During the week, VNTRbirds were working really hard on all of their school assignments and attending most classes. Though, once it got to Thursday, the girls were sick of wasting the sunshine! After all lectures and tutorials were over for the day, the two birds fluttered over to their friends’ house from Colby College in Maine. Fellow New Englanders were what the birds were craving and knocked on the door. The three boys Dave, John and Zack were all suited up and ready to go surfing. Jaime packed up her camera and Kelley snagged a sweatshirt and they were all off to the bus stop.

While on their way Tucker and Sumi joined onto the motley crew. Sumi and Kelley long boarded ahead of the rest cruising through the streets of Wellington. Being yelled at my numerous drivers, the girls decided that the crowded sidewalks might be the better bet. Kicking and pushing all around the block by the bus stop until the rest of the crew joined was enough to cure Kelley’s shred fix, but not for long.

The bus to Lyall Bay was a long one, but it went quickly through all of the conversations. Many of TUB’s friends will be continuing their worldly adventures while TUB will be returning back to the states. With a flicker of jealousy, the girls started planning their next trip when the summer returns. If any of the TUBscribers would be interested in going to Mt. Hood, Oregon with the birds, then leave a comment!

Once at Lyall Bay, the Colby boys scattered to put on their wet suits, booties and wax their surf boards. Jaime was busy setting up her tripod (which she had to re-position multiple times because of the high tide) and taking a few shots of the ocean while Tucker ran in for a quick, freezing dip and Sumi and Kelley were off long boarding again down the sidewalks.



When they were finally tuckered out, the two joined Jaime in trying to search out the boys in the surf. With a popular and crowded beach, it wasn’t an easy task. Wets suits need to get a little more diversity. Though, Jaybird did get some luck and snuck a few shots in.



After using up all of their energy tossing a rugby ball, running in the sand and surfing the crew climbed into the bus and headed back up to campus. They all returned together at the birds’ flat to share some brews and laughs.

That night TUB, Oliver and Sager got together because they heard that the weekend, that was only a day away, was the last weekend that Hobbiton would be open for tours before the filming for the Hobbit began! Of course the two birds, both standing at 5′ 0” were dying to get to the Shire! And so the planning began at midnight. Car, tickets and friends – they were leaving in less than 12 hours!
Right before TUB &co left, Tucker decided to join in on the activities. With a tiny, compact car, it was tricky getting everyone and everything in. Not like it needs mentioning by now in the trip, but yes, VNTRbirds were again squeezed into a car. The next seven hours of the ride up to Rotorua were just crazy events. To sum a few up, Sager burned six CDs and the crew started with Supertramp, 26 bagels were bought for half price, trunk was left open – everyone running around the highway to gather their sleeping bags and pillows, Taupo for a beer and rugby then finally they were in Rotorua, but that wasn’t the end of the hassles and laughter.




Searching out a campsite, Oliver couldn’t remember where the DOC site was. After talking with a police officer, the crew was lead to a Holiday Park. This was a little too pricey so the five companions continued on to search out some grassy field to set up shop.
This is when they passed a ‘look out point’ with a large parking lot and just enough grass to squeeze in the two tents. PERFECT. It was already 11:30PM and time to get things up for bed. Kelley and Tucker took off to see if there were any more decent spots with grass and discovered some glow worms hanging around the walkway. Everyone gathered around and took in the lights of the worms and the night sky. The night ended with shared stories and pillow talk before sleep came in.

The next morning, everyone was slow moving, but there was plenty of time to waste before heading off to Matamata. The tents were rolled up, sleeping bags were stashed and everyone munched on a bagel for breakfast before going down the walkway for a morning cruise. TUB &co’s ‘lookout’ was a perfect spot between two lakes, Green Lake and Blue Lake. Yes, those are their names because one is emerald green and the other is blue, New Zealand is very crafty. The views were serene and beautiful.




When it was time to leave, the crew stopped at Fat Dog, the same place they enjoyed a hot lunch at after Whitewater rafting during orientation! Then Kelley popped into the driver’s seat with Oliver as her navigator and lead everyone the last 45 minutes to Hobbiton. Once they passed a ‘Welcome to Hobbiton’ sign, the car load was very excited. Pulling into a parking lot, the five jumped out and ran to go meet up with Quentin who took a bus down from Auckland to join in.
Here TUB needs to let their readers know that they cannot put up any of their pictures from the wonderful little movie site of Hobbiton, well, not until both of the Hobbit movies are out in 2013. VNTRbirds are just as upset as you are, but they can tell you that the tour is worth it! Getting on a rickety old bus , labeled “Hobbiton Movie Set Tours” and driving through the farm land truly brought everyone into the LOTR mindset.

TUB &co. had a wonderful guide who threw out a lot of information on how the site was made, why it was picked and so on. He included a lot of quotes from the Tolkien books and showed off different spots such as where Bilbo gave his birthday speech, the pass that Gandolf rolled through on his wagon and when the two shared a scene of puffing on their pipes.
After two hours of running around the hobbit holes and wanting to live inside one with all their friends living in the other 39 around, the tour was ending and the large group was shuttled to a small cafe. Watching a demonstration on shaving sheep’s wool was next on the list. The man in charge stripped off his shirt, making TUB giggle and smile like school birds, spun this sheep around until all of the wool was on the stage and the sheep was begging to leave from his nakedness. This goes on every seven months for those sheep, doesn’t seem like too much fun on their end.


Afterwards everyone got to snag a handful of wool and then go out to feed some little lambs. Lambs wool is the softest and boy are they hungry little things. They were getting the most attention and running about the crowd until it was time for TUB &co to get back on the bus and head over to their tiny car.


The drive home seemed like it went a lot faster than the drive up, playing different games and stopping only for a quick kebab dinner. The crew had to make it home for fellow TEANer Megan’s birthday! The freshly 22 year old was stoked on seeing them once they arrived and the night wasn’t over until they said it was. Life in New Zealand is what you make it, and VNTRbirds are making it awesome.