New Zealand is the beautiful country that serves as the setting for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film trilogies, so I had to make sure that visiting Hobbiton, the film set for The Shire, was a key part of mine and Ben’s New Zealand itinerary!
My advice would be to make sure you go armed with a camera, as there are loads of great photo opportunities!
Here is my photoshoot of the film set…
Hobbiton is an hours drive away from Rotorua, on the North Island. Everything in New Zealand is really spread out because it’s such a big, vast country, and travelling by road is the best way to get anywhere. Judging by the shear number of coaches dominating the car park when we arrived, I think that the most popular way to visit The Shire is by booking a coach tour.
We booked a coach tour, and with this, you get a commentary about the area on the journey there, and are taken right to The Shire’s entrance. On arrival we were met by a tour guide who led us through the miniature town, explaining how things were made and answering our questions.
The set plays with perspectives a lot, to make it look like the actors really were hobbit-sized (5ft 2inches and below!)
The attention to detail with the set is crazy! Each hobbit hole was designed with a specific hobbit’s occupation in mind, so there is a theme to each home which has been carefully thought out, right down to the ornaments in the window. The homes all look slightly worn and aged to give the impression that they really been lived in.
The only hobbit hole that we could go in to the one belonging to Bag End’s next door neighbours. Behind the door it was almost like a cupboard (which was housing a pile of umbrellas) and I could just about stand up in there.
Actually, I’m lying. As I am under 5ft 3inches, there was plenty of space for me to stand up, it was just Ben who had to crouch a bit!
The oak tree above Bag End is one of the most expensive props in movie history. Each leaf was individually hand sewn on to the branches.
The location for Hobbiton was selected by producers due to the lack of any visible man-made structures in the surrounding area, and the abundance of mounds which could conveniently suit having round doors added to the side of them.
At the end, we were treated to a drink in The Green Dragon pub, which sits across the water from the hobbit holes.