Strath Taieri

by Ian Brodie· March 10, 2017· in · 0 comments
The Strath Taieri region of New Zealand lies close to the city of Dunedin, but it’s a million miles away from the city. Here the landscape is rough, tough and stunning. The seasons are extreme, with winter often casting a cloak of white whilst summer bakes the parched grass in 30C. In the small town of Middlemarch, the locals are friendly, the coffee is good and the landscape envelops you from every view. I encourage you to visit this area at least once in your life-time. I hope you walk away, like me with remorse to leave such beauty and vow to return. This glacial valley and river plateau is my favourite part of New Zealand and is my very happy place. For more information visit the website here. More information from Wikipedia below. In 1990 the Central Otago Railway was closed and the line from Clyde back to Middlemarch soon uplifted. Nevertheless, a tourist train service was being operated from Dunedin to Strath Taieri by way of the Taieri Gorge on the remaining part of the line. Since 1991 this has been run by the Taieri Gorge Railway Limited owned by the Dunedin City Council. In 1993 the course of the […]
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The Real Middle-earth

by Ian Brodie· March 10, 2017· in · 2 comments
The varied landscapes of New Zealand have captured my imagination for as long as I can remember. I still vividly recall holidays in Rotorua, an excited 8 year old exploring the native bush and tall redwood trees of Hamurana. We often visited relatives in Palmerston North and I revelled in the journey, especially from Taupo where the mountains of Tongariro National Park beckoned like a Lonely Mountain or an ashen peak of Mordor. My imagination ran wild through the gorges of the Rangitikei as the cliffs frowned down on the mighty river below. It might have been the real Middle-earth that I gazed upon but it was incomplete. Browsing in a record store in 1972 my curiosity was piqued when I spied an album cover featuring a beautiful illustration that featured a ring being held in the palm of a hand with a fantastical landscape receding into the distance. I had never heard of Swedish artist Bo Hansson or the book that had inspired this haunting music. The music continued to play in my mind and the following year I was introduced to the final two pieces of a jigsaw that would shape my life. We went on holiday to the […]
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Hobbiton Movie Set

by Ian Brodie· February 01, 2017· in · 0 comments
Breathe in the atmosphere of gentle rolling hills covered in soft grass and it soon becomes apparent why Hobbiton was created here, thousands of kilometres from Sarehole and Tolkien’s rural England. Here, hedgerow-lined lanes provide glimpses of paddocks and grassy downs, which are a vision of the Shire, almost as if a part of England has been transplanted. The area’s Englishness can be accredited to Josiah Clifton Firth, who emigrated from Yorkshire in 1855 and established a lasting friendship with local Maori. With a strong vision of the area’s potential as a leading farming district, he purchased 56,000 acres of swampy marshland. After large-scale drainage he planted vast paddocks of grass, barley, wheat and oats. As his efforts were rewarded, a transformation took place. Hedgerows grew alongside oaks and elms and, as the area prospered, the railway pushed south from Auckland. Today, Matamata is a country service town with another string to its bow, as a centre of international tourism. Thousands of visitors come each year to see the location of Hobbiton, the spiritual heart and hearth of both the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies. 0 Hobbit Holes Completely rebuilt for filming The Hobbit 0 Images taken of […]
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