Thursday, May 7, 2015

Hutt Valley and Ferry Back to Picton

On the drive from Napier to the ferry terminal in Wellington, we enountered a sign for a model railroad and cheese shop. We took the exit and traveled down a road to someone's family farm. A lady came out of the house and gave us some samples of Cwmglyn Farmhouse Cheese, which turned out to be award-winners at some London cheese event and were also served to Prince William and Kate and their little boy, George, when they were in New Zealand. We bought a $20 block of the full cream cheddar which was very tasty and were on our way.

In the Hutt Valley, we stopped at some Lord of the Rings sites, including the first one that has been marked -- Rivendell. They left a smaller-scale stone arch to commemorate the time spent filming there. We stood on the spot Legolas had gotten his promo photos for the movies. It was well worn!

Rivendell was set up here.

Fords of Isen

Where Gandalf and Saruman were walking in the Gardens of Isengard
After passing so many dairies which almost all have signs for CookieTime cookies, I finally looked up their company history online and discovered that the founder essentially pirated the Nestle Toll House cookie recipe from his time spent in the U.S. and marketed it to New Zealanders. This explains why one of my students asked me how I got my chocolate chip cookies to taste just like the CookieTime ones!! It's a little upsetting that people think these are a uniquely New Zealand cookie. The guy just cut the chocolate pieces into large chunks so they're "chocolate chunk". (It is hard to find actual chocolate chips here also.)
not my picture - I have yet to try one of these
The ferry was a bit rockier this time, but it made better time and arrived over half an hour early. We checked into Picton's Villa Backpackers Lodge hostel, which as promised online served us warm apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It's hard to beat that kind of hospitality.
Last look at Wellington before boarding the ferry

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