What an amazing few days! I have no idea where to begin, It began…well, it began as you might expect. In a hole in a ground…
After a long drive from Auckland we came to Rotorua and checked in to our Motel.. A lovely little place called Ann’s Volcanic Motel (more later). But we were on our way to that hole in the ground.. Bag End.
The Hobbiton film set is located near Matamata and forms part of a huge sheep farm, turns out the scouts selected it for the famous Party Tree, if it hadn’t had that then they would have gone elsewhere. Now when you enter the Hobbiton set you come through the stone passage that Bilbo runs through shouting “I’m going on an adventure!”
Now Kelsey, our guide, encouraged us to do this and since no one stepped forward I decided I wasn’t passing up this opportunity.. The whole group chorused “Where are you going Mr Bilbo?” And I ran (waving my scarf in lieu of a contract) and shouted “I’m going on an adventure!!!” To a resounding cheer!
Hobbiton itself is a real treat to walk around, especially when you see things you recognise. Now above Bag End is an oak tree which is fake, the trunk is made of foam and paint and the leaves are plastic. Kelsey said that the leaves occasionally blow off and if you find one you can keep it. Well, I was determined.. I scoured the path and hedgerows for them when I noticed over the ledge about 1 metre down was one of these leaves! As I said, I was determined so I used two umbrellas to pinch it and lift it up to the path.. So I own a genuine piece of the LOTR set!!! And after all that would you believe it.. I found another in a hedge! Now at this point an English girl nearby was saying out loud that she would love one for her scrap book and her boyfriend muttered “stop finding them” to me lol. It was obvious that I was going to have to save his neck so I used my chopstick method to retrieve another leaf that had fallen over the ledge… She was happy and he was relieved lol.
I’m skipping the Volcanic region of Rotorua to put in another post.. Let’s keep this strictly LOTR.
The next place was from the filming of The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey
This is called the Hairy Feet tour and takes place near the small town of Piopio. If you are staying here, check in to the owls nest motel BTW, really nice there.
We were shown where the derelict farm house was before the trolls. The entrance to the troll cave and the place where Bilbo stands when he first looks at Sting. But the wider shots where they first meet Radaghast are by far the most beautiful! Huge limestone bluffs rise straight up from the ground as though the hill side we were standing on had slipped down about 100m. The valley below us disappears off into the low hanging cloud in the distance… It’s so hard to put words to any of it because like my wedding vows.. The feelings just won’t turn into words!