One of my first stops when I arrived in New Zealand was a tour of good ole Hobbiton. I’m definitely a Lord of the Rings fan, and if you are too, I highly suggest a trip to New Zealand.
Hobbiton is the home of the filming of the hobbit homes and scenes through the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie series. When we arrived, we awaited our bus to take us to our first stop. The bus was playing iconic scenes and music from the movies, and we kept having to yield to all of the sheep roaming around. It was quite the experience. We entered a slightly dark, old timey room for second breakfast. It consisted of exactly what you think it would - cakes, muffins, bread, fruit… we slipped a little luncheon in there and had some roast and some soup. It was delicious!
As we walked the set of these iconic movies, I had to stop and take in the beauty. The skies were clear and bright blue, the wind was blowing a gentle breeze, and the temperature was perfect for a t shirt, and wizard hat, of course. Each of the hobbit houses were constructed into three different sizing scales to attain different perspectives for filming. When Gandalf would appear tall and large, the small scale house was used for the illusion. The hobbits were filming with the large scale home front to make them seem smaller than average. One of the coolest pieces of trivia I picked up was that none of the houses had anything inside of them beyond the doors! Everything else was filmed on set for inside the homes.
The stroll through was absolutely breathtaking, as it is home to so many species of wildflowers and trees. It is full of so many beautiful shades of pinks and blues, and a healthy ecosystem of bees pollinating back and forth. Towards the end of the tour, there was an open lake where some of the scenes were filmed. The sky was perfectly reflecting off of the water as the clouds moved briskly through the air. We stepped into the Green Dragon for a pint of ale, and marveled at the sky and the beauty of the film.
If you’re a fan of the Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit trilogy and plan a trip to New Zealand, I highly recommended doing a tour (private if you can! It made our entire experience everything we ever could have dreamed of) and visiting the Weta Workshop. The tours take you to nature parks and other places where scenes were filmed. My tour guide, Wayne, had so much insider information about the filming and was even an extra in one of the films! Weta Workshop is the home of special effects and props for so many amazing movies like King Kong, Avatar, and The Lovely Bones just to name a few. It was such a thrill to see inside the workshop and see props being made in person. I also was lucky enough to meet and chat with special effects legend Warren Beaton. Some of his best known works include The Matrix, The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers- The Movie, and of course all of the Lord of the Rings movies.
Being so up close and personal to this production gave me such a new appreciation for film, and all of the talent that goes into making them. Go ahead and book your flight. The United States winter is the New Zealand Summer!