“In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down or to eat : It was a Hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”
This post is specially written for fans of Lord of the Rings.
Where on earth can Middle Earth be found, if not in beautiful New Zealand? 😉
Of all the 180 filming locations all around NZ, this is the only movie set for LOTR that stays intact since the beginning of the filming of the trilogy in 1999. The set was later completely rebuilt with many additions of new Hobbit holes, for the production of the two latest Tolkien movies, The Hobbit, which completed in Sept 2011.
Hobbiton, The Shire is located in Alexander Farm, Matamata, North Island NZ. For the non-Ringer, this place would seem like any other farmland, lots of trees and rolling countryside, vegetable patches, farm animals dotting the vast green fields, and the likes.
Well, for the ardent Ringer, it would be another story altogether. What is different in this particular farm is that a big part of it has been extensively reconstructed based on a specific design. In combination with its natural hilly terrain and a lake, it made for the perfect choice of location for Hobbiton and The Shire as it has been creatively described by Tolkien.
Some fun facts about Hobbiton :
The 1.5km road into the farm was built specifically to cater for the infrastructure purposes required by the movie set, the transportation of heavy equipments, staff and crew mobilization, and stuff. The NZ Army themselves was contracted for this job.
The pathway that Gandalf first appeared riding a horse carriage into the village to attend Bilbo’s 111th birthday celebrations.
The Hobbit holes – the main attractions : 37 hobbit holes with new additional ones constructed for the latest Hobbit movies; there are 44 currently.
Camp accommodations were set up for 400 cast and crews who were living here during the entire duration of filming, with catering of 2-course meals, 3 times daily for each of them.
The double arched bridge and mill – built from ply, polystyrene and scaffolding, glued and painted.
The Green Dragon Pub – seen from across the lake.
Gardens and vegetables patches were meticulously nurtured throughout all seasons to create a homely environment for the hobbits, a more “Hobbiton” feel. Hobbits love gardening, plants and flowers, after all.
The Party Tree – where Bilbo celebrated his 111th birthday, made his speech and disappeared, much to everyone’s surprise.
The Oak tree – looks like just an ordinary oak tree but it’s far from ordinary! The whole tree was “transported” over from town, to place just at this position overlooking Bag End (where Bilbo & Frodo Baggins live). Each branch was chopped and numbered, then patched back together to form the tree with the shape and size as it is now. At the time when we visited, there was one branch being struck by lightning and fallen off. Apparently New Line Cinema will send a team to repair it back into place! Not one leaf out of place for this old oak tree! Oh! And the leaves, by the way, are artificial leaves imported all the way from Taiwan and individually wired onto the tree!
Some miniature Hobbit playthings and gardening tools, left as they were since production.
There was a true story, about a tourist who came here and claimed that he is a real Hobbit and The Shire’s his home, this is where he belonged. He simply refused to leave…. Hmm… well, i don’t know how the Alexanders moved him out of their farm eventually at the end of the day! Well, who can blame him? I’d like to be a Hobbit too, the merry little folks who live uncomplicated & carefree lives in a dreamy and tranquil place like The Shire; always happy and eating at least 6 meals a day (and more during a party)……. hmmm……..