“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
Dreams really do come true!
For 15 years I’ve been telling everyone who would listen to me about my desire to visit the real life Middle Earth… New Zealand. As a lifelong Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fan, there was only one top spot on my bucket list and it was firmly reserved for the home of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.
Almost immediately after landing in Auckland International Airport, I was on my way to the rolling green pastures of Matamata where the Alexander family sheep farm has been transformed into Hobbiton. Cue major fangirling!
From re-watching the films and countless hours of behind the scenes footage, I knew that the director of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, Peter Jackson, paid very close attention to Tolkien’s source material in re-creating the world of Middle Earth and specifically the beloved Shire. But, it still blew me away to see real vegetables growing in the gardens and hobbit holes staged as if their tiny owner’s could arrive at any moment. You don’t even need to use your imagination to picture what life in Hobbiton would be like.
It was evident from the very start of my set tour that love and passion was poured into each intricate detail of the 12 acre movie set. Our guide pointed out the locations of famous scenes, described the filming process, and allowed us heaps of time to take photographs.
The last stop on the tour was the world-famous Green Dragon Inn where we were all invited to sample a specially brewed beverage. Of course I chose beer and eagerly found a spot by the fire to soak in the culmination of such a long awaited dream.
Before I knew it, we were being ushered out to make room for the next wave of eager tourists but this was really just the start of my Lord of the Rings adventures. I had more locations on my wish list but for that I had to head South… to Edoras.