Since booking my tour of New Zealand I’d been feeling quite disappointed that I wouldn’t get the chance to visit the Hobbiton film set, so I was delighted, to say the least, when my friends suggested we take a day trip from Auckland to see it. I’m a big Lord of the Rings fan. I spent a night with my best friend, Kirsten, at an overnight IMAX movie-marathon a few years ago, and more recently some of my first dates with my boyfriend, Oliver, were spent happily watching the trilogy together at each other’s houses.
It’s no surprise then, that this trip was the stuff dreams are made of.
The set is amazingly detailed, right down to the thriving organic vegetable garden in the centre of the village.
Our tour guide started off the by asking what Bilbo shouted as he was leaving Hobbiton in the first Hobbit movie. Flashback to last year when, on the Harry Potter studio tour, I out-nerded everyone by being the only member of our group to know what species of spider Aragog was. Remembering the disdainful looks I received at that moment, I held my tongue and refrained from shouting out “I’m going on an adventure!”. I immediately regretted this, however, after the tour guide declared us all novices.
There was plenty of time at each hobbit hole for pictures, and our guide came out with a few really interesting facts along the way. Remember the famous sunset scene where Bilbo and Galdalf blow smoke rings? The ‘sunset’ was actually the sunrise – as Bag End faces the wrong way – so they had to reverse the footage of the sunrise. Apparently, if you look closely, you can even see a few backwards-flying birds in the sky!
There have been 35 marriage proposals in Hobbiton since it opened to the public, which was quite surprising to me. You can even splash out and tie the knot there. Not quite my idea of a dream wedding, but it’s nice that all those hardcore Tolkein fans have a perfect place for their big day.
The standard tour includes a free drink (of course the cost of this ‘complimentary’ drink was built into the ticket price so it was quite amusing how many times our guide told us it was free) at the Green Dragon pub at the end of the tour.
The pub was a quirky reproduction of the kind of British pubs we usually stop off at, after a country walk back home, which was a bit of a novelty, and a nice way to round off the tour.
Massive thanks again to Pat and Peter for taking me along with them on this ‘Unexpected Journey’!