Morning Meanderings… A Look At The Hobbit Movie Set

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Many of you know I just returned this Thursday from a 17 day trip to Australia and New Zealand.  Fair warning: I am sure I will be talking about this trip and posting pictures for weeks to come.

Today, for Saturday Snapshot, I thought it would be fun to share with you my husband and my trip to Middle Earth, the bookish tour we were able to take part in New Zealand…. yes,

Hobbiton.

I absolutely would not be me if I did not take the opportunity to get my geek on.  We were not the only ones…  1,500 people a day, seven days a week, on average visit this site.  At $75 a person… that’s a lot of “cha-ching”.

 

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When you first walk in, this is what you see…. a few Hobbit holes. The tree to the left is 100% fabricated. Over 10,000 artificial leaves were hand stitched for this tree and sent to the set from Taiwan where they were then individually wired on to the tree.

 

We were lucky enough to have out tour guide be a nephew of the owners of the property the Hobbiton movie set and tour is on.  The story of how this came to be the permanent movie and tour set is an interesting one.

Book JOurney, Hobbiton New Zealand

39 Hobbit holes are on the property.

 

When Director Peter Jackson was flying over New Zealand looking for a potential spot to shoot parts36 of the film, The Hobbit, he could not believe his luck when he seen a piece of property that had the makings of covering the Hobbit Village.  The property is owned by a family named The Alexander’s and when Peter Jackson came knocking on their door with their idea they pretty much told him they were busy and shut the door.  Peter Jackson showed up the next day with more people and more money…. and so it began.

 

 

18The project was a BIG secret.  Peter Jackson even had the air space above the property as a “no fly zone” to keep what was happening under wraps.  The New Zealand Army brought the set up to the property in army trucks and if people asked questions, they were told it was exercises for the NZ Army.

Note:  During filming two pilots did fly over the set.  They were tracked down, made to give up any cameras, film, and memory cards they had that could carry pictures of the top-secret set.  These pilots also lost their licenses to fly in New Zealand forever.  It was that serious. 

Initially the set was to be built, filmed, and then tore down restoring the land to its natural state.  When it came time to tear it down, New Zealand was experiencing extreme weather conditions and the project was delayed by three weeks.  During this time a few of the people on their tear down team went into town to a pub and proceeded to drink a little too much ( true story!).  While in this pub they said a little too much about the filming of the movie on the property.  Neighbors went nuts wanting to see the set, demanding to see the property and initially it was opened up a tour only for those who lived around the area.

Hobbiton, Bilbo Baggins, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

The most famous Hobbit home of all… Bilbo Baggins.

 

Then, a different idea came to be.  With the potential of future movies being made, the set was rebuilt using sturdier materials and this time built as a permanent set.  The windows to the hobbit houses were real glass heated to give the wavy “aged” look they have.  Thatched roofs were built on some, the hobbit homes were painted and then sprayed with vinegar purchased at the local stores to give it the worn and aged look.

 

As seen above in the movie clip, Al and I walked on the bridge to the Hobbit Village where we had a snack along with special made beverages made only for the Hobbiton Village.  I tried the cider beer and Al tried an Ale, both were very good.

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This picture was taken from the bridge.

This was a great tour!  If you are ever in Matamata New Zealand I highly recommend you experience this village.  I can only imagine how blown away JR Tolkien would be.

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The Party Tree in Hobbiton Village... considered to be one of the most famous trees in the world.

The Party Tree in Hobbiton Village… considered to be one of the most famous trees in the world.  Bilbo made one of his long speeches under this tree.

 

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A closer look at the trees. The fake one (left) and a very real one (right)

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Al and I sitting in the Shire.

Al and I sitting in the Shire.

 

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Thanks for visiting Hobbiton with me!  🙂  Here is a link to the tours and more information.

About Sheila (Book Journey)

Bookaholic * Audio Book Fan *Bike Rider *Rollerblader *Adventure Seeker *Runner*Coffee lover *Fitness Fan * Movie junkie

Posted on January 24, 2015, in Meanderings, Saturday Snapshots and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 49 Comments.

