We left Rotorua and headed west to Matamata. Originally just one of those pleasant, horsey country towns you drove through until Peter Jackson’s epic film trilogy Lord of the Rings put it on the map. (During the filming 300 locals got work as extras).
More specifically the Alexander family sheep farm aka Hobbiton.
The Hobbiton movie set was made with temporary materials for the filming of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. After completion the set was torn down. When the set was rebuilt for the Hobbit trilogy in 2009 it was done so with permanent materials. The Alexander family (owner’s of the farm) requested this in order to have a lasting legacy and to give the opportunity to hundreds of thousands of people to see the “magic” of the Shire. The entire reconstruction process took 2 years. The filming of the Hobbit trilogy, in comparison, was completed in just 12 days. (Although at peak over 400 people were on site)
The set is extremely detailed. It is as if Hobbits were still living here. (They have 5 full time gardeners)
On to part 2…