While on New Zealand's north island, we decided to drive two hours down winding country roads to the unassuming Alexander family sheep farm.
Honestly, it was kinda like a lot of the sheep farms we passed while on our three week road trip.
However, one pretty significant thing sets apart this particular sheep farm from all the others.
Hobbiton hides in its hills.
Hobbiton was created in 1999 for New Line Cinema's Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
Peter Jackson did an aerial search of Matamata for the perfect location for Hobbiton and found it in the green, rolling hills of the Alexander's farm.
After negotiations with the family, Jackson was permitted to build 39 hobbit holes + The Green Dragon.
With those hobbit holes, Jackson brought to life one of my favorite stories about some of my favorite literary characters.
Getting to wander around the Shire and see first hand all of the small details that brought Hobbiton to life on film was a profoundly cool experience.
Stories have always played an important role in my life-- I am a middle school language arts teacher, after all -- and the LOTR is my second favorite story of all time!
So it was a lot of fun to learn all of the tricks of filming!
As we wandered around Hobbiton, our guide explained to us how Jackson filmed to make Frodo and the other hobbits look so small in comparison to Gandalf and the humans and elves.
We even learned that the dwarf Gimli was the tallest cast member on set!
Our tour ended with a trip to The Green Dragon, the bar where hobbits drink and sing and be merry in the film + books.
The Green Dragon makes four unique drinks that can only be found in Hobbiton.
I had the ginger beer and Sean tried one of the hardier ales.
Hobbiton was a very special experience for me because, if I am going to be honest, New Zealand and the Lord of the Rings are synonymous.
The first time I ever had any concept of this beautiful country was the first time I watched the LOTR.
And before leaving for New Zealand, I definitely spent some time watching the films and listening to the soundtracks.
So for me, a trip to Hobbiton was a no brainer and a beautiful memory to make.
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