One can easily make a day’s driving loop from Ohope, where the family lives, to Taupo to the Tongariro National Park to Matamata (Hobbiton) to home again. However, we enjoyed a five day family trip that included skydiving in Taupo, hiking the classic Tongoriro Crossing 19.4 km hike past Mt Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom), and visiting the set for Hobbiton. Sebastian and Emma were impressive hikers on the Tongariro Crossing. At ages 11 and just turned 13, they were challenged beyond anything they had ever done before. They completed the hike (12 miles) in good spirits, and only minor complaints. Anyone who enjoys Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit who comes to New Zealand should definitely work Hobbiton into their visit. The set really does bring those movie scenes alive! Meg and I are grateful for the deep memories we are building with our family, despite the physical distance by which we are separated.