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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Trip to Hobbiton, New Zealand

One does not simply post about Hobbiton, which is why I invited someone who has actually been there to share her travel adventures with us. I hope you like pictures. Lots of pictures. And hobbit holes.

Heather Ostler and I have a lot in common: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, pugs, ballet, writing, and a love for traveling. She is the author of The Shapeshifter's Secret, which you can find online, in stores, and even at the Barnes and Noble in Hawaii. The cover for the second installment in the series, The Siren's Secret was recently revealed on her blog.

A few months ago she visited Australia and New Zealand. So, of course, she toured Hobbiton:

The Hobbit Movie Set in New Zealand

In the heart of New Zealand's north island you will find rolling, grassy hills, bleating sheep, and small, round, colorful doors. This is Hobbiton.

When Peter Jackson and his crew began looking for a location to film the shire, they flew in a helicopter to get a bird's eye view of the perfect spot. When they found the Alexander family sheep farm, they asked the family to sign a contract without releasing what movie they were filming. The Alexander family said yes, and the nine month construction began for The Lord of The Rings' set.

For The Lord of The Rings films they built a simpler version of the shire and agreed to destroy the set after filming. Most was torn down, but a storm did prevent the crew from demolishing every door. When New Line Cinema decided to make The Hobbit movies, they came back to the Alexander farm and asked once again to use their land. The family agreed, but asked that this time they build more realistic, sturdy hobbit homes, and they also requested to keep the set up after filming.

See that mold splattering the fence behind us? It takes a lot of time to grow, time that the set designers didn't have. So what was the solution? Mixing blue and green paint with oatmeal and spraying the fence. Now that's clever.

Here's a hobbit garden with scarecrow. Below you can see the pathway by the large lake that leads to the Green Dragon Inn. I couldn't get enough of the little chimneys that dotted the green hills.

Bilbo's home. Remember that scene of Bilbo and Gandalf sitting on the front porch in The Fellowship of The Ring? It was shot to make it look like the sun was setting in front of them. Here's the problem, the sun sets behind his home. Solution? They filmed at sunrise and shot the dialogue backwards. Basically the end of the conversation was filmed at the break of dawn and the beginning of the conversation was filmed when the sun was higher. The overall scene is convincing, it looks like the perfect sunset.

That tree above the home is completely fake. They created the enormous plant, placed it next to Bilbo's home, and then Peter Jackson decided he didn't like the leaf color. Solution? They repainted every single leaf to a have a greener hue!

Every detail is incredible. Piles of firewood, little windows, handmade quilts, and clotheslines with hanging hobbit clothes all added to the charm of the village.

We got to enter this hobbit home, but I'm afraid I have bad news. There's nothing inside. Whenever you see a character enter into a hobbit home they're actually entering a studio in Wellington (New Zealand's capital).

Here's the inside shot. Dirt and rock floor, not much more. Although there was some cool pottery in the window.

Sam and Rosie's home. Yellow door, surrounding wildflowers, and a horseshoe fence latch. This was my favorite hobbit part of Hobbiton. I kept replaying the very end of Return of The King in my head. Here's a clip from Youtube of the scene. If you go to 2:30 you'll see Sam and Rosie enter the home carrying their two adorable children.

I have to admit I got a little thrill opening the gate and skipping over to their door!

Past The Shire and over the bridge you'll find The Green Dragon Inn. In The Fellowship of The Ring there's a scene where The Green Dragon burns in Frodo's dream. The building was actually set on fire and destroyed. When they came back to film The Hobbit, the inn was rebuilt and is now a functioning pub.

I know that was a lot of pictures, but I'm guessing that if you made it to here you probably enjoyed them. Thanks for stopping by. I think I need to go have second breakfast before starting a Lord Of The Rings Marathon :)

Read More from Heather

Read more about Heather's trip to Australia and New Zealand on her blog

You can follow her on twitter, and "like" The Shapeshifter's Secret on Facebook

Thank you Heather for sharing your experience with us.

Anouncement: David Farland told me about this awesome new social blogging site called Glipho. It looks like pinterest, but with blog posts. You can follow, like, comment, and write responses to posts and articles. Here's the best part: not only can you follow people, but you can follow topics. So if I follow The Hobbit, every blog post about The Hobbit will show up in my feed. This is great for readers, writers, and bloggers. 

Here is my profile to give you and idea. I love this site!


  1. Wow, how magical!! I think I've just added a new bucket list item.

  2. Oh my goodness!! What a wonderful experience this would be to wander around Hobbiton. Thank you so much for posting and sharing. What a joy to find this post! I would love to visit one day!


    1. Glad you found it! Yeah, I'm definitely going there some day! It would be amazing just to walk around and see rolling hills and hobbit holes.


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