Hobbiton

When the first of the Lord of the Rings movies came out more than a decade ago, my brother and I were quite enchanted by it all. So when we did a tour of the North Island a few months later, we tried our hardest to find the set for the village of Hobbiton. It’s where the little hobbits (who were half the size of humans) lived their quiet lives. Well, until the wizard Gandalf proposed an adventure.

We heard that it was somewhere near the Waikato town of Matamata, so on our way to Rotorua, we tried driving down the country roads nearby Matamata to find it. The landscape roundabouts was certainly similar to what we saw in the movie, but try as we might, we couldn’t find the movie set.

Nowadays Hobbiton is a part of the North Island tourist route. I was excited to find out that it was part of our tour. Hobbitses! Its entrance is inconspicuous enough.

Hobbiton

Hobbiton

The tours were all guided, so our tour guide directed our bus down the driveway, past paddocks of sheep (the property is still a working farm).

Hobbiton

Until we came to the village…

Hobbiton

Yes, it was Hobbiton, with little hobbit holes, lovingly recreated…

Hobbiton

Hobbiton

Vege patches and a shed…

Hobbiton

Hobbiton

Beehives and the party tree…

Hobbiton

Hobbiton

Even a watermill and the Green Dragon pub (serving hobbit-style ales).

Hobbiton

Hobbiton

Even though everything except the pub were exteriors, the level of detail was astounding. It must have costed a fortune, and from what the tour guide told us it did. Why? Because Peter Jackson, the man behind Lord of the Rings and all of this, was um, obsessed. He wanted to get everything right, especially the details. The tree above Baggins End (Bilbo and Frodo’s place), for example, was constructed from a tree cut down from elsewhere on the farm that he had liked. Because the leaves of the original tree weren’t quite right, he had artificial leaves imported from Taiwan and hand-sewn on!

Hobbiton

But the movies made so much money that all the production excesses simply didn’t matter in the end – they recouped the costs half way through the cinema run of the first movie and ended up making a profit many times over. Which is all very un-hobbit-like. Nevertheless, I (and lots of other fans) are glad they decided to open up the village, because I certainly found it delightful.

Hobbiton

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s