  1. I can almost hear your SQUEEE when you first saw all of this…and the photos are such fun. Looks like you had a fabulous time. Thanks for sharing….

  2. Amazing! Truly. I thought that the sets in all the movies were so wonderful. What an adventure you had!!

  3. Okay, I was already oozing jealousy about your trip to NZ…now I’m frothing over….Jeez, you got to go to NZ AND see where The Hobbit was made?! Lucky, lucky girl.

  4. OOOH. I’m really jealous. Australia and New Zealand are near the top of my travel list. Ha you read Bill Bryson’s In A Sunburned Country about his travels in Australia? Hilarious.

  5. Sheila, welcome back! Wonderful photos of your tour! I’m glad you were able to go to Hobbiton–it looks like you had an incredible time.

  6. Thanks! It really was a lot of fun!

  7. What fun Sheila! The pictures are lovely and like everyone else, am envious!

  8. Welcome back. From the pictures I see you had a good time.
    http://idahobluebird50.wordpress. com

  9. I couldn’t wait to see your pics of this, Sheila 🙂 How fantastic! I do remember the set was supposed to be torn down after filming LOTR, but wasn’t aware they actually REBUILT it to make it permanent. Unbelievable, and that tree! Of course, it makes me think of Disney World and the kind of stuff they do there, too. Such talented people. Hobbiton would be the main reason I’d even want to travel that far! lol I’m not fit enough to trek the many landscapes of New Zealand though. I know a young woman who did and it was tough for her! Thanks for sharing this with us (as I knew you would!) and I’m really looking forward to everything else you post from your FABulous trip! 🙂

  10. What an interesting post. I have heard about the Hobbit Town, but not seen photos before.

  11. What an awesome trip, I am totally green! Nice photo of you and the Mister.

  12. That looks like so much fun!!

  13. That is so cool. I hope to get back to NZ one day to see Hobbiton. Definitely worth the $75!

  14. Sheila- Paul would love this. ( So would I). We had a family “Lord of the Rings” movie day when the 3rd movie came out. We all watched the long versions of Movies 1 & 2 and then, went to the theatre to watch the 3rd movie that night. What a marathon movie day. But so fun!! Love your pictures. Thanks for sharing. We missed you at book club, but this is a great excuse for missing.
    Glad you are back.

  15. What a neat adventure.

    Thanks for sharing, and I am glad you are home.

    Elizabeth

  16. That is so great!! I am glad you got a chance to see this in person. 🙂

  17. What a wonderful holiday and topped off with a trip to Hobbiton
    I’d love to see Hobbiton 🙂
    The visuals were my favorite part of The Hobbit.
    Lucky you Sheila!

  18. Ack – I’m so jealous! Lucky you! I didn’t know they’d kept the set such a secret. Must’ve been so cool to be a part of.

  19. Wow! I’m in awe! AND so jealous! THANK YOU for sharing your grand adventure in the Hobbit Shire. :-)))

  20. Just shared the link on Facebook for all my Hobbit friends to enjoy too!

  21. Jen G. (The Introverted Reader)

    This looks like an awesome tour! Thanks for sharing!

  22. Thanks for sharing this! What an amazing experience! I’m glad you got to see it 🙂

  23. Amazing pictures! I’d love to see this one day. Sounds like a lovely trip! I wasn’t aware of how seriously the secret was kept. Thanks for sharing!

  24. It looks wonderful! We didn’t get there when we went to NZ but also I think the place has changed since then too.

  25. Oh I didn’t know you were coming our way! I’m glad to hear that you had a great time. 17 days for Australia and NZ is quick! I haven’t been to Hobbiton yet. Something for the NZ wish list. I’ll certainly be looking forward to the rest of your photos. Can’t wait to hear where you went.

  26. Wowowowow. That is the coolest ever! Loved seeing Hobbiton through your eys.

  27. Wow! That looks like a little piece of heaven to me. Thanks for sharing the history and your experiences. I totally need to convince my hubby to go.

  28. Beautiful shots! Very well captured :).
    I loved Hobbiton, and also wrote a whole post about it, haha!
    Thanks for sharing your experience and also for including the video! It made your post extra special 🙂

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