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The Hobbiton Movie Set was the perfect setting for Tolkien’s classic works.
Having not read the Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit Trilogies I was not sure what to expect, but knew that not visiting the Hobbiton Movie Set wasn’t an option.
It was the perfect opportunity to experience these classics and take a look at Bag End, where Frodo and Bilbo’s adventures began.
The making of Hobbiton
Location scouts were inspired by a 1,250 acre sheep farm in the heart of Waikato in New Zealand. The picturesque farmland was transformed into The Shire from Middle-earth and bought to life in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbiton films.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy was the first of the classic works of JRR Tolkien to be filmed in central New Zealand commencing in 1999.
Filming of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy commenced in December 1999 and continued for three months.
Filming for The Hobbit Trilogy began in October 2011 and took only 12 days.
At it’s peak 400 people were on site, including Sir Peter Jackson , Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Elijah Wood (Frodo), Sean Astin (Sam), Ian Holm (Bilbo Baggins) and Martin Freeman (young Bilbo Baggins).
In the fantasy world of Middle-earth, home of the Hobbits ‘The Shire’, became the village for the Lord of the Rings.
Rebuilding of the set for The Hobbit trilogy commenced in 2009 taking a full two years to complete.
Hobbiton Movie Set includes 44 personalised Hobbit Holes that makes up the village in The Shire.
The Hobbit Holes have been rebuilt exactly as they were in the movies, down to the smoking chimneys and blue-bell flowers. You will feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
The reality is that this most picturesque location was ideal for the movie.
In 2012 The Green Dragon Inn was opened for guests to end their Hobbiton Movie Set Tour.
After spending 2 sunny weeks in New Zealand, it rained on the day we chose to visit the Hobbiton Movie Set. As it turned out, the rain added the most extraordinary magical atmosphere to our experience. Dark ominous clouds over the hills, rich green grass and bright orange brickwork added ambiance. It was obvious that the flowers were loving the rain.
The 90 minute guided tour through the set inspired this couple of non-fans to finally go see these movies. Our Hobbiton guide tour was Melissa. Her knowledge of the set was amazing and it was very clear that she was an avid Tolkien fan.
The Hobbit Holes
Setting the scene for those of us who were unfamiliar with the story-line, the tallest of Hobbits were generally around 5 foot tall. Their houses (or Hobbit Holes) were built with this in mind. Those of us who were around this height were quickly identified in the group and the town drunk was also asked to identify himself as an important part of the story-line.
The walk through the village pathways was often steep but at no time difficult, stopping at each of the Hobbit Holes to learn more about who lived here, and other little movie snippets.
We passed through the village gardens (still growing tons of vegetables), the frog ponds and the apple orchard. We walked along the high road and the low road, through Willow gully on our way to Bag End continuing on to the Green Dragon.
Hobbit Holes were tucked into the landscape, taking advantage of hilly overhangs to shelter from the weather. Beautiful stained-glass windows captured light for the underground houses and brick chimneys poked out of the ground at random intervals.
Surprisingly the Hobbiton village was just a facade. Only one of the Hobbit houses was accessible for a photo opportunity.
The facade was, as movies are, complete with all accessories that you could imagine. Clothes-lines full of washing, freshly baked bread for trading, vegetables growing in the garden, wheelbarrows loaded with freshly picked vegetables and fruit hanging on the trees.
Well fed ducks wandered around the ponds oblivious to the tourists passing by.
It was easy to close your eyes and visualise children running up the laneways and rolling down the grassy hills, mothers talking to their neighbours over the fences and village life bubbling along.
End the tour at the Green Dragon Inn
In the books, the Green Dragon Inn was the meeting place for all residents of Hobbiton and now is where your Hobbiton tour ends. Fully reconstructed the Green Dragon gives you the opportunity to enjoy the old-world atmosphere of this middle-earth pub.
Light and Dark Ale, Apple Cider and non-alcoholic Ginger Beer and traditional pub-fare was available for purchase and many of our fellow tourists settled into a comfortable armchair by the roaring fire after the tour.
There are tons of places to stay nearby. Search it up, choose a nearby hotel or Bed & Breakfast but don’t miss an opportunity to visit this Movie Set. It certainly is a memorable experience and one I recommend to do … soon!
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