Journal / New Zealand

Hobbiton, the New Zealand fairytale

– HOBBITON –

– Matamata, New Zealand –


I’ve been to many gorgeous places, man made and natural wonders and about a month ago I had the pleasure of visiting Matamata and one of New Zealand’s most famous attractions: Hobbiton Movie Set.
I’ll tell you about my experience but first let me tell you the fascinating story…


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“Little by little, one travels far”
J.R.R. Tolkien


In 1998 Peter Jackson and team boarded helicopters to search the lands of New Zealand for the perfect site to film J.R.R. Tolkien‘s famous Lord of the Rings trilogy on a Saturday afternoon in 1998, after long days of searching, there was a world-changing knock on the door at the Alexander family farm near Matamata…


TheShire_NZ


The fairytale of Hobbiton

In March 1999, an army of 400 strong landscapers, innovative designers and strong helpers started transforming the 12 acre Alexander farmland to the LOTR movie set, The Shire.
Over the course of nine months the original set was built out of temporary materials, such as 7mm ply and styrofoam, which was largely deconstructed at the end of The Lord of the Rings filming.

In 2011, in preparation for Tolkien’s The Hobbit movies, during two years the Hobbiton village was rebuilt in more permanent materials, complete with paths leading to big and small Hobbit holes, a mill, miniature gardens, orchards, a double arch bridge and even a party tree.
Since 2012 Hobbiton is visited by film and book fans wayfaring from all over the world for their chance of a photo in front of Bilbo Baggins house.


Hobbiton_NewZealand


“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
J.R.R. Tolkien


Hobbiton_NZ_Web-6


Of course, nothing was finalised without the permission of its director Sir Peter Jackson, so the 26 tonne oak tree now overlooking Bag End was, on demand, cut down and brought in from near Matamata and to create the perfect vision, each branch was counted, chopped and transported to Hobbiton. Artificial leaves imported from Taiwan were individually wired onto the dead tree under the surveillance of Sir Jackson himself.

With the fake leaves being bleached in the strong New Zealand sun, they have been replaced several times and have now been individually hand painted to remain the“life” of the tree.


Hobbiton_NZ_Web-44_Edit


The newest addition to Hobbiton is the Green Dragon Inn, opened in December 2012, the facilities of Hobbiton are now allowing celebrations of special occasions to be held at the grounds. Yes! You can now hold your wedding at The Shire! How’s that for a party?!
The aim is to keep Hobbiton expanding, so the philosophy is to add something new every year.


Hobbiton_NZ_Web-7


My experience

Our tour started with a bus ride, in a very old bus only adding to the experience, through the picturesque 1,250 acre sheep farm showing spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges. Our well informed guide told us the stories about the making of Hobbiton whilst the bus driver left the bus, on more than three occasions, to open and close the gates keeping the Alexander family’s sheep from escaping the premises.

We were led into the site and, as we explored the 44 unique Hobbit Holes taking photos along the way, our guide entertained us with facts of the set along with quotes and scenes memorised from the movies.
It was a very hot afternoon and The Shire was protected from all possible wind so I guess you could say it was a blazing experience!
We were extremely lucky with the weather on our visit (with it raining the previous weeks) and Hobbiton’s hills were showed off in their most saturated green as the bright sunshine enhanced The Shire.
After taking our mandatory photos outside of Bilbo’s house we were led down to The Party Field where we were treated with a gorgeous view of The Green Dragon Inn whilst shouting our hearts out for beer.

The great touch of a complimentary cider, beer or soft drink at the famous Inn was greatly enjoyed, and walking over the double arched bridge to turn around and look back at The Shire was truly an incredible sight…
Lord of the ring fan or not.


Hobbiton_NZ


“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring


Have you been to Hobbiton? I’d love to hear your story and see your photos!
Post a link to your blog at the comments section below :D.


Thanks to http://hobbitontours.co.nz/ for making our visit so special :).


Bibliography:
http://www.hobbitontours.com/OurTours/tabid/99/Default.aspx
http://media.newzealand.com/en/story-ideas/hobbiton-from-family-farm-to-film-fame/
http://www.travelmint.com/destinations/the-hobbiton.asp

http://boostblogtraffic.com/power-words/

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42 thoughts on “Hobbiton, the New Zealand fairytale

  1. Pingback: Die Avonture van Ella Bella: Die Begin van ‘n Vriendskap | Vonkelwyn en Wurgpatats

    • Aaah! That’s so cool, what a coincident, or possibly destiny… who knows ;).
      New Zealand is such a pretty place and well worth a visit, for Hobbiton, but mostly for its natural beauty.
      I really hope you get to go one day! 😀

      Thanks for your lovely comment, it made me smile 😀

      Like

  2. Great photos. My Niece and Nephew take great pride in having been there whilst I have not (although I have been to the Weta Cave a number of times and toured Peter Jackson’s studio in Wellington)!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s awesome 🙂 I also went to Hobbiton (as my family and I are fans of the LOTR movies) and we absolutely loved it! It is a gorgeous place! I like what you wrote and the photos are nice as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Angeliqa thanks for dropping by and visiting. From your photos you obviously visited after the Hobbit was filmed and everything was back to normal in Hobbiton. We visited just before they started reconstructing the set for the Hobbit. Our experience was quite different to yours but still lots of fun.
    http://irenewaters19.com/2014/03/06/a-lingering-look-at-windows-even-hobbits-have-windows-wk-10/
    We love New Zealand and used to visit quite often as I had a close friend there. It is truly the most scenic country although I also loved your home country and Iceland, Greenland and Norway.
    It sounds as though you had a fantastic time in Australia.
    Cheers Irene

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, no worries at all! My pleasure :).
      I can’t wait to have a look at your post, sounds exciting.

