December 15, 2010


By: Alex Perry

Hobbiton was beyond my wildest dreams. We started the day off by packing up at our little cottage and driving to the nearby small but busy town named Matamata. We found our ride on the Hobbiton bus to the movie set. The next movie, "The Hobbit" is beginning filming soon so we were ready for an updated version of what the usual tours would get since the set crew was working on returning the Shire to its original glory.

Our bus driver gave us some cool facts about the area and like all of New Zealand, the scenery was spectacular. There were rolling hills, trees and mountains in the background. The first thing we saw was the Green Dragon Pub and the bridge. For the next few moments we saw nothing and then the Shire opened up for us.

It was like your wildest dreams put into a valley. The spectacular little Hobbit holes were perfect. Our guide led us through the entire beginning of the movie. The detail Peter Jackson put into the movie was almost over kill. For example 250,000 leaves were glued onto an imported tree that hangs over Bag End because CGI didn't cut it. The little Hobbit holes were all different colors, shapes and sizes. These holes are the exact same as in the movie which we had watched the night before.

After our tour of Hobbiton we were led to a sheep shearing shed. There were a load of cute lambs outside that we got to pet. Inside a man sheared a sheep in less than thirty seconds and mom said that she has seen it done even faster before. Our shearing hero brought out bottles of milk for us to fee the lambs. After this we were on our way to Whangarei.

If you were wanting to come to Hobbiton soon I wouldn't suggest it. They are about to close the tours due to the filming; June would probably be a better time to come. Hobbiton has made it onto my top ten places we've been and I hope that you can enjoy it to.

(Unfortunately we had to sign a confidentiality agreement and we are not allowed to post any photos of our visit until the movies are released......sorry.....)

December 14, 2010

Perry Style with a dash of Uncle Rob

By: Amelia Perry

A day ago Uncle Rob and Brian arrived in New Zealand. We've been laughing and playing and having fun ever since; playing cards, sleeping, watching movies and eating.

The day after they arrived Mom had our day all planned out. We drove about two hours from where we were to go see the Information center in Rotorua. The object of the day was to go to the hot springs but believe me we had a few stops on the way. When we walked in we went right up to the counter and asked, "What free things can we do in this town?" Every single thing the woman said was not free so we started off with a walk around the park.

Once we were done our walk we drove the car over to Domino's for pizza but believe me the only reason we went there was because we had coupons. We got 2 eight piece pizzas and Uncle Rob got Alex and I each an expensive pop. This is what we call "Perry Style with a dash of Uncle Rob".

After lunch Uncle Rob announced he was treating us to a luge ride. Wahoo! We got to the start with huge smiles on our faces as we started going up the gondola. Once we were at the top we got ready for the luge down. We got our helmets on and got in our cart. We flew down the side of the mountain like no bodies business. YIKES!

Next on the list was the hot springs. We drove and drove for hours on end until we came across a hidden natural hot springs in the forest. We saw some cars parked on the side of the road and we stopped and walk in and there at the side of the road was the most amazing Hot Springs EVER; converging currents, current flows, and pure relaxation. It felt good! The only unnerving part was that if you put your head under water the sign said it was fatal.

Can you guess the best thing to do after a long day? How about do something illegal? When mom and dad were last here 20 years ago they went to a place called "Craters of the Moon" and they thought it was great, so they took us there. The only problem was it wasn't open, so dad said, "We're doing it Perry style". We broke in! We went about 20 minutes down this horse path where we got a bit of a view of the huge steaming bubbling mud crater. Before we knew it we heard sirens. We turned around and started running for the car. We never found out if they were coming after us. We drove away so fast. What a way to end the day!

December 13, 2010

Man vs Tractor

Imagine Alex, Amelia, Graham and I all crowded around the arrival gate at the Auckland airport with huge smiles on our faces. Each time the doors would slide open we would all wait in anticipation hoping it was Rob and Brian and then be let down. It seemed like the moments took forever, until finally as the doors slid apart we saw two huge smiling familiar faces looking back at us. Screaming and hugging ensued and of course a few tears. After more than 24 hours of travel time they were still able to crack a few jokes and make us all laugh.

We decided to start their trip off "Perry style" and we took them out to our car and pulled the picnic lunch from the trunk and sat down in the grass next to the parking lot and enjoyed. Rob is use to life on the cheap with us but BThack is a bit new to it and he said it was refreshing and he was up for whatever we had planned. Gotta love that attitude.

