Of course, a trip to New Zealand wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the famous Hobbiton! Luckily for me, this was a gift from Alex for my birthday (thanks bro!).
We rounded the corner into Hobbiton and it did not disappoint. Our first stop was by the vegetable gardens, which is where Bilbo runs through in the first Hobbit film saying “I’m going on an adventure!”
You immediately got to see the amount of effort and detail that is put into the sets, stuff that the ordinary person would completely overlook. Simple things like signposts all around the Shire…
To more complex things like these trees…
These trees are actually apple trees, but because in the books it mentions all the Hobbits sitting around under plum trees, the apple trees were plucked of their fruit and leaves and replaced with artificial plum tree leaves and plums! Insane! And all for them not to be shown in the movie after all!
We were also shown some of the filming techniques that were used. In some cases 60% hobbit holes were used, and that’s where actor Ian McKellen would stand, as to make him look taller. Whereas, the Hobbits, would stand by the 80/100% hobbit holes to make them look shorter – clever eh..
Each hobbit hole had a certain “profession” as well – whether it be baking, cheese, wood etc. All to add to make it seem more realistic.
There was even washing hung out on the line, and during filming, someone had to bring in the washing every day, wash it, and re-hang it out the next morning!
As we wound our way up to Bag End, we got to stop at some of the Hobbit holes to get some pictures.
The ones you could go in were completely empty inside, the inside scenes were all shot in a studio in Wellington.
Then we made it up to Bag End.
Bilbo’s infamous sign was still hanging on the gate..
We then went a little further down the road, stopping at a few holes on the way…
And you got an amazing view over the Shire!
Next along was the party field, where Bilbo, in the Fellowship of the Ring, was celebrating his 111th birthday, before putting on the ring and “disappearing”.
And in the background you can see the infamous ‘party tree’, which was very important as that tree was one of the main reasons Peter Jackson picked this particular farm to use as the set of the Shire. Apparently, the family who owned the farm were thinking of cutting it down before – I bet they’re pretty glad they didn’t now.
Our last stop on the tour was for a tipple at the Green Dragon.
This was actually the second Green Dragon, as the first was purposely burnt down by the crew, to film the scene where Frodo sees the Shire being destroyed in the mirror with Galadriel. They burnt down the original, not knowing they would need it a few years later to film the Hobbit trilogy – so therefore a new one had to be built!
Overall a great tour, and a glimpse into just how much effort is put into the scenes of films like this. Definite tick off the bucket list!