There and Back Again
16/1/14 - 16/1/14
Of course traveling through New Zealand is like traveling through the Lord of the Rings set. You might just happen to drive by Mount Doom and through the Misty Mountains on an ordinary day. But, for an extraordinary day, a visit to Hobbiton is in order.
Though the price is steep and the only way to see it is with a tour, it's well worth it. With the tour you hear a lot about the filming of the movies there and how particular Sir Peter Jackson was with the details. Everything from having the crew tie on leaves to a tree that didn't have the right leaves, to spray painting other leaves when the sun had faded them too much. There are several full time gardeners are there, and during filming one guy's job was keeping the grass at the appropriate height.
The location scouting crew first flew over the property, then stopped by for a closer look. Then they handed the landowners a check, disclosure agreement, and said 'take a holiday'. Jackson had asked the government for money for the movies and though he was denied, they did offer him the New Zealand Army to help him build the road through the farm. The Army was also not allowed to talk about what was happening, so locals were left to wonder why the Army was building a road through a nearby farm. The land was also declared a 'no fly' zone so it wasn't until the first movie actually came out and the locals recognized the landscape, that people realized what had been going on.
The initial deal with the landowners was that the land would be returned to its' original condition when they were done filming. However, New Zealand weather got in the way of that plan, and the structures stayed long enough for people to start stopping by the farm and asking to see them. The landowners realized it might be better to keep the hobbit holes.
Sidenote: how cool would it be to have hobbit holes on your property?!?!
Initially there were only 6 or so hobbit doors, but after the movies became a success and more were to be filmed, the builders came back and turned what was there into permanent structures and added some more, so now there are 44 doors.
Unfortunately the inside filming took place on a set in Wellington so these don't actually go into the earth, but it was still amazing to walk through Hobbiton! I did my best to take pictures of all 44 doors as well, so enjoy!
The Green Dragon:
Ok, I admit it...I want one.