotel may well be a classic piece of Kiwiana but it's the pools that we will return to, barely cared for yet magical, they are a memorable & historic treasure.
Photo:Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-3577
Returning our thoughts to The Hobbit (Hobbiton being in the same neck of the woods as Okoroire)
leads me to "Deluxe" our favourite Wellington cafe. Serving, incredible vegetarian food,
small & funky space,
with passionate & zany staff abounding.
The first time we walked in the door we were greeted by Superman wearing a t-shirt that said "I love the general public" & served our coffee by a fairy with a wedgie (her costume was a little small).
And since the red carpet was rolled out right in the very same building in Courtney Place, The Embassy Theatre, as Deluxe for the Hobbit Premiere here is a celebration of all things smiley by the Wellington International Ukele Orchestra, filmed mostly in Deluxe itself & you will see our Superman at the end still wearing the infamous t-shirt. Also featured...Lady Luck..do bring your sense of humour won't you.
Well there we are...thank you for joining us on our unexpected journey!
I hope you're managing to keep your smile & your sanity in the crazy time of December.
I am reminding myself to take small bites & go slow (thank you Pom)
Lovely to see you.