Matamata: Hobbiton

An infamous native species of New Zealand are Tolkien’s hobbits. Anyone remotely interested in the books or films must take a tour from The Shire’s Rest and enjoy the nerdgasm that is Hobbiton. Few could keep their composure as they hopped from hobbit hole to hobbit hole, snapping selfies at three second intervals. Die hard fans need to visit the Weta workshops in Wellington too; Hobbiton is mostly exterior frontages, although you can actually have a pint of cider inside the fully furnished Green Dragon pub.

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I think what struck me most about the set was the level of detail; not only did Peter Jackson erect an artificial oak tree atop Bag End, he then had all the leaves individually repainted when he decided it was the wrong shade of green. I was astonished to learn that the set was going to be dismantled after The Lord of the Rings was filmed, and it was only with The Hobbit that it was reconstructed in permanent materials. It is now contracted to remain for at least the next 50 years.

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Opportunities to see not only the hobbit hole interiors but also other famous middle earth scenes will be plentiful, particularly in the South Island where one can look out over Rohan, featuring mainly in The Two Towers or perhaps the river in which the dwarves escaped their elvish prison inside barrels in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Either way, stand by for new instalments in my geeky guide.

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