Monday, 18 March 2019

Natural Hobbitat

There are quicker ways to get from Thames to our next stop, Rotorua, but we're not going to take them because we want to visit a special, mystical, some may say magical place, inhabited by small creatures with strange furry feet. Not kiwis, or possum... but Hobbits.

We're not massive nerds, though in the interests of openness I do have to disclose that I belonged to the Dungeons And Dragons Club at school, but I was only 12 and it's better than trainspotting or brass-rubbing*. Anyway, we're definitely not sci-fi/fantasy geeks, but we have seen The Lord Of The Rings films and thought it might be worth a trip to the film set. When Peter Jackson was looking for a location for his Hobbits to live in, he was shown a sheep farm inland on the North Island and decided it was perfect. 20 years and 4 films later, Hobbiton is now a major tourist attraction.

We boarded a coach next to the souvenir shop, having opted not to buy a couple of Magic Elf Cloaks at £450 each...

...and we're driven a short distance before dis-embarking at the gates to the village. A short walk took us to one of the cutest scenes we'd ever seen.

Lots of brightly painted hobbit hole doors, little front gardens, some with fishing gear, or bread stalls, clothes lines with little hobbit shirts and trousers drying, apple trees with plums attached to them (because Tolkien's books demanded plum trees, but they were too big, so some creativity was needed) and even an entirely fake tree on top of one of the hobbit holes which had thousands of silk leaves attached to it (which had been sprayed the exact colour Jackson needed for his films). It looked as real as the natural trees - the attention to detail was mind-boggling. There were small doors which Gandalf would have been filmed in front of to make him look really tall and large doors to make the Hobbits look small. I enjoyed standing in front of small doors so I looked like some of my weird freakishly tall mates, rather than the "normal" height I actually am!

Our tour finished in The Green Dragon Pub, where we enjoyed a nice amber ale - this was, disappointingly, not called "Beer-bo Baggins" - missed opportunity there I think. Then it was back to the souvenir shop and another chance to buy Eye Of Sauron Oven Gloves, Gary Lineker Comedy Ears, or Furry Feet.

* Another disclaimer - I may actually have tried both trainspotting and brass rubbing as a kid too.

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