Hardcore Middle-earth addicts can take advantage of a unique opportunity to head to Hobbiton Movie Set Tours in New Zealand, ahead of the big screen launch in December.
The Hobbiton Movie Set Tour is now open to the public and is one of over 30 tourist experiences which showcase “The Lord of the Rings” locations across New Zealand, so it’s possible to live and breathe all things Hobbit for the duration of a holiday to the country, and return home an expert on Middle-earth.
Back in the late ‘90s when Peter Jackson saw aerial shots of farmland in Matamata on the North Island of New Zealand, he knew immediately it was perfect for Hobbiton. Site construction began in March 1999 and filming for “The Lord of the Rings” began at the end of that year.
Once the crew had left and the films were wowing audiences across the globe, the set was first opened to the public in 2002. Film fans flocked to the Hobbiton Movie Set Tour, which attracted 30,000 visitors that year. Up until the set closed again for reconstruction and filming of “The Hobbit” movies commenced, a whopping 200,000 visitors had experienced Hobbiton Movie Set Tours.
The Hobbiton Movie Set Tours has since reopened and once again Middle-earth tourists can experience its magical rolling green hills, actual Hobbit holes, Green Dragon Inn, Mill and other structures used in the forthcoming films, and share their love for the Shire.
In its picturesque setting on private farmland near Matamata, the fascinating two-hour guided tour is number one on any Bucket List billing.
“Obviously we are delighted that our special place has been used once again in a feature film that will be showcasing the beauty of New Zealand. We look forward to sharing our experience and showing this magical place to many more visitors, especially with our new developments at the Green Dragon pub,”said Russell Alexander of Hobbiton Movie Set Tours.
Visits to Hobbiton Movie Set Tours can be arranged by going to: www.hobbitontours.com – prices start from NZD$66 per adult (approximately $53 CAD) and NZD$5 (about $4 CAD) per child.
Other Middle-earth tourism experiences
In total there are 30 different tourism products on offer, which solely or partly feature “The Lord of the Rings” locations.
- The North Island’s Taupo region was the filming location for Mordor, Emyn Muil. In “The Return of the King,” Frodo and Sam climbed Mount Doom while walking the Tongariro crossing, often described as New Zealand’s finest one-day walk. A challenging walk of seven-eight hours, it takes you past volcanoes, steaming fumaroles, jagged lava flows, the Red Crater and Emerald Lakes. www.tongarirocrossing.org.nz
- In the city of Wellington, known to many as “Wellywood” with its flourishing film industry, there’s the Weta Cave (www.wetanz.com/cave), which offers an exclusive insight into the creativity and imagination that goes into crafting the art of Weta. In the mini-museum, you come face to face with some of the characters, props and displays from “The Lord of the Rings” films. And just outside the city are the forested areas of Mount Victoria used to depict Hobbiton Woods where the hobbits hid from the black riders.
- For a sense of the huge landscapes captured in the films Reid Helicopter tours are hard to beat. Pilot Bill Reid will take you on the tour, stopping off at Mount Olympus and Mount Owen. www.helicoptersnelson.co.nz/lord-of-the-rings-guided-helicopter-tours/
- Queenstown has many activities with themed on “The Lord of the Rings.” At the gateway to the Fiordland National Park, the township of Te Anau sits at the edge one of the most picturesque lakes in New Zealand which was the base for a number of “The Two Towers” locations including the Great River Anduin, Fangorn Forest and The Dead Marshes. Milford Sound was the film location for Fangorn Forest; with its beautiful beech trees it’s a stunning place to visit.
Nomad Safaris Lord of the Rings Wakatipu Basin Tour is the perfectoverview of the diverse scenery of the Queenstown/Arrowtown area. The tour offers a glimpse of the film locations of Minas Tirith, Misty Mountains, the Pillars of the Kings (Argonath), the site of Isildur's fall, and the Ford of Bruinen. You'll also overlook Deer Park Heights, where the Rohan refugees and the battle with the Wargs were filmed. www.nomadsafaris.co.nz
- Near Twizel, in the MacKenzie country, the epic battle at Pelennor Field and scenes involving the Eastemnet Gullies were filmed. Twizel lies just down the road from Mount Cook/Aoraki National Park, where the breathtaking opening scenes of “The Two Towers” were filmed, where visitors can take an in depth tour. www.lordoftheringstour.com
For more information about visiting Hobbiton and holidays in New Zealand go to www.newzealand.com.