Only surviving Lord of the Rings set!
Trip Start Jan 31, 2005
33Trip End Apr 20, 2005
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Hobbiton is actually a family sheep farm located about 15 minutes outside of a very small, little town called Matamata (about an hour northwest of Rotorua). Because of the Tolkien Estate's resistance to allow New Zealand to profit off Tolkien's story, and also because New Line Cinema has a policy of destroying all their sets upon completion of filming, the Hobbiton set is the ONLY surviving set of the 150 sets used for the Lord of the Rings!
Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema 'discovered' this sheep farm while during an aerial search for rolling countryside to create "Middle-earth." The land was perfect because of its rolling hills and because there was already a perfectly symmetrical large pine tree, the "party tree," which was coincidentally already placed in front of a lake.
It took about 9 months to create Middle-earth, and it was all done by the New Zealand Army. Who, incidentally, also played most of the Orcs for the movie. There are about 15,000 sheep on this sheep farm and they did alot to make it into "Hobbiton:"
-->both the mill and the double arch bridge were built out of scaffolding, ply and polystyrene, glued and then painted. it's a fake bridge!
-->the 37 hobbit holes were created with timber, ply and polystyrene and left hollow. they're fake hobbit homes!
-->the cabbage garden was created by all genetically modified and steroidal cabbage to grow big and fast on that soil for the movie set. it was completely unsafe to eat. it was almost fake cabbage! same thing for the corn!
-->barberry hedges and trees were brought in and gardens were unnaturally kept alive throughout the winter for them to film the scenes consistently. they were almost fake plants!
-->sheep were herded and kept away from this set so that they could clean up all the sheep-shit and keep it sheep-shit free.
Anyway, those are just some of the little tidbits that went into creating Hobbiton. As for the surviving set today, the sheep now once again roam freely all over the land. And so everywhere I stepped, I stepped in little sheep-shit pellets. Also, after very long talks with the Tolkien estate and New Line Cinema, they also recently got permission to put up signs and markers to show you how the scenes came alive. The family is still trying to make Hobbiton a permanent tourist attraction and still trying to convince New Line Cinema and the Tolkien Estate into reconstructing Hobbiton back to its original movie state.