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Matamata, New Zealand Land of Hobbits, Dwarves and other Fantastical Creatures
The rolling green hills of Matamata in the North Island of New Zealand seem to be the perfect choice for the movies because of its undulating emerald pastoral fields. Sir Peter Jackson, director of The Lord of the Rings trilogy is said to have ‘scoured’ a vast expanse of New Zealand and was so impressed by this peaceful slice of Middle-earth which he chose for the filming.
The Hobbiton Movie Set, also called The Shire, is a well-maintained farm where structures like hobbit homes were built from long-lasting materials to withstand time. Blossoms of red, yellow and pink flowers protrude from low-lying green foliage and over hang from higher lofty verdant bushes.
Wheelbarrows of various sizes stand by hobbit homes; some filled with marrows, pumpkins and sacks of vegetables. Mature trees line the sides of the hillocks with large bracts, branches and massive roots. It is amazing how true to character the Hobbiton set is with the books
My family and I had a long walk through the farm in the rain which poured on a temperate summer’s day. We got wet but our spirits were high, following our guide through the hills, knolls and ridges. Unlike the main protagonist, Bilbo Baggins who had an unexpected journey, ours was anticipated and relished as we walked along the path of the horse-drawn carriage of Gandalf the Wizard and Bilbo Baggins the scared little hobbit.
The hobbit homes we came across indicated various types of occupation including a black smiths and a carpenter, with their small tools of trade arranged methodically outside their homes. J.R.R Tolkien the author of the Hobbit and Lord of the Ring books described a hobbit home as ‘a hole in the ground’ that these small, peaceful creatures live in.
Two hours and thirty nine hobbit holes later we were done with our tramp through the Shire. We were parched and treated to a glass of apple cider, ale or ginger beer at the thatched-roofed Green Dragon Inn. We drank our apple cider quickly as we gazed in the dark, shadowy inn where Bilbo Baggins meet the dwarves had sat, drinking ale while planning their journey. We thanked our guide with much appreciation and good cheer as we boarded our bus. This walking tour was every bit as interesting as I thought it would be and I look forward to going again next time I visit New Zealand.
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