Saturday, February 28, 2015

the shire

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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20 comments

  1. Hobbiton was on my list for our recent trip to NZ. Sadly we didn't get there - seeing your lovely photos is a great consolation prize.

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    1. It was a lot of fun and it ended up being one of my favorite days in NZ.

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  2. Ahhhh! I am a huge LOTR nerd, and I'd be lying if I said seeing the LOTR sets wasn't my top reason for wanting to visit NZ. The fact that it's a beautiful country in general doesn't hurt either, though!

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    1. Hehehe! Me too! But I also went to England after reading Harry Potter.

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  3. I am very jealous. I love the Lord of the Rings! What fantastic photos too. When I eventually get to go to NZ, this will be high on my list! Thanks for sharing. Popping over from #SundayTraveler

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  4. Oh godddddddd I die! I want to go so bad!! You would think, being Australian, I should have hopped over to NZ by now, but I haven't made it there.. yet!

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    1. You should! It was ridiculously fun :)

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  5. Love!! This is top of my to visit list for whenever I head to New Zealand. While reading this, I had the Hobbiton soundtrack running through my mind. I had always loved the set of Hobbiton in the movies and seeing it in real life would be so so awesome.

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  6. My friends catch me listening to the LOTR soundtrack all the time at work. Just yesterday, I was called a LOTR nerd! Being a nerd has its advantages. For example, getting to enjoy the heck out of Hobbiton!

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  7. We loved our Hobbiton tour as well! Was just here few months ago, so picture perect! thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard

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    1. Did you have naughty tourist on yours who refused to stay with the group! We did! It was pretty hilarious!

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  8. Don't tell anyone but I have read the book or seen the movies much to Gordon's disgust. However Hobbiton does look pretty amazing, and NZ is a beautiful country.

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    1. Whaaaaa? I won't tell, but you should at least watch the movies!!! They are visually stunning!

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  9. This is awesome! My boyfriend and I are both obsessed with LOTR. So jealous right now!

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    1. Go to NZ! The whole time you're there you can pretend you're in Middle Earth!

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  10. Beautiful photos. I'd love to visit Hobbiton someday. Interesting tidbit about Gimli!

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  11. That looks like so much fun! I work in film and would love to see the LOTR sets. You photos are awesome. I know New Zealand is a beautiful place, but visiting a Hobbit home would be a special treat. Thanks for sharing!!

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    1. It really was so much fun, especially if you like the films or books!

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