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02.08.2014 admin
Is the Waikato sheep farm that became the home of the Hobbits in the Lord of the Rings films worth a visit?
Construction of the set took nine months, gardens were planted to give the picturesque English countryside look and rounded doors were built into hills.
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Unless you’re the sort of deodorant-shunning, elf costume-donning sadsack that made fantasy fiction a laughing stock for decades before Peter Jackson stepped in, a visit to Hobbiton is likely to be a crushing disappointment. Disclosure: David was a guest of Hobbiton Tours, with the visit organised through Tourism New Zealand.
I ALSO ASK TO PLEASE RESPECT THE WEARERS OF THESE TATTOOS IN THE PHOTOS AND DO NOT DIRECTLY COPY THEM AS EACH TATTOO DESIGN IS PERSONAL TO THE WEARER. A relatively small sheep farm in the middle of dairy country changed forever in March 1999 when the New Zealand Army rolled in with their diggers, bulldozers, rollers and graders.


The site couldn’t be seen from the road, and there were no 21st century trappings such as electricity pylons or phone wires to edit out.
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Bus loads started arriving, and tours were set up under the ownership of the family that owned the sheep farm. It’s looked after too – a team of four gardeners works the village to keep it looking immaculate.
Some have come from the nearby farming town of Matamata, some have driven an hour from Rotorua.
But it’s all just photo stops – you can’t actually go inside any of the buildings apart from the recently added Green Dragon pub. It’s called movie magic for a reason – the places on their own can be staggeringly mundane. You’ll have a better experience locking yourself in a room for a day and watching the films.


The guide tries her best, but a detailed recounting of scenes from Lord of the Rings doesn’t exactly get the juices flowing.
Director Peter Jackson had taken one look at the site and seen that three key things were in one place – rolling hills, a lake, and a pine that could be the ‘party tree’. Others have sat on a bus for roughly three hours from Auckland, and will head straight back after doing the tour. Being led around by someone who describes what was shot in a particular spot doesn’t enhance the experience – it just draws attention to what’s missing.



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