We started our adventure off from the beautiful Okere Falls (post coming soon!), driving through thick mist – we couldn’t see 10 metres in front of us, the wintery tree branches were groping out at us through the fog. On the way we passed by the biggest ox we’d ever seen – it’s head slowly turned to look at us as we drove past – shrouded in white cloud, it was surreal, like an ancient relic, and we felt like we were already on a movie set.
As we got closer to Hobbiton, the fog lifted and the undulating green hills were dotted white with sheep and rows of tall leafless pencil willows. All the while, Josh was quoting Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit in the passenger seat while I was driving – he was pretty good actually! And he could definitely pass for a hobbit (yes, he’s kind of got hairy feet, haha)
It was overcast – but not raining yet! – as we arrived for Our Hobbiton Adventure. We hadn’t booked anything, but as luck would have it, we paid for our tickets (NZ$79), and a bus was due to leave in a few minutes and so we got on the Hobbiton Bus to take us through the property to the Hobbiton Movie Set.
The set is located on 1250 acres of land owned by the Alexanders, who use it as a sheep and cattle farm (hopefully now that they are making heaps of money from the tours they don’t have to farm the animals for food anymore!) When they were approached to use their property for the movies, apparently the Alexanders had no idea what LOTR was! (They sure do now – with hundreds of tourists going there daily!)
We were blown away by Hobbiton and how surreal it all was. Such quaint little places nestled in the side of the hills. The gardens were just magical – the gardeners have to make sure that there are flowers in bloom all year round, and veggies in the veggie garden. Nothing had been overlooked on the set – there were tiny arrangements of firewood and axes scattered throughout the Shire, little bread shops and jams for sale out the front of various hobbit homes – even little hobbit clothes hanging on the line.
We were guided by our Tour Guide Sarah (awesome job Sarah!) who helped craft our experience of nostalgia, joy and excitement. There is quite a unique feeling when it comes to walking the tracks of your favourite stories. From peacefully making our way along the tracks where Gandalf’s cart had rolled as the old wizard entered the Shire from the Lord of the Rings movie and up to Bag End where Frodo had nailed the legendary ‘no admittance except on party business’ sign to the gate of Bilbo’s home.
Sarah discussed with us how all the filming had taken place for various scenes of the two trilogies, so we were able to imagine how well these movies were crafted in the most luscious spots on earth by using various filming techniques to achieve the illusion of larger areas and spacious interiors for the Hobbit homes.
We eventually headed downhill from Bag End arriving at Sam and Rosie’s little yellow doored Hobbit home. It immediately brought a sense of awe while we gazed upon the humble garden and tiny windows knowing that one of the most well loved heroes of the rings journey to the mountain has called this place home.
Time passed so quickly and the two hours of being guided through our peaceful and nostalgic ride had drawn near the end. We crossed the well known bridge that raises over the waterfront of the Green Dragon Inn. We’d been provided a variety of alcoholic and non alcoholic unique Hobbit drink options, our first choice being on the house thanks to our tour guide! We both chose one of our favourite drinks, the non alcoholic ginger beer. We enjoyed our warming drink while keeping warm on two arm chairs by a fireplace. The Green Dragon Inn was definitely a well crafted ending to our two hour walk through this dreamful place.
There weren’t any vegan food options at the Green Dragon Inn, (perhaps some Pumpkin Scones or Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies would go very well here!) but the lovely lady we spoke to was curious about our food choices and ended up taking down our name and website. She said she used to be a vegetarian and she was catching up with a friend soon who is currently a vegetarian and that we’d made her think about things! So that was awesome! Always pays to talk to people!
All in all, we found our Hobbiton Journey absolutely magical and would recommend it to anyone going to the north island of New Zealand!
If you know any Lord of the Rings or Hobbiton fans – please do us a favour and share this post with them!!