(Finally starting to catch up with these posts—there’s so much to talk about and so many pictures that I must break it up day-by-day!)
On this very fine Sunday, I had a lovely early lunch at the adorable Vudu Café & Lauder, recommended to me by my friend Alexis. Ordering from their pre-made deli and desserts, I had a salmon, feta, tomato and lettuce on a baguette with a coffee to wash it down. Absolutely delicious! I must go back to try more. They have a back deck next to the waterfront with a lovely view of the jet boats, shark boats and other weird attractions.
The highlight of the day: Lord of the Rings tour of Wakatipu Basin with Nomad Safaris. To be honest, as a complete LotR freak, I was underwhelmed. The sights/scenery we saw were pretty far off—we didn’t get close to any of the film locations, nor were there many interesting things to take pictures of. Then, randomly, we went four-wheel-driving in the Arrow river and panned for gold (
Why? Did they film here? I figured it out!! This was the site where they filmed The Ford of Bruinen—where Arwen was trying to get sicky sick Frodo to Rivendell and where she fended off the Ringwraiths with a giant, galloping wave of death). Additionally we stopped alongside the road to have a look at some bungy jumpers, which was actually really cool because our tour guide was one of the first bungy jumpers and a good friend of AJ Hackett (the man who invented the now popular thrill). The last half of our drive was largely unrelated to LotR, mostly just history of the area and showing us where famous celebs have houses, etc.
Overall, I’m not sure that I would pay NZ$175 to do this tour. It was a bit pricey and didn’t live up to expectations. I’ve actually already had another one of Nomad Safaris’ tours booked for Thursday, so we’ll see how that goes. Hopefully it’s better than the first one. There are a few other guides in the area that do LotR tours that I only just learned about, so maybe one of them is better. For next time (If I come back!) I think I’ll just buy the Lord of the Rings Film Location Guidebook by Ian Brodie and rent a car.