New Zealand was the Middle Earth of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies, and Hobbiton is one of the Things To See when you’re here.
On top of that, it was also my rendez-vous point to meet up with Heather and Taryn, two friends of mine from high school, and their spouses and, in Heather’s case, five kids. When I arrived, they were already there, feeding the kids before our tour time.
After a quick reunion and a snack, we met our tour guide and set off into the movie land, which was as lush and green and magical as you would have imagined.
There was Bilbo’s Bag End at the top of the hill, with a very convincing fake tree perched above it.
And then about 40 other hobbit holes of varying size and personality. The sizes were used to force perspective: the smaller ones were used for scenes with non-hobbits to make the actors seem bigger than the actually were. And the bigger ones were used for the hobbit scenes to make the actors seem smaller than the were.
Overall the set was really well done. The level of detail and imagination reminded me of what I saw at the Harry Potter studio tour in a London. My favourite was how garden like the whole thing was, which is exactly what it should have been. Seeing it with Heather and Taryn, who are even bigger fans of the books and movies than I am, made it all the more fun — we had others to geek out with.