We began our New Zealand adventure as the true Lord of the Rings fans by visiting the Hobbiton Movie Set…
Hobbiton is a village in Middle-earth inhabited by hobbits. In reality, it’s a place where the LOTR and Hobbit movies were filmed by the famous director Peter Jackson. Peter Jackson chose the location for his movies during an aerial search of the North Island. It was, and still is, located on a family-owned beef and sheep farm, but the Jackson’s generous budget persuaded the Alexanders to sell a part of the land. A road that leads to the movie set crosses the farm and therefore you can only access the Hobbiton by bus in a group tour. We were pretty lucky because when we came only tickets for the last tour of the day were available. We had approximately two hours of waiting and we spent them chatting, drinking coffee, eating ice-cream and enjoying sun.
Peter Jackson is famous for his sense of detail and perfectionism. And it can be seen on the movie set. I was amazed at how realistic the village looked like. You would almost expect some hobbits to open the door and welcome you in the Shire. A beehive, laundry, wheelbarrow… just as if they’ve just left for lunch. Our guide was a Canadian guy and he supplied us with a bunch of funny stories and ridiculous details from the filming. What I was a bit sad about is that we didn’t have enough time to take photos and wander around. Yes, he gave us some time for taking pictures, but definitely not enough when there are 20 other people taking the same picture as you and standing in your shot.
We visited Bag End, the home of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, we were standing under Bilbo’s birthday tent, we crossed the double arch bridge by The Mill and we entered one of the hobbit holes. Included in your ticket, you can have a glass of ale, cider or ginger beer in the Green Dragon, brewed especially for the Shire. I have to say that the visit to Hobbiton was one of the highlights of our trip.
Here are a few interesting facts about the Hobbiton movie set:
– There were several hobbit holes that were not in the movie. They were only built so that actors feel as if they really were in Middle-earth.
– Movie scenes from inside the hobbit holes were done in movie studios, the holes are actually empty.
– There is a plum tree in the books, but there is no plum tree growing on the farm. At first, Peter Jackson wanted to plant a plum tree. However, he realized it would be too big and planted a pear tree and had plums installed on the tree instead of pears.
– The New Zealand Army built the road to the movie set.
– The Mill was only made digitally on a computer for The Lord of the Rings and it was only built later for filming of The Hobbit.
– The tree that overlooks Bag End was originally from a nearby village. It was cut into pieces, transported to the Hobbiton and assembled again. Artificial twigs were also mounted on the tree.
– A sunset was filmed during a sunrise because the movie set is situated in the opposite direction.