Ciarán & Elaine's Travelog

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Middle Earth!

No trip to NZ is complete without a trip to a Lord of the Rings set or shooting location, so with this in mind we left Tauranga in search of Hobbiton! To be fair it wasn't particularly hard to find, as it's all set in a little town called Matamata about an hours drive from Tauranga. This is officially Middle Earth and Hobbit country down here! We took the Lord of the Rings tour which took us to a farm that was used for all the Hobbiton scenes in the films. Looking at the landscape its easy to see why this location was chosen - the rolling hills and lakes were beautiful and most importantly (or so the tour guide tells us) from the bottom of the valley you couldn't see anything man made at all - not roads, not poles or wires and not houses, which according to the guide makes NZ's little Hobbiton a mini miracle!

Most of the set was dismantled after filming but some of the Hobbit Holes were still there and at least now I can say that I was in Bag End - where Frodo and Bilbo lived!(Here's us looking outthe windows of Bag End!) Our tour guide was trying to get us all to have a dance on the Party Field - but there weren't any takers! Some of the things that were done to make the film were unreal. For one part, they bought an old oak tree from a neighbouring farm, cut it down piece by piece, labelled it all, brought it to the set and re-assembled it then they got 100,000 fake oak leaves sent over from Taiwan and stuck them on to the tree. It must've taken weeks to do and cost a fortune yet it was only in the film for about 15 seconds!

We really can't wait to see the films again now to see do we recognise all the places that we were standing!


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