Te Whanganui-A-Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve is in the east coast of the Cornmandel peninsula. It’s one of the regions most popular tourist attractions. Having visited this area before I was keen to walk down there as I hadn’t made time to do this in the past. This photograph was the main reason I decided to stay the night in the nearby town of Hariri. I wish I could have stayed longer. The photograph was taken at 8pm in the evening in mid November so the sun had just set. I wanted to capture the detail in the top of the archway as well as the famous Te Hoho Rock behind. This was taken on a tripod with a 6 second exposure. I didn’t bring torches to get back up the footpath which is a good lesson learned to keep a torch in the bag. There was quite a few people around but I got lucky to not include them in this view. 5 minutes later there were many people. It would be interesting to go back in winter and see if there could be some stars behind the rock on a clear night.
One of the first waterfalls I photographed in the Waikato region. It’s a staircase waterfall and the highlight of the Karanghi gorge, off State Highway 2. Even following the signs it was a little difficult to work out exactly where the waterfall was. About 100 metres off the highway on the right side. Theres about half a dozen carparks. Its only a 5-10 minute walk so its very accessible. Its actually a series of three waterfalls but this is the main one. When I arrived there was a group of half a dozen young women swimming in the water. I waited for them to finish their swim whilst I looked at all the various locations to photograph the waterfall from. There’s a few different rocks to stand on along the waters edge. Whilst I also captured shots from much further back looking up stream this was my favourite. It was a 30 second long exposure at f./16. The height of the waterfall is only 6 metres so it’s not one of the biggest in New Zealand. It’s one of my favourites due to the fanned out nature of the waterfall and the surrounding landscape.
The Water is my favourite part of the Hobbiton Movie Set at Matamata. This is right in front of the Green Dragon pub where the tour comes to an end. It gives you a chance to take your time getting photos like this without having to keep up with the rest of your tour group. In the foreground is a little jetty with a fishing rod. The hobbit who was fishing here must have just popped into the pub for a quick one. In the background is the double-arched stone bridge on the left and the Hobbiton mill. Most of the hobbit holes and on the hill behind the water and out of frame to the right of this scene.
Of the 44 hobbit holes on the Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, this is by far the most iconic. Peter Jackson said “It felt as if you could open the circular green door of Bag End and find Bilbo Baggins inside.” It certainly feels that way as we went past on the tour. Sadly you can’t go inside Bag End or even get your photo taken sat on Bilbo’s seat. The huge oak tree towering over Bag End is fake. Made from fibreglass. It weighs 26 tonnes and has 200,000 artificial silk leaves that were imported from Taiwan. Director Peter Jackson thought the shade of leaves wasn’t right and so had them all repainted by hand. It took 15 hours of work per day for 10 continuous days, all for a prop that was only on screen for 10 seconds!