Safari of the Rings
Today we went on a Safari of the Rings tour with two awesome drivers: Malcolm driving the jeep Elrond, and Caroline driving the jeep Frodo.
Our first stop was part way up the Remarkables to see some spectacular views and some of the sights of Lord of the Rings. Malcolm pointed out to us where the Wargs attack the people of Rohan on their way to Helm's Deep, and where Aragorn falls off the cliff. He then turned around and pointed the opposite direction and said "and he lands in a river several kilometers that way, and when he finally gets out of the river it's in yet another spot." This was just an example of all the clever cutting and pasting Peter Jackson did in order to create the scenery of The Lord of the Rings.
Next we drove off toward Arrowtown and through the river. Not just across it, but for sections we were just driving along in the river. We stopped on one of the banks and Malcolm and Caroline made us tea, coffee and hot chocolate, and gave us fruitcake, shortbread and cookies. During our tea break Malcolm showed us how to pan for gold, and just about everyone found at least one tiny little flake. Not worth much, but really neat to find and get to keep! After another drive through the river we came back to the Ford of Bruinen. That's where Arwen calls the tidal wave of magic horses to flood the Nazgul. Of course, where we stopped it was just where the horses actually were standing. The scenery that you see in the movie, the backdrop, is filmed elsewhere and the two shots were pasted together.
We also got to see the sight of the Aragonath, or The Pillars of the Kings, and across the way from there we saw crazy people bungee jumping. Potapov says the only reason to do that is if you want to be able to eat again soon, or to fix your digestion since everything is backwards in the Southern Hemisphere. ;)
We got dropped back in Queenstown and ate a Hobbit sized lunch, and if you know Lord of the Rings you know that does not mean a miniature lunch. Hobbits eat tons! We ate at the Fergburger. They had huge, delicious burgers. I had a lamb burger and Hannah ate something called "Sweet Bambi". The people there were really nice too!
That concluded the group part of our morning and in the afternoon we all went our own ways. Shopping, exploring, napping and going to find Kiwi birds. This evening we take a gondola ride to the top of the mountain for dinner!
All I can think as we eat in the hotel dining room looking out over the beautiful lake Wakitipu or walking or driving through gorges and mountains is that the Lord has created a beautiful world, and too often I take it for granted. I am extremely grateful that I get to be in this beautiful part of the world with these really awesome people.
"Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation…. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the heights of the hills are His also. The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land." (Psalm 95:1,4-5)
March 2, 2010