I went to what may eventually turn out to be my heaven. A few weeks ago my friend, Lisa, and I took a day trip out to the site where Peter Jackson filmed part of the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” movies, Hobbiton. What an exciting experience!
On arriving, we examined the gift shop and tried on the Invisibility Cloak (I think it has to be given to you from the Elves, because we could still be seen in it). And how can you visit Hobbiton and not have Second Breakfast? So up we went to the cafe where we enjoyed a delicious meal of bacon, banana, and pancakes with warm maple syrup. As we were sitting there talking and waiting for our meals the owner of the farm came over and asked where we were from. It was nice to hear the story of how the films came to be shot on his land from the man who green lighted it.
After examining the surrounding yard and landscape, a scene that cannot fully be appreciated through a photo, we were called to the coach bus that would take us to the location. On our way the guide pointed out the vegetable patch, catering area, and where the makeup trailers were located. He also asked us some questions about the movies, the prize to be a leaf from the tree above Bilbo’s house. I won, which surprised me, as I thought others on the tour would know as much as I did. I was wrong and continually proved my geekish obsession with the LOTR movies by correctly answering all the trivia our guide shot at us, though much quieter so as not to come off as a know-it-all.
Hobbiton was much larger than I was expecting. My thought was there would be a few Hobbit holes placed here and there, which maybe I would be able to recognize.
Our guide directed our group through the neighborhoods, giving us time to check out and take as many pictures we could of the detail given to each property.
We were lucky to have visited on a day when it was not raining, but there was still mud all around, making the trek up and down the Hobbit hills a little difficult at times. But we had an enthusiastic group eager to see all that we could and were able to do just that.
Each house had their personal accessories scaled to a certain measurement, one set just for that house and none other. This was done so each filming shoot would look correct to the eye and pieces wouldn't look too big or too small. The attention to these small details was very impressive.
At the very top of the hill was where we found Bags End, the family residence of Bilbo Baggins. Here we could see just a smidge of the entry way into the house, the only one where more care was taken to finish the interior. This was the closest we were allowed to get to the door, the gate was closed and we weren't there on party business.
We learned the tree above Bilbo's house was not a living one, but a tree made just for the movies so the leaves would constantly be green like in summer.
Just after visiting Bags End we were able to step into the next Hobbit house. I have to say, it wasn't what I was expecting, but fun all the same. I knew it was just a shell, an exterior designed just for shooting scenes, but the inside was nothing but dirt and strategically placed items that could be seen from the window. It was a great place to have a photo opportunity though.
Since we were on a working sheep farm, our tour ended with the chance to feed some lambs. They were lopping and playing in the paddock next to the gift shop when we arrived back from the site location, looking very cute and ready to eat. A bottle was handed to me and over ran a lamb. They were so funny and had everyone laughing at their antics.
It was one of the best activities I have done here in New Zealand, I could hardly contain my excitement before or after my trip and took over a hundred pictures to remember the fun I had that day. Hobbiton is definitely one place I would recommend visiting.