Took one last look at Paihia Beach and started drive to Auckland North.
Stopped at Whangarei. Really lovely marina and lots of cafes and little shops. Beautiful weather, so we stopped for a coffee and crepes at The Quay. Really nice restaurant right on the water’s edge.
Moved on and stopped at Waiwera Place Reserve for a comfort break. Started to rain a little.
Arrived at The Spencer on Byron Road in Auckland to brilliant sunshine.
Nice room on the 9th floor. Hotel are doing renovations and staring on 9th floor later this month. Didn’t affect our one night here.
Went for a wander to the beach and then to a bar for a drink. Lots of bars, eateries to chose from.
Came back and decided to go for a swim. Pool and gym on 4th floor.
Thought we would give the hotel restaurant a try for dinner only to be told it had been fully booked by a party of 46. They did however book us a table for a little later but the party came to eat late, which made us even later. One drink on the house, we did eventually eat but at a table in the bar as it was quite noisy. Our food was excellent.
Had breakfast at the hotel - just the continental which was fine, then left to take a leisurely drive to Hobbiton Village. The drive was lovely with lots of scenic views. We arrived early for our tour but couldn’t get on an earlier one as they were fully booked. Lots of people turned up without tickets and were told they were fully booked for the next couple of days.
The Tours were 10 mins apart, then suddenly there was one 5 mins before ours, which might explain why the village was so crowded. I think they put on an extra tour. It was very hot and we were hurried along in certain parts. That said it was a lovely little village and our guide told us some interesting facts about filming etc. I hadn’t realised the village film set was so big. One slightly emotional moment was on the bus that took us to the village, playing the theme music for the film and looking out at the amazing view. The music always gets me.