I woke up super early in the morning so that I could eat a delicious instant oatmeal breakfast and peacefully enjoy my free instant coffee from the hostel. Zoe and I eagerly waited for the big green bus that would take us to the magical land where all of our childhood dreams would come true: today we were going to the Hobbiton movie set!
I’ll start with all the good stuff. Despite the light rain, muddy paths and the large number of people in our tour group, we left all worries and woes behind us as we ran past the cobblestone slopes of the entryway yelling, “WE’RE GOING ON AN ADVENTURE!!!”
Yep, just like Bilbo. Except I took the picture facing the wrong way. Oops.
As we were walking into the Hobbiton area the clouds parted and let the sun shine through for the rest of our stay in the Shire. It couldn’t have been more perfect! I was amazed that the set actually has real working gardens and real trees (some fake too), although many of the set pieces are hobbit-sized and super tiny. As you’ll notice in a few photos, the grass in the Hobbiton area is actually watered, whereas the surrounding hills were a nice, dry Californian gold.
The coolest part of the whole Hobbiton walk-through was getting up to the top of the hill to Bag End. Most of the hobbit holes only have about 3 feet behind the door—the actual sets were back in Wellington studios—but the Bag End entryway reaches back several feet so that they could film the actors going in and out, as well as shots of the Hobbiton landscape looking out from the doorway. Unfortunately that area is all preserved and you can’t go inside, but I still got my picture taken out front!
After we had calmed down from all that excitement, we headed down the hill to the party tree, Sam Gamgee’s hole, and the Green Dragon for a free beer! I had the Girdly ale, but they also had Sackville cider and a Frogmorton ginger beer option for the wee ones. It was actually really good! It would have been great if we were able to hang out some more in the Green Dragon but we were quickly dragged back to the buses and shipped home.
So for the not-so-amazing stuff:
- Our bus driver from Rotorua to Hobbiton was annoying. He talked the entire ride, rambling on about how geology is dumb, and he kept calling hills “baby mountains.” THEN he went on a 40-minute spiel about how his name was Randall but when we get to Hobbiton to call him Randolf the Wizard, and how we should open our imaginations because we were passing the line between reality and fantasy and dear god why is he still talking?! …I wanted to strangle him.
- We only got 15 minutes total to use the bathroom, stop at the Shire’s Rest Café AND hit the under-stocked gift shop.
- There were too many other nerds there.
All that aside, it was still a wonderful day and I was too caught up with the excitement of my childhood dreams coming true to let it ruin my day! I probably have about 100 more photos of hobbit holes, set pieces, mailboxes, and of Zoe and I, but I’ll leave some excitement for those of you who will eventually travel here someday.