Warning: you are about to learn what major dorks we are, and I don't even care.
I can not even begin to describe this experience. Actually, I can. But, I will fail. Because this place was like none other. Josh and I are HUGE Lord of the Ring fans. We own all the Lord of the Rings, watch them frequently, and have seen all the Hobbit movies(think we own those, too). So, needless to say, we were totally GEEKING OUT when we visited Hobbiton. It was a several hour trek from where we were staying, but sooo worth the drive. If you don't know what Hobbiton is, slap yourself. Hobbiton is the village where the Hobbits live. It's nestled in the Shire. Obviously, It's were they live and work. And it's beautiful. Stunning, actually. The rolling hills, the green pastures, the ginormous trees. I want to live there.
This land was hand picked by Peter Jackson (Director of LOTR). He made a deal with the NZ army to help build Hobbiton. The land is owned by the Alexander family and is located in Matamata, Nz. The family still owns the land today and has allowed tours due to public demand. The original Hobbiton built for Lord of the Rings was not allowed to be toured. Once Peter Jackson came back asking permission to use the land again for the Hobbit, the family said yes with one stipulation - that Hobbiton be rebuilt/renovated to last forever so tours could be done. Hobbiton is treated as if real Hobbits live there. There is a real, fruitful, vast garden. All homes are kept up to date and well maintained. The Green Dragon Inn has a fully functioning Cafe. I wish I could share all the amazing details and inside scoop, but it would just take forever. The amount of work that Peter Jackson put into this place is mind blowing (like building roads and flying in hundreds of his own personal sheep). This was such a surreal experience and one I will seriously never ever ever forget.
There are over 40 Hobbit holes on this hill. The ones at the bottom are smaller and consider lower class. These hobbits were poor and did most of the manual labor. Their homes weren't quite as intricate because they weren't filmed up close but rather used for back drop. As you work your way up the hill, the homes get larger and more detailed. At the very top was Bilbo Baggins home. He was the most wealthy Hobbit, so his home and door were the largest. Most of the homes consisted only a front door. Bilbo's home had the door and front hallway. This Hobbit door was at the very bottom.
Every house had incredible detail. I loved the tiny mailboxes. The details of each gave a hint as to what that hobbit did for a living. This home I believe belonged to one of the gardeners.
The view from the top of the hill.
This is Bilbo's tree. In Lord of the Rings, this tree was real. They actually discovered somewhere else in NZ and had it cut into 15 pieces and transferred here. For the Hobbit, this tree had to be man made because it needed to be smaller since the Hobbit happened first in the timeline. This tree was completely artificial. The leaves (all 2k) were hand painted multiple times until they achieved the perfect look.
And this Ladies and Gentlemen is Bilbo's house. (You couldn't actually go in, all that was built here was the door and the entry hall. The rest was shot in studio)
I love these pics of C. They show just how small some of the doors were, and how tiny Hobbits would have been in adulthood.
This giant tree was the whole reason this piece of land was picked. The orginially were just going to shoot the party scene in this meadow, but once they started exploring, they realized it was the perfect location for Hobbiton. All the hills made perfect nooks for the Hobbit holes. This photo below is on the party meadow looking up at Bilbo's home.
This is the home of Sam Wise Gamgee. Frodo's best friend.
That building is the Green Dragon Inn. It's fully functioning and serves beer, non alcholic ginger beer (which was super good), and all sorts of pastries and treats.
oh you know, just stopping on the trail to the Green Dragon Inn because C had a tantrum. #reallife
For some reason, I don't have a picture of the front of the Green Dragon Inn. But, here is one of the inside. I'm almost positive Josh got this on the Go Pro film.
The whole crew minus Bri (Daniel's fiance). She was sick that day, so her mom took her place. After Hobbiton, we drove several hours to see the Glow Worm Caves. It was exactly as it sounds. Deep caves were thousands of bugs that glow cling to the ceiling. It was breathtakingly beautiful. You weren't allowed to take pictures at all, but Josh was tricky and filmed it with the Go Pro. Afterward, we made the long car ride back to our NZ home. It honestly felt like the longest car ride of my life. The kiddos were just done. Willow cried for the last hour. We stuffed our faces with Mcdonalds and passed out once we got home.
And that concludes the best day of my life. Not really, but in the top five for sure. I still can't believe I walked on this set.