I Saw Hobbits in Matamata

Okay, that’s not true, but I did see lots of hobbit houses. Anyway, you wouldn’t be able to tell one way or the other because I can’t even show you photos to prove that I was there in the first place. As part of the deal to take part in this tour, Lan and I had to sign our lives away promising we wouldn’t spill the beans about anything we learned in Hobbiton. I guess it’s a good rule to follow since we went before The Hobbit debuted in theaters. They just don’t want anyone to spoil the movie magic.

A bus took us from Matamata to the Alexander Farm, the location Peter Jackson used for the Shire. Our guide explained a bit about the movie-making process, including a detailed accounting of how a tree was planted atop the Shire and how the homes and buildings across the lake were made. He talked about the use of sets versus locations and how they made actors look bigger or smaller to fit their roles.

Afterward, we were allowed to wander around the place for a bit and take photos for our own personal use. Perhaps these photos are meant to help us remember our visit should we ever be stricken with dementia or some other type of memory loss. While I’m not a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the tidbits about movie making were interesting. The scenery was definitely stunning as you’re surrounded by rolling green hills for miles.

Once the hobbit tour was over, we watched a sheep shearing demonstration that taught us how the landowners really make their living. Before the hoopla of the movies and the tours that it spurned, the area was used by a family for raising sheep. Sheep are still their main source of income, however, I do believe they’re making a killing off all this movie stuff as well.

As part of the tour, we also got to bottle feed some lambs. I thought they were quite big to still be drinking milk, but what do I know? After overdosing on this cuteness, we got back aboard the bus and returned to the city.

All in all, I’d say this was a great experience and worth the money I had to shell out for it. I really appreciate the film-making process a lot more now, even though all the razzle dazzle is somewhat less shiny now that I know what the tricks are.


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Filed under Attraction, New Zealand, Travel

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