      I was there just a month or so ago so yes, long after the reconstruction… So it must’ve been very different!

      New Zealand really is stunning, I can’t wait to experience more of it.

      Oh, you’ve been to Sweden?! That’s something I always love to hear :D.
      Where did you go?

      Australia and Sydney is my first true love, I had the time of my life and really can’t wait for the next opportunity to head back there.

      Thanks so much for your comment Irene! It means a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have Swedish friends in Australia and at one of his birthday parties all his friends from Sweden came out and I billeted some. In return I stayed in numerous places in Stockholm as I came back and forth from various side trips and Eskilstuna for a week and from there lots of places I would have to look up my diaries to find the names. The old brain is not what it once was. I then travelled from Stockholm to Bergen. It was a great trip but next time I intend to go north to Lapland. Fingers crossed it will happen.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hi wild heart! 😀 (love your username)
      It was pretty breathtaking, New Zealand is absolutely gorgeous!
      If you get the chance to come here then take the time to go, it’s really worth it!

      Like

    • Hey lovely! Thanks for your comment, it made me smile :D.
      Hobbiton was really stunning and yes, almost like a dream. All the little details spread out made it feel like there was actually hobbits living there. Such a great experience.
      Aww, thanks for saying so! The skirt has been with me for many adventures :).

      Like

  5. how cool is that… the place looks amazing 🙂 me (and my boys) are great fans of LOTR… so ima putting the Hobbiton set on our list of dream destinations 🙂 right next to the Harry Potter sets lol 🙂

    love all the details you have captured 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooooh, Harry Potter! I can’t wait to go to one of the sets! Unfortunately I haven’t been close to any in awhile but will hunt one down when I’m back in Europe :D.

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment and I hope that you, and your boys, will have the pleasure of visiting Hobbiton at some point! It’s truly incredible 🙂

      Like

  6. I saw LOTR twice and loved it all…. haven’t seen the Hobbit movies though… but if I was in NZ I think I would make a point of seeing this… I wonder what JRR Tolkien would think of the whole enterprise? I feel sorry for the oak tree being cut down and given artificial leaves… not a happy experience!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment!
      That’s a very good question, I believe that he would be proud but possibly a bit horrified by all the fuss.

      I understand where you’re coming from and I agree with you, it’s a very sad experience for the oak tree and there might’ve been better ways to go about it… However, I can’t help to look at it from the creative mind of Peter Jackson as well.
      I know how wrapped up I can get when getting creative, and I can only imagine his stress when trying to re-create J.R.R. Tolkien’s stories to please millions of fans all over the world.

      And… I’m not sure if the better way would’ve been to buy wood/plastic from a shop or not, considering there might’ve been even more trees dying for the wood sold in the shops, and the fact that plastic ruins the planet.

      Us humans destroy so much of this world and I believe there’s much to be changed about our behaviour, starting by minimising our own everyday usage.

      Thanks for your comment, it made me think 🙂
      x

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a beautiful post! I was only asking about hobbiton the other day, and was told they left it as is for tourists. I toured it after Lord of the Rings when they had almost dismantled it under complete secrecy, and heard the story from the locals how the rain stopped them from completing the task of returning the area back to its original scape. I slipped over in the mud in front of Bilbo’s house, it was pouring rain. A very interesting story behind this set, and Jackson’s enterprise in making it all realistic. The English oak story really got me, the trouble Jackson went to for a few seconds of film.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes that would be right! I believe the agreement, with the Alexander family, from the beginning was to return everything back to normal after the recording of the films… but then the farmer changed his mind and agreed to keep it there for fans to see it, and I’m happy he did! Such an amazing movie set and they really work hard to keep it that way!

      The tree story was my favorite as well! Peter seemed to have been quite a diva considering this movie! With right though! He did a fantastic job.

      I really enjoyed reading your comment, thanks :D. It’s a very cool story you have there!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Gosh, getting married in Hobbiton. Am not sure what to make of that as the prelude to marital bliss. It would be good, though, if Gandalf could come too and let off some of his famous fireworks. Thanks for the follow btw. Much appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carly!! If you’re a big fan you have to go!! You’ll love it so much! 😀 All the small details and the little gardens, it’s adorable and so amazing! I truly hope you’ll get the chance to go sometime! 🙂

      Thank you very much for your comment, so lovely! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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