Go behind the scenes of the Lord of the Rings movies
I'll be honest with you, I'm not a Lord of the Rings fan. So while being in the place that the movies were filmed did not mean as much as it did to me as it did to my LOTR and Hobbit fan husband, I was super impressed at the attention to detail to ensure that the movie was true to the stories written by JR Tolkien.
Those who go on the Hobbiton Movie Set Tour in New Zealand will learn plenty of interesting background detail while exploring the cutest little village that is lovingly maintained daily.
The film set is near the small town of Matamata, which can be a day trip from Auckland or other smaller nearby towns. Matamata is about 160 kilometres south east of Auckland, in New Zealand's South Island. The film set is on a working farm, specifically chosen by director Peter Jackson to film the Lord of The Rings films. Visitors get to see 44 Hobbit holes and even get to go inside one. Best not to have high expectations about this though as all interior shots in the films were filmed on sets in Wellington.
Tour goers are taken from a starting point on the farm surrounded by rolling green hills with paddocks full of fluffy white sheep. The farm sheep were actually kept out of shot because the sheep required for the film were a darker coloured variety, so a flock of more old-fashioned looking sheep were brought in. This was just one of the interesting factoids that the knowledgeable guides relay to tour groups.
Wandering around the Hobbit holes you are able to see the party tree, the Mill, Bag End and down to a reproduced Green Dragon Inn. I couldn't believe that in order to meet the vision had by Peter Jackson, the leaves on a tree behind Bag End were removed and individually replaced by hundreds of thousands of fake leaves. We also learnt that the film crew were made to put out the Hobbit washing each day- not because it needed to dry out- but to create a realistic path to the washing line so when filming was done, Hobbiton looked lived in.
The tours which last two hours, finish at the Green Dragon Inn where participants are able to have a drink in the exact reproduction of the venue featured in the films. They leave regularly from Shire's Rest at a cost of $75 for adults and a range of prices for youngsters of different age groups.