After a rushed morning - our final day in Auckland - and a lovely lunch with our friends Dev & Geeta who'd just moved to NZ not too long ago, we scooted off to Waikato, about an hour south of Auckland.
This was a last minute stop, as we realised only a week before departure that we had inadvertently skipped one night in our hotel dates which meant that we had a gap between Auckland and Tauranga, and the hotel could not fit us in for one more night. Since we were booked in for Hobbiton the next morning, we booked an Airbnb in Waikato, which would cut our drive to Hobbiton in Matamata by half.
The Old School Room, Waikokowai (Huntly)
With the route to Matamata already set for Monday morning, we couldn't venture too far off the Auckland-Hamilton route, and so The Old School Room in Waikokowai, seemed like the perfect spot. Right in between the two stops, and curiously furnished to boot.
The building is literally, an old school room. The Waikokowai School, which had been established over 100 years ago, and ceased operations as a school in the early 2000s when its number of pupils dwindled to one.
Set on a 5 acre private residence owned by Fiona Jones, her dog Daisy, a cow and her calf, some chickens and roosters, and several other animals that happen to pop by from time to time.
A large living space, with high ceilings there are enough beds to sleep 6 in total. A pool table takes centre stage in the Old School Room, and the whole family got into the game with varying degrees of success... Can't help laughing at how gangsta Summer looked with the lollipop sticking out of her mouth as she set the pool table up for her game :)
The decor and ambiance is really for folks who a looking for something out of the ordinary. Fiona's dad's ashes are placed next to the kitchenette...she did ask us politely if we wanted it moved into the main house where she lives, but we thought that wasn't necessary.
Mr Jones must've been a character in his heyday...his ashes are placed in a BMW motorcycle engine casing (shown above) and his send off pamphlet showed a bearded, laughing man above the words "I've Grown Old Disgracefully"...he would have been an interesting fellow to have a chat with, no doubt.
And for those of you who've watched too many popcorn horror flicks, there is plenty of fodder for an overactive imagination...an unusual thick chain hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the living room; a bonfire ready to be set alight in the backyard; magazines and books that seem to have been untouched for years; creaky floor boards; a dog and cow that were very suspicious of men (not women); and we literally did not see any other person around the neighbourhood (something we needed to get used to, coming from a crowded city). The space seems to have been Mr Jones' senior bachelor pad of some sort, and must have remained more or less unchanged since he departed in 2012.
It didn't help that we took some unplanned and unusual photos while we were there...