New Zealand is famed for a few things – sheep, the All Blacks, chocolate fish and of course the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films!
So when I jumped on the Kiwi Experience to explore some of the north island visiting the Hobbiton Movie set was one of the top things I wanted to do.
Now I’ll admit now I’m not a die hard fan of the films (in fact I don’t think I’ve finished watching all the Lord of the Rings) but having just finished watching the Hobbit trilogy it was all pretty fresh in my mind – plus being from Devon (aka the Shire) with big curly hair and wandering around barefoot it’s almost a pilgrimage to my mythical home!haha!
So I teamed up with the guys from Tinggly Experiences and headed off on an adventure…
What Is Tinggly?!
Firstly I’m sure you’re all thinking “what the hell is Tinggly!?” so I’ll get all that out the way now! Tinggly is an awesome new online site which allows you to purchase a Tinggly Voucher, either for yourself or as a gift, which is then exchangeable for HEAPS of cool stuff all over the globe – so it’s perfect for travellers or the traveller in your life.
For £80 you get a shiny voucher which the recipient can go online and redeem on everything from white water rafting in Indonesia and diving with Thresher sharks in the Philippines to bungee jumping off a glacier in Switzerland!
One voucher, heaps of choice!
…so if you’re looking for a travel gift go check them out!
Exploring The Shire
Having rocked up to a tiny farm in the middle of nowhere en route to Rotorua from Waitomo we joined heaps of other tourists (seriously it’s impressive how many people head there to check it out!) to explore one of the most accessible filming locations from the films.
New Zealand is littered with backdrops that they filmed at however Hobbiton is the only real spot that truly connects the films with the landscape.
This is because when they rebuilt the set for the Hobbit Trilogy the guys that owned the farm cleverly negotiated that it was made to be more permanent and it was crafted meticulously from wood, stone and materials that will see it remain for the next 50 years at least…instead of the usually polystyrene, light weight temporary materials movie sets are usually crafted from.
The result is an incredible glimpse into the set, the attention to detail that Peter Jackson took when creating the movies and some of the insane lengths he went to keep the set true to the books it’s based upon – something our awesome tour guide explained as we meandered through the paths and Hobbit Holes.
The fact the pear and apple trees were stripped of all their fruit and leaves and replaced by fake plums and plum tree leaves is insane, but when you then learn that only made it into less than 5 seconds of film is even crazier…and that’s only in the EXTENDED version! Mental times!
The original tree above Bilbos house was partially destroyed by a storm so they took casts of it and rebuilt a fake one. However a few days before filming started Jackson said the leaves were the wrong colour and a team had to respray tens of thousands of leaves to the right colour!
He’s like the Steve Jobs of the film industry!hahaha!
I’ll Let The Photos Do The Talking!
To be honest there isn’t much I can really chat about Hobbiton, so I’ll let some of my pics show you some of the scenes you’ll be able to pose in and capture yourself on a trip there. All you really need to know is you’ll have the opportunity to stand in front of Bilbos place, dance around the party tree, jump over the infamous fence and cram your camera full of Hobbity goodness!
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At the end of the tour you’ll even be able to kick back in the Green Dragon pub and enjoy and ice cold pint of beer, ale or cider – they even have costumes you can dress up in to make your pics even more authentic.
The only downside is it’s popularity and it’s pretty busy there, so its a tough deal trying to get your photos as people free as possible and there’s only one Hobbit hole you can actually stand inside of – well the door at least, as all the holes are simply deep enough to fit a couple of actors in!
…I kind of wish all the guides were dressed up like the film too, that would’ve made everything even more interesting!haha!
Still it’s heaps of fun and you’ll no doubt be updating your Facebook profile picture after visiting there, so if you get the chance it’s a great stop off in the North Island.
Have you ever visited Hobbiton or any of the filming locations from Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit? What did you make of them?
**PLEASE NOTE; I received a complimentary voucher courtesy of Tinggly, but rest assured all opinions are honest and my own**