Monday, July 28, 2014

We live in Middle Earth ...

Recently along with another 117 people who are parents of, or are actual home schoolers, we visited Hobbiton where part of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed.

The actual guided tours are 2 hours long and on private farmland in the Waikato. The tours are not at all cheap but as we had so many in our group we ended up getting a great deal.
The girls and I arrived at the entrance (car park, ticketing office, cafe, and tourist shop) by 10am to meet up with our group. Our group was then transferred over three buses to the film spot. They had buses run about every 15-20 minutes, and were driven by a guide to and from the tour area. Our lovely guide Steve gave us what seemed like lots of information and little tidbits about the movie, site and actors. Even if you knew nothing about the movie (here's a secret we actually haven't seen any of the movies!) he really made it interesting. Nothing secret squirrel of course just some lovely stories. One of the guides that works there was actually in one of the first movies when he was a small child.

One of the newer buses. We had an older one called Gandalf ... yes they all have names.

Now despite the tour being two hours long, my two girls managed to take 265 photos between them! So forgive me for the many photos you are about to see but we three just loved the place and had the most loveliest of times.

This is the entrance to where we started our walk. Those bushes that make that hedge were actually planted there by the movie studio! There's actually a tie in the top right corner that is tethering a full-grown tree that they also planted until they are truly confident it wont fall over. This was right at the beginning so I started off on my journey not knowing what was 'real" and what was man made. It was quite astonishing and really hard to tell what wasn't authentic! 
See that tree up on the hill, the big one on the right? Well that was supposed to be the tree where Bilbo Baggins' home was under but firstly because the book is set in England it of course is an oak tree in the novel. Secondly, the movie peeps were worried popping a door, etc under it they might weaken it's root system and bring it down. Therefore they built a fake tree ... that tree to the left! The plastic leaves (made in Asia, so they are imported!) keep falling off. They have apparently replaced them once and since there were a few that had blown off, we were able to pick up a few for our memory books (and for a Hobbit Fan friend in the US).
All the doors in the hobbit homes are different sized. As you can see the girls would have to bend to enter but on some of the others despite my lack of height (yes I am of Hobbit proportions) I could walk inside without bending over.
They use the food they grow here in the Green Dragon Inn where they serve meals.
Loved these little chimney tops just popping up out of the hill everywhere.
Doesn't it look like real produce?

Honey anyone?
Yup, all fake!
Even the bread!
See the door is open behind? We were allowed to pop inside for a look. Sadly just part of the hill with support beams, etc.
But you could pop around and look out through the window. What a scary little Hobbit!
The Fake Tree




Sadly Bilbo wasn't home. Bilbo's is the only place where they ask people to keep away from the door, windows, etc. I suppose they don't want to risk anything getting wrecked, or from wear and tear. They are so good about every other place that it's not an issue.


Here you can see the inside of this hobbit home. Not especially exciting. 
Looking over from the hill towards the Green Dragon and Mill. 

Everywhere you looked there were things set up as though you were actually walking through a wee village and the villagers were going to pop out any minute.

The Cheese Shop




 Included in the tour is a complimentary ginger beer when you arrive at the Green Dragon. Frankly this little fat Hobbit was quite parched after walking up and down those hills so it was gratefully received. It was really quite delicious too!
 You can order food and coffee, etc from this bar.
Lots of little nooks to rest up around the place.
They hold events at the Green Dragon ... note the lanterns for some event they had held over the weekend.


Girls were posing on the little haystacks but a spider crept out and scared our Agent Smelly who is deathly afraid of them!

On our way back to the bus.
All good things must come to an end but what a beautiful day we had.

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