Next we got in the car and headed out for a farm cottage I had rented near "Hobbiton". I thought this would be a great surprise for both of them and a nice place to decompress after their long trip. I was a bit concerned about the place since I managed to widdle the owners down to $100 a night for the 6 of us and they agreed but said they weren't able to send photos....

The farm was about 2 hours away and my gut hurt from laughing so much by the time we arrived. It was so funny because we took a wrong turn and drove down this long laneway to this unkept house with toys, garbage and lawn furniture strewn about.....I was so scared that this was the place but luckily we realized our mistake and turned around.

When we finally found our house we were so happy. From the outside it didn't look like much but it was on the most amazing piece of land, overlooking a beautiful waterfall. The house was also surrounded by dairy cows....pretty cool. Once we went inside we were thrilled. The house was the perfect farm house. It had 3 rooms with just the right amount of beds and was set up so nicely. We weren't there more than 30 minutes and we were off on a walk....absolutely stunning landscape.

We have missed Rob so much and his zany sense of humor. On the walk a huge tractor was coming down the road at us and he wasn't moving over to let us continue walking on the pavement. We were all forced to move off and into the ditch. Rob was mad and was saying what a jerk this guy was. Well on the way back from our walk the guy is making his way back on the road and I know this is going to turn into one of those Rob moments. The guy proceeds towards us, again not moving over and forcing us to head for the ditch. Rob says that he isn't budging and he continues to walk on the road and the tractor isn't moving. I couldn't believe we were watching a real life version of against tractor....The guy is waving in the window for Rob to get in the ditch and there is no way Rob is going to do this. Brian was walking behind Rob and at this point jumps in the ditch with us. Rob continues and thank goodness at the final moment the Kiwi moves over and avoids hitting Rob! You can all imagine how pleased Rob was.

Man I have missed him. I am so over the top happy to have him here for the next few weeks. I can't wait for more crazy Rob moments.

Brian has been fitting in like family. We are wishing he could of brought Mama Thackoorie along with him but he has promised to make us all dinner one night and he even has a name for it..."Mack Thackoorie"......I will let you know how that goes!

Loving life in NZ


December 03, 2010

Our Island

Our cement island is slowly being covered with all of our belongings. We are the neighbors no one wants to have. Our engine sits beside our boat, along with a whole lot of other crap. We have our friends over and they bring their camping chairs and their coolers of beer and we have a grand time on the island! We feel very redneck.

Today Chris from Stray Kitty and Dave from Nikita came over and helped Graham and Alex hoist up the newly repaired engine off the dock and into Artemo. Of course the day was interlaced with many other happenings. Dave had the kids take his dinghy over to the shore and clean the bottom. Thank goodness our kids knew better than to say no! They both love Dave and would even clean his bottom :-). Stray Kitty got in on the fun and took their dinghy over for a good cleaning to.

The guys changed the oil in all the outboards, here on our lovely island and then touched up the outboard engines with Dave's spray paint. All of these activities are much more fun when chocolate gooey's are involved, so I made sure to deliver.

Finally the main attraction was set to begin and the 4 guys got to work. I took the job of camera woman. I was so happy they didn't need me for any heavy lifting. It was so much fun to watch them all work together. Each of their personalities compliments the others. In a situation like this it could of been stressful but we had all the right people and it actually look like fun......I am sure if they read this they will say otherwise though :-).

Alex was such a big help to. I was surprised when they gave him the job of hoisting the engine. I have to confess I was a bit stressed as I watched him winch and watch as Artemo leaned over. Luckily it was all over before I knew it and Graham was handing out beer.

In the mist of it all a huge gaggle of cruiser kids had assembled like a snowball that kept growing. They were all having races up and down our island. Right now they are over at shore racing around in these trollies they have to bring groceries to your boat. I hope no one realizes they are my children!

Tonight we off yet again to Stray Kitty for another party. They have the biggest boat so they get to host the most parties. We are bbque'ing up a huge wack of meat we bought in town the other day and we have all cooked other yummy dishes to go along. I love nights on Stray Kitty.

Graham is just at the shower and once he is back we will be off. Pretty great day here in New Zealand. I feel so lucky to have so many fantastic friends. I am going to tell them just that tonight!!
ps....Guess what surprise news I received yesterday????......MY MOM IS COMING FOR CHRISTMAS! I am so happy. I am so grateful. I am so excited!!!! Life is pretty good.