The set is located on the Alexander family farm in Matamata, about 45 minutes drive from Rotorua. The 1200 acre farm consists of rolling hills surrounded by the Kaimai mountains. The site was chosen by director Peter Jackson during an air-tour of the North Island to scout for shooting locations. According to our guide, Jackson rang at the Alexander's door during an All Blacks rugby match and was told to hit the bricks; they were more welcoming when he returned with a check.
Thirty-seven hobbit holes were created around the lake and enormous "party tree." The entrances of the hobbit holes were initially constructed of painted styrofoam; today they have been identically rebuilt using local timbers. After the success of the first film, they decided it would be better to make them more permanent for the subsequent films. Three versions of the important holes exist. One small one to make Gandalf look large, one large to make the hobbits look small, and now one even larger to make the dwarves in The Hobbit look smaller yet.
The boys seemed to like the tour. Elias had his mind well set to stay as close to the tour guide as possible. I think Elias was mesmerized by his mustache. It was a great place for them to wander around in. All the little foot paths were enough to keep them occupied climbing around Hobbiton.
The tour mostly involved walking around the sets, which were surprisingly large. The hobbit village itself was probably 15 acres or so in size. The views of the village and the surrounding landscapes are impressive. The green of the hills is remarkably vivid. It's hard to capture in pictures, let alone words.
The premier for The Hobbit movie is in Wellington in November, so Liz and I are trying to scheme a way to go.
After the tour Elias got to bottle feed a lamb. Mostly he got slobbered on, but it's all clean fun, right?
Based on my knowledge of hobbits from my reading and now seeing where they live, I'm fairly certain that if they existed, I could easily dominate them and become a sort of supreme leader or demigod in hobbit society. I would rule over them, but in a benevolent dictatorship in which they served my commands and feared my extreme wrath, but also loved and respected me for my wisdom and physical prowess. If that ever happens, I'll be sure to let you know.