Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: Hobbiton

Imagine the countryside of New Zealand. Rolling meadows, beautiful farmland, green grass and a clear blue sky. Suddenly there are chimneys rising out of hills and little doors leading into the earth. Welcome to Hobbiton, New Zealand.

 Hobbiton New Zealand

Hobbiton, New Zealand

The real name of the town is actually Matamata, which only sounds slightly less weird than the given name of Hobbiton. This is also, maybe, probably, the cause of much enthusiasm about Peter Jackson´s epic movie tale that ultimately lead to the decision to identify the town as Hobbiton via some shiny new signs.


The town formerly known as Matamata


The decision was most likely aided by large amount of tourist currency as the town is the destination of choice for many travel tours with illustrious names like "Hunting Hobbits" or "A long expected journey to New Zealand". Matamata is always a core destinations in these trips swarmed with Lord of the Rings fans. 

The whole area went through a significant transformation turning hordes of sheep, the property of more than a thousand acres used to be a sheep farm, into hordes of tourists. The town features such attractions as peeking into a Hobbit hole and watering your tongue at the local Green Dragon Inn, home and inspiration to many famous Hobbit drinking songs. If you are not into Hobbit activities there is still hunting, trout fishing, hiking and mountain biking.

The really interesting trivia about the place is that a lot was actually artifically made just for the movies. The old oak tree overlooking the town was imported, piece by piece, and reassembled. The leaves are artificial and supplied by Taiwans industrious workforce. The base of the town took nine months of moving earth and was done by the New Zealand army and the props and interior design used mainly plywood and styrofoam.


Made in Taiwan


After the filming of Lord of the Rings was complete nothing remained of the props except for the outer structure of the Hobbit holes and the big oak tree only to be rebuilt in full for the filming of the Hobbit.
This time the redesign is permanent and you can experience the full movie fantasy through a visit.