From Waitomo, we had an early start to Hobbiton. The cafe and gift shop serve as a meeting point in the middle of lovely rolling green hills, setting the stage for our tour of Peter Jackson's magical land of hobbits.
For those of you into The LOTR and The Hobbit trilogies, you'll love this place, but you don't have to be a massive fan to enjoy the wonderful world of Hobbiton. Tiny houses and chimneys are tucked into the hillside, laundry hangs between them, and the seamless integration of it all creates a spectacular reality to this fictional land. Even though there’s nothing behind the doors, aside from lights which turn on during the evening tours, the outsides tell an extensive back-story. Every detail is meticulously thought out, with perfect props to match the life of the characters.
The small size of the houses read as normal size on film, and it's deceptive even when looking at my own photos to determine which house is only a couple of feet off the ground versus a more normal height. There were a few larger houses with one open door for a photo op, built to scale for filming.
Expensive, labor-intensive props filled the town, and tidbits of trivia allowed a deeper appreciation of the world Peter Jackson created so beautifully. You'd never know it, but this tree is made of steel and silicone, with individually hand-painted leaves.
We were told that the days leading up to shooting, the crew would take washing out to the clotheslines so there was a natural tread in the grass and a gentle bow to the lines. It’s all in the details!
The tour ended at The Green Dragon's cozy inn, a perfect way to finally inhabit the inner world of Hobbiton.
A drink of your choice is included in the tour, and snacks can be purchased. We cozied up to a cat warming by the fire, before heading out to our next city.
It would have been easy to spend more time there, especially since we found ourselves in a hailstorm on our way to the Kiwi bus, but we needed to make our way to Rotorua for an over-night cultural stay at the Tamaki Maori Village.