As The Lord of the Rings holds a special place in our hearts, and the wondrous scenery from The Fellowship of the Ring in particular was part of our inspiration to visit New Zealand, we stopped to see the Hobbiton Movie Set.
Our day started out with some frustration, because we were scheduled to arrive in Hobbiton at 11:30, after a two-hour plus drive from Auckland, and we were scheduled to be picked up and taken to the rental car office at 9:30. Obviously this was already insufficient, and then there was a long line for the rental car office. By the time we got in our Holden Commodore and set off onto the left side of the road, it was 10:30. I had to call the travel agent to reschedule our Hobbiton tour for later in the day. We were comforted, however, by the fact that we were given the type of car we had arranged, a full-sized sedan, without any fuss or argument.
Driving on the left side of the road is nervous-making.
Eric took a picture of this hilarious sign for Hobbiton.
We actually lucked out coming later--our tour had only eight people on it, and all of us had seen the movies and read the books. Our guide told us that she had had a tour of 40 in the morning where no one had seen the movies or read the books!
We saw examples of hobbit holes in various scales.
It's the little details that make it so perfect.
Detail shot by Eric.
Eric took a picture of the cute direction sign.
Nothing is more important to (some) hobbits than food, so everywhere there were examples of food set out. Photo by Eric.
Bag End up on the hill.
This hobbit hole is the home of the beekeeper.
We know this because of the bee on the mailbox...
...and the honey out front.
The inhabitants of many hobbit holes were identified by the items outside, such as these baked goods as photographed by Eric.
Taking this picture, Eric mentioned that this hobbit must be particularly blessed.
It was the sight of this large tree by the lakeside that from the air that inspired Peter Jackson to choose this farm as his movie set.
Looking up the hill at Bag End. It was so different photographing something that had been deliberately designed to be photogenic.
Note in particular the tree on the left in the above photo. When the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed, Peter Jackson chose a particular oak tree from another nearby location, and had it cut into pieces, moved, and reassembled on that spot. Then, years later when he went back to the farm to make The Hobbit, he needed a tree that matched that tree, but it had to be considerably smaller, since The Hobbit was a prequel! So, he had an entirely fake tree constructed, with 200,000 fake leaves sewn onto it by hand.
Eric's view of Bag End.
Eric in front of Bag End. Note the sign. We purchased one of these at the gift shop. It will come in handy when people show up too early for our con parties!
Our guide found a few of the fake leaves on the ground and handed them out to us! Photo by Eric.
Another cute little hobbit hole.
An adorable mailbox.
An arborist on our tour confirmed it: these are California native poppies.
Eric took a picture of a maypole in the area where Bilbo's eleventy-first birthday party was staged.
And my picture with the maypole.
Eric took my picture in front of the home of Samwise Gamgee. I didn't even have to say it, because our guide said it before me: Sam is the real hero of the story.
The Green Dragon (the Hobbiton bar).
Eric photographed more hobbit holes by the lakeside.
Bridge and mill by the lakeside.
In the gift shop, Eric photographed the Pointy Hat for sale. My, it's expensive!
It was sweet, it was adorable, it was fun. Now, however, we will move on to greater adventure!
On to Whakaari/White Island.