A Village in The Shire of Middle Earth
Matamata, North Island, NZ – Visiting Hobbiton is delightful! Staged on the greenest of green hills with 44 hobbit holes dug into the hillside.
First built in 1999 for Lord of the Rings (LOTR), the set on Alexander Farm was dismantled when filming was complete, yet fans made pilgrimages to visit Middle Earth. In 2009, Hobbiton was recreated in exquisite detail for filming The Hobbit. Upon conclusion of the trilogy, the set was left intact, oh, so nice!
Tailored to the height of a hobbit (3’6″), the hobbit holes are different sizes for shooting scenes with various characters – e.g. doors that make Gandolf appear huge, and the hobbits small.
Scale and authenticity – The props reflect the personality of the Hobbit (e.g. beekeeper, chess player, gardener). The grand tree above Bilbo Baggins Bag-End is fake! Fiberglass with silk leaves, attached one-by-one. During filming, the leaves were repainted by hand to adjust for fading from the sun. All other trees, ponds, gardens are very real.
Keeping It Real
During filming, one job was to tramp between the clotheslines to ensure the paths appeared worn and authentic. Another was to remove croaking frogs from the pond before filming.
A Stroll Past The Mill and a Drink at the Green Dragon Inn
Hobbiton is Built on the Alexander Farm
The Alexander Farm is a working sheep farm with 13,500 sheep, which nearly double (25,000) by the end of lambing season.
Orcs, Trolls and Other Horrible Beings
In Wellington, giant trolls greet you at the Weta Workshop. This is the special-effects company responsible for props and creatures from LOTR, The Hobbit, and hundreds of other films. The Weta Artists built a tribute to Gandolf and the eagles at the Wellington Airport. (see Wellington post HERE)