In the heart of New Zealand's north island you will find rolling, grassy hills, bleating sheep, and small, round, colorful doors. This is Hobbiton.
When Peter Jackson and his crew began looking for a location to film the shire, they flew in a helicopter to get a bird's eye view of the perfect spot. When they found the Alexander family sheep farm, they asked the family to sign a contract without releasing what movie they were filming. The Alexander family said yes, and the nine month construction began for The Lord of The Ring's set.
For The Lord of The Ring's films they built a simpler version of the shire and agreed to destroy the set after filming. Most was torn down, but a storm did prevent the crew from demolishing every door. When New Line Cinema decided to make The Hobbit movies, they came back to the Alexander farm and asked once again to use their land. The family agreed, but asked that this time they build more realistic, sturdy hobbit homes, and they also requested to keep the set up after filming.
See that mold splattering the fence behind us? It takes a lot of time to grow, time that the set designers didn't have. So what was the solution? Mixing blue and green paint with oatmeal and spraying the fence. Now that's clever.
Here's a hobbit garden with scarecrow. Below you can see the pathway by the large lake that leads to the Green Dragon Inn. I couldn't get enough of the little chimneys that dotted the green hills.
Bilbo's home. Remember that scene of Bilbo and Gandalf sitting on the front porch in The Fellowship of The Ring? It was shot to make it look like the sun was setting in front of them. Here's the problem, the sun sets behind his home. Solution? They filmed at sunrise and shot the dialogue backwards. Basically the end of the conversation was filmed at the break of dawn and the beginning of the conversation was filmed when the sun was higher. The overall scene is convincing, it looks like the perfect sunset.
That tree above the home is completely fake. They created the enormous plant, placed it next to Bilbo's home, and then Peter Jackson decided he didn't like the leaf color. Solution? They repainted every single leaf to a have a greener hue!
Every detail is incredible. Piles of firewood, little windows, handmade quilts, and clotheslines with hanging hobbit clothes all added to the charm of the village.
We got to enter this hobbit home, but I'm afraid I have bad news. There's nothing inside. Whenever you see a character enter into a hobbit home they're actually entering a studio in Wellington (New Zealand's captial).
Here's the inside shot. Dirt and rock floor, not much more. Although there was some cool pottery in the window.
Sam and Rosie's home. Yellow door, surrounding wildflowers, and a horseshoe fence latch. This was my favorite hobbit part of Hobbiton. I kept replaying the very end of Return of The King in my head. Here's a clip from Youtube of the scene. If you go to 2:30 you'll see Sam and Rosie enter the home carrying their two adorable children.
I have to admit I got a little thrill opening the gate and skipping over to their door!
Past The Shire and over the bridge you'll find The Green Dragon Inn. In The Fellowship of The Ring there's a scene where The Green Dragon burns in Frodo's dream. The building was actually set on fire and destroyed. When they came back to film The Hobbit, the inn was rebuilt and is now a functioning pub.
You shall not pass!
I know that was a lot of pictures, but I'm guessing that if you made it to here you probably enjoyed them. Thanks for stopping by. I think I need to go have second breakfast before starting a Lord Of The Ring's Marathon :)