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,
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”.
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.
When Director Peter Jackson was flying over New Zealand looking for a potential spot to shoot parts 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.
The 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.
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.
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.
Thanks for visiting Hobbiton with me! 🙂 Here is a link to the tours and more information.
49 thoughts on “Morning Meanderings… A Look At The Hobbit Movie Set”
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….
Totally had my geek on Laurel 🙂
Amazing! Truly. I thought that the sets in all the movies were so wonderful. What an adventure you had!!
It was a fun tour!
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.
It was a great time!
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.
I read the book while on vacation Terri! My review is up tomorrow for it 😀
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.
Thanks Suko, it is good to be home 🙂
Thanks! It really was a lot of fun!
What fun Sheila! The pictures are lovely and like everyone else, am envious!
I took a ton of pictures at this spot. I have more to come 🙂
Welcome back. From the pictures I see you had a good time.
We really did 🙂 Thanks Betty!
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! 🙂
This was a super cool stop for us. There were other options to do do in this area of our cruise but this is the one I really wanted to see. So glad we did 🙂
What an interesting post. I have heard about the Hobbit Town, but not seen photos before.
Glad to be able to post them 😀
What an awesome trip, I am totally green! Nice photo of you and the Mister.
That looks like so much fun!!
It was 😀
That is so cool. I hope to get back to NZ one day to see Hobbiton. Definitely worth the $75!
Yes! I know we paid more with the bus to get there and additional stops but stills o worth it. 😀
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.
Thanks Kaydi. It was a great excursion. On the plane home I watched part of the new Hobbit movie just so I could see the Hobbit village scenes and poke Al and say “We were there!” 🙂
What a neat adventure.
Thanks for sharing, and I am glad you are home.
Thanks Elizabeth – it is good to be home. Still figuring out the sleep thing but loving my own bed, the dogs, my comfy chair and lots of books 🙂
That is so great!! I am glad you got a chance to see this in person. 🙂
I actually teared up when we were there. It was so cool to be on the set.
I would’ve teared up, too, Sheila! And I’m sure I would if I ever got to go to Harry Potter World. I most definitely did the first time I glimpsed Cinderella’s castle! lol
OH yeah… I think I did at HP world too! 😀
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!
Thanks… I loved it 😀
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.
It was really cool! 🙂
Wow! I’m in awe! AND so jealous! THANK YOU for sharing your grand adventure in the Hobbit Shire. :-)))
It was so cool, I had to share!!!!! 😀
Just shared the link on Facebook for all my Hobbit friends to enjoy too!
This looks like an awesome tour! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for sharing this! What an amazing experience! I’m glad you got to see it 🙂
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!
It looks wonderful! We didn’t get there when we went to NZ but also I think the place has changed since then too.
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.
Wowowowow. That is the coolest ever! Loved seeing Hobbiton through your eys.
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.
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 🙂