Much as we enjoyed our time in Auckland, after three nights we were ready to leave the confines of the city and breathe the country air. A scenic two hour drive south of Auckland, we arrived at Matamata. Established as a Māori pā in 1830, the name means ‘headland’ and the position on a ridge of high ground was perfect for the defensive settlement. The town is now recognised as the home of The Shire, anyone who is familiar with The Lord of the Rings will know what I mean. There was no doubt we were in Hobbit country when we located the information centre.

1.information centre2.information centre

We were very fortunate to have booked accommodation only 4km from Hobbiton, it wasn’t difficult to see why Peter Jackson chose this area for the filming of his movie.


The setting of Buckland B&B couldn’t have been more peaceful,

8.Buckland B&B

the spacious living area was a welcome contrast to our cramped city apartment. It is amazing how a section of this American barn has been so tastefully transformed.


The outdoor area was perfect for a late afternoon aperitivo,

12.outdoor setting

undisturbed by the amiable neighbours.


Scrumptious homemade bread was delivered to our door daily, what didn’t get eaten for breakfast was enjoyed with our Rangihoua olive oil at dinner.

We stayed four nights at Buckland, not only is it close to Hobbiton it is a great base for day trips west to Hamilton and east to Rotorua. Thank you Tracy & Kevin for a wonderful experience.

Al Vecchio Fontanile

For our last night in Italy, I had found a B&B situated in the rural outskirts of Rome, only a half hour drive to the airport. We had a few issues with the GPS, it seemed some of the road names were different to the directions we had been given. After a few trips up and down the same stretch of road, we eventually arrived at Al Vecchio Fontanile. The stone farmhouse was only a few years old

1.the farmhouse

and was surrounded by fruit trees and olive trees.

2.the orchard

The younger family members were very welcoming and well behaved.

Our room was comfortable and beautifully finished, it felt like we were in a much older house.

5.our room

I love the detail in the curtains.


The quality and style continued in the bathroom.


After relaxing with a restorative beverage or two, we drove to a nearby ristorante, Il Sogna and enjoyed delicious ravioli, gnocchi and panna cotta. We were bestowed with complimentary biscotti and homemade grappa before wending our way back, without the help of the GPS. The breakfast spread the next morning was sensational.


Served in a lovely sunny room it was the perfect way to start the day.


Trevigue Farm

While travelling through Britain, we stayed at many wonderful B&Bs. Trevigue Farm was no exception.

1.Trevigue Farm

We navigated the narrow lanes of Cornwall, getting momentarily lost in Crackington Haven, to find this beautiful 16th century farmhouse.

2.Trevigue Farm3.Trevigue Farm4.Trevigue Farm5.Trevigue Farm

Located high on the Cornish cliffs, this 200 acre farm is set around an ancient cobbled courtyard.


We were welcomed into the gorgeous entrance hall

7.entrance hall

and shown to the sitting room

8.sitting room9.sitting room

where we enjoyed a cup of tea and home baked treats.

10.sitting room

There was a snug alcove tucked around the corner.


We were then led up the stairs


to our bedroom.


The room was magnificent with a huge French style bed, vaulted oak beamed ceiling


and a lovely outlook over the courtyard.

16.bedroom view

We strolled around the farm admiring the stunning views


and the contented animals.



The next morning we were treated to a marvellous cooked breakfast in the cosy dining room

23.dining room24.dining room

before heading off for a day of discovery in Cornwall.