Today I woke up excited like a little kid. One of my childhood dreams was about to come true in just a few hours - we were visiting Hobbiton!
Hobbiton is basically a movie set created originally for Peter Jackson's The Lord Of The Rings trilogy and then used also in The Hobbit trilogy. This location was found by a stroke of luck by Jackson's wife and happened to be a farmland of the Alexander Family. The movies proved a massive hit and became New Zealand's national treasure and a source of pride - and Hobbiton became a permanent location where one can see, touch and experience the Shire where Bilbo and Frodo Baggins started and ended their adventures.
The area is absolutely stunning - green rolling hills with massive solitary pine trees from time to time and not a soul on the horizon. There are 44 hobbit holes created here although none of them have interiors. The actually interior of Bag End, the house of Bilbo and Frodo, was created on stage in Wellington's Weta Workshop. Hobbiton has also a river, a mill and a pub which you can access crossing a small stone bridge and enjoy a pint of cold cider.
The amount of work put into every single detail is astonishing - after building the main structures, Jackson brought in gardeners that planted all of the little bushes, trees and flowers and the set was left to overgrow naturally. It took many months to bring it to full glory and since then there are three permanent gardeners employed here to keep it lush and green. The huge amount of flowers and vegetables attract butterflies and the area looks exactly like in the movie without the need of any special effects. There's even an artificial tree with over 300000 hand painted leaves above Bag End hole.
The tour lasted two hours of walking around and visiting every doorway of every Hobbit hole . At the end we crossed the bridge by the mill and enjoyed a mug of Hobbit cider. And then obviously the shop where I found The One Ring - out of all the places this seemed the most appropriate as that's where the story began.
We left Hobbiton feeling that we could live in a place like that - beautiful, green and among peacefully rolling hills where all the fuss of the London life seemed so far away behind the Misty Mountains.
We headed towards Rotorua - an area famous for volcanic hot springs, eggy smell and Maori culture. We were looking forward to learn some more about the indigenous people of this land and that was the best place to do it. Or so we thought.