Hobbiton and little hobbits in New Zealand

It was a long flight. Thank God, we had just landed. I decided to hire a car this time. Guess which car I’ve got..

White Suzuki. Here it is, almost new.

 

image
Brings back some good memories

 

Total chaos on the roads. Doesn’t matter, I have to drive somehow. My destination is not that far after all. My heart is jumping up and down – I am in India.  Exit to Bombay in 1 km.

 

image
Near Bombay

 

After taking the right exit, I suddenly see another sign.  There couldn’t be any town or village with a name like Papatoetoe in India. The joy did not last..

 

image

 

Ok, I am in New Zealand this time. Beautiful rolling hills and sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep everywhere.

 

image

 

I am going to the Hobbiton – the place where the movies like Lord of the Rings were made. Personally, I have never watched any of them, but I saw those photos in many tourists’ brochures and wanted to visit it. This was my chance.

 

image
First glimpse of Hobbiton

 

It is about 200 km from Auckland, just over two hours driving. The roads in NZ are even better than in Australia, and not as busy when you’re out of the city. I love driving there. Such a liberating feeling.

 

image

 

I was in a hurry to catch the very last tour for the day, and made it with 20 minutes to spare. I found a Subway restaurant across the road from the departure point and grabbed a sandwich.

After devouring it in three minutes flat, I was full and happy and was ready for all the hobbits, trolls and other mystical creatures.

 

image
One of the houses.

 

 

Thankfully on this last tour there were only 8 people. One girl from Ireland, father and daughter from Dania, two chines couples and myself. I was very happy, that it was such a small group, because we could take photos without crawling over each other.

 

image
Another one

 

 

We had a nice young guide, who was flirting with both girls and gave me a few compliments. He definitely had his way with women. While on the bus, he told us that this location was chosen because of the hills, small pond and the huge “party” tree. Someone from the movie team traveled in NZ before and this location looked very suitable. Director Peter Jackson arrived with the crew, assessed the farm and surroundings, loved it and offered a contract, that the local farmer could not refuse.

 

image
Love this small round window.

 

The movie crew organised the auditions in the area, where they were looking for very short, round people, who would be involved in mass scenes. About 800 people arrived for the auditions and only 7 were selected. Since then, these seven people are known in the area as The Chosen. They signed confidentiality contract, as well as the farmers family and the construction of the Hobbiton began.

 

image
It’s hard to say from the photos, but all those begs, barrels and fences are very realistic and in proportion to the little houses.

 

Everything there is real, or almost real. They employ professional gardeners and landscapers  to look after the movie set. The fruits and veggies are real. I ate a few raspberries and an apple. They grow herbs and veggies, which are used at their restaurant Green Dragon.

 

image
It’s breathtaking.

 

Look at the moss and lichen. They had to “age” the wood very quickly. So all those structures were covered with pain. However, they used some tricks – mixed paint with yogurt and vinegar to promote moss growth. And it worked like a dream.

 

image
Happy traveller. This is proof that I was there.

 

After the movie was finished, Peter Jackson and the farmer decided to continue running this movie set and present it as a tourist attraction.  The success was almost instant. People from all over the world come to see those tiny hobbit holes, carts, wells and the pub.

 

image
Veggies and flowers look just great.

 

The attention to detail is just unbelievable.  All the items are very proportional. If it’s hanged washing, then it’s tiny. If it’s chopped wood – then the cart and axe are very little.

 

 

image

The guide was constantly asking all of us if we remember that scene or that moment from the movie. Every time he asked me, I was scared to say something silly. I could not admit that I have never watched even 5 minutes from the movie. Maybe, they would kick me out… Or even worse – shove me into one of those holes….

 

image

 

Or  leave me behind in this place overnight….

 

image
Those veggies are real and look very fresh. Every morning, someone is checking all displays and if needed, they will change them.

 

And here is my fury companion, who travels with me all over the world.

 

image
Sam – my little friend.

 

Those hobbit-holes are also known as Smials. My koala loved this tiny one. (Koala is the size of my palm, so you have an idea of the window dimensions).

 

image

 

 This hobbit was probably rich. Maybe a merchant? Or a chief of hobbits? Or a warrior?

This is a huge dwelling with three windows.

 

image

 

If I understood this right, these two things are bee-hives.

 

image

 

This Smial belongs to a baker. Sacks with flour and bread rolls. I have to admit, the bread was not fresh – it was made from wood. But looked totally real.

 

image

 

I don’t want to sound disrespectful, but this scarecrow reminds me of the very famous statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro All photos I’ve seen are always taken from the bottom up against the skyline.

 

image

 

One hobbit-hole is actually accessible for tourists. All of us walked in one by one hoping to see something. WOW. I wanted to see tiny beds, cups and plates, maybe some beer bottles.

 

image
And inside was just lots of umbrellas and some wood.

 

This one is very pretty with decorative roof and lead-glass windows.

 

image

 

 This tree is man made. It was remodeled a few times to get the desired shape. And after everything was OK, the movie director decided that the colour of the leaves was wrong. So his staff re-sprayed every single leaf until it was exactly what he wanted.

image

 

Look at the tiny sun hat and the curtains inside.

 

image

 

Country style water well –  a bit higher than my knee.

 

image

 This is just a cutie dwelling.

 

image

 

This water pump looks exactly like a real one, just probably half size.

 

image

 

Variety of corn.

 

image

 

Washing line with some tiny clothes.

 

image

 

Fish is not real, but so well made that I had to touch to make sure.

 

image

 

On the way to the pub Green Dragon, we passed this beautiful water mill and a bridge. I could not get over how real it looked.

 

image

 

Party area near the pub. This is a very popular spot for weddings, birthday parties and functions. Somehow, I find it difficult to imagine a wedding here. But our guide said that all weekends are booked out for 7 months ahead.

 

image

 

View from the distance.

 

image
Pretty like a postcard

 

Pub Green Dragon. Just wait till you see it inside.

 

image

 

In the pub we all had a glass of beer, ale and cider. For people like me they had a non-alcoholic ginger beer.

 

image

 

True to its’ name – Green Dragon.

 

image
Green Dragon

 

Apparently quite a few hobbit parties were filmed here. The atmosphere is fantastic.

 

image

 

This pub from outside.

 

image

 

The famous lake.

 

image
Dramatic colours

 

The only permanent resident here Kitty cat.

 

image
Kitty-cat

 

This is a map of the Shire and a huge pear I found on the ground.

 

image

 

 

I really, really enjoyed my trip. The whole movie set is very well maintained. The atmosphere is spooky and exciting. Tourists are happy, the owners are even happier. This movie set is a joint venture between Peter Jackson and the farm owner. The tickets are unreasonably expensive – $75 per person. The realistic price should be $35-40. I was disappointed that there were no small cute hobbit souvenirs, only very expensive and useless T-shirts and hats. I would’ve liked to have bought a small figurine, but couldn’t find one.

I would recommend and encourage everyone to go there. But, please, watch the movie first, so you will have at least a general idea of why everyone else except me was kissing the ground where all those hobbits had stomped before. And I also probably will watch it now.

 

And here is a little safety video from NZ airline – very hobbitable:

 

 

 

Music:  Ed Sheeran – I See Fire (Music Video)

 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*