Back in about 2006, Mrs. Not George Lucas and I decided to have a once-in-a-lifetime trip. We traveled across the world and we visited Australia, New Zealand, and Bali for 3 months. It really was a once-in-a-lifetime expedition and we’re very glad we did it, particularly as a fan of The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit.
When in New Zealand we had the chance to visit a town called Matamata, which was very close to where the Hobbiton set is. We visited after the Lord of the Rings had come out, but before The Hobbit. Since The Hobbit was still in production you weren’t really allowed to share the images online.
I recently found the images again and contacted Hobbiton Tours to ask if it was OK now, just to be safe. I had a nice email back saying yes, so here they are!
A Walking Tour Of Hobbiton
This is me at the main sign. When I took this the lady giving the tour laughed since I was trying to be a Hobbit.
Here are some of the houses. I think the one I am in is Sam’s House, but correct me if I’m wrong? I can’t remember now. The little doors were very cute and you actually expected Hobbits to pop out, look at you, tut, and then hang their washing out.
Behind the doors, there was no room. No Hobbit-hole. They said you could get about 2 or 3 people jammed on the inside, then they would go to a studio set for the interiors.
Across a small bridge and lake, was The Green Dragon, but we weren’t able to get any closer when we visited which was probably a good thing as I lose all my inhibitions when I drink.
This is the party tree. In The Lord Of The Rings, Bilbo gives his 111th birthday speech under this tree. It is a real pine tree. Laying all over the ground were pine cones from the party tree. I did not pick up some and take them home with me!
Here is Bilbo’s house. Interesting fact – the tree on the top isn’t real. The roots would have been destroyed when the house was dug-out. The tree was made of steel and decorated with fake leaves. Even when you got close to it, you couldn’t tell, it was amazing!
This is the view from Bilbo’s house down on the little village.
Here’s Bilbo’s house and me shouting for him to come out.
There were small fences up since it was still a working sheep farm. I was told some of the sheep had managed to eat the flowers outside of the little windows.
Because it was a working sheep farm you were shown how they sheer their sheep. No one was interested in this, but everyone was polite enough to sit and watch. We were all there to see the set of Lord Of The Rings, not see a sheep having a haircut.
What was cool about it was that you got to feed baby lambs. We weren’t allowed to taste them though, which was a pity since I had brought my own mint sauce.
The visit was so worth it. I don’t get the chance to go to many movie sets, apart from Hot Fuzz the other day. The entire visit to New Zealand was amazing!
Weta Workshop, who did the SFX for Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit, not to mention hundreds of other movies and TV shows, is based in Wellington. I didn’t get the chance to visit but there was a display on in Auckland for a few days, which I did catch.
The Southern Island of New Zealand IS Middle Earth. Everywhere you look there is something straight out of The Lord of the Rings. This was in Queenstown and just look at it! You can imagine Aragon, Legolas, and Gimli running across the top of those mountains.
The entire trip was pretty amazing, and then visiting somewhere like the set of a movie like The Lord of the Rings just added something extra. I know travel is still buggered at the moment, but if you get the chance to go then do it! It was worth the effort.