Michele: We've seen signs all along that northern Queensland might actually be Middle Earth. The trees, especially the curtain fig, surely speak Entish. I've also suspected for some time that Elvish communities lie within the rainforest above the basalt cliffs behind Tully.
Well, I do believe that I found Hobbinton. It turns out that Hobbiton is on the southern Atherton Tablelands (photo at left) and not in New Zealand as Peter Jackson would have you believe. We visited towards the end of the dry season (no rain for two months) but you can imagine how green this area can be after a rain. So Megan may be right that this is Middle Earth... or was it Heather Clark who supposed this first? Either way, our suspicions were all confirmed in the town of Ravenshoe where a local realtor has let the cat out of the bag (photo below).
Another side adventure also may relate to the Middle Earth presense. A week ago, I lost my wedding ring at the launderette in town. The ring was in the pocket of my shorts and I forgot to take it out before the clothes were taken to the launderette. We have a washing machine here but it hasn't been working right and... well that is for another blog. Back to the ring. When my mom and Lorna returned with the cleaned, dried and tidily folded clothes, the ring was no longer in the pocket of my shorts.... our preciousss was in our pocketses! Thief! Thief, Laundrette! We hates it, we hates it, we hates it forever!!
I searched every washer, every dryer and all around the launderette but didn't find the ring. However, I could feel it calling to me so I knew somehow that it had not yet entered the depths of Mordor. So I posted a note in the laundromat about my precious and suppressed strong urges to walk on all fours and eat live fish. Five days later, the eye of Sauron, I mean a very nice lady from north of Mission Beach phoned to say that my ring had turned up in her laundry. With the help of folks at the post office we got the ring back to us, its rightful owner. Right Smeagol?