Anyone who’s read any of my stuff would have realised I’m besotted with film sets and locations, so while in the north island of New Zealand I couldn’t miss out on Hobbiton, the location used for The Shire in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ movies.
We left the bus that had taken us through the farm belonging to the Alexander family and entered through the gateway. All around us were bumpy hills, colourful doors slotted into their sides, chimneys and little latticed windows popping from their crowns.
It was dark and cool and all outside noise disappeared. ‘You could sleep in here,’ said the woman I’d followed in, ‘there’s just enough room for a mattress.’ I lingered for awhile, breathing in the soft earthiness, until the door was opened by a large man and I had to get out of the way.
At the very top of the hill is Bilbo’s house. It’s a bit more upmarket than the rest, more of a hobbit mansion, Bilbo being the original hero of the piece.
The Green Dragon Inn is an actual pub and a free drink was part of the tour. I ordered a ginger beer and sat at a carved wooden table. Light filtered through pretty latticed windows onto the grey slate floor. Lanterns hung from beams, and the doors and openings between rooms were circular, mirroring the hobbit doors.
Geoff, our lovely New Zealand tour guide, wandered past.
‘Was this area in the film,’ I asked.
‘No,’ he said, ‘the interiors were all done in Wellington. This is a copy but bigger … made for the tourists.’ There was a load of information on the tour about the making of the movies. If you’re into that sort of thing, you’d be over the moon.
I strolled out into the sunshine, thinking how refreshing ginger beer is. I’ve been drinking it ever since.
I couldn’t have asked for a better day, sunshine, a light breeze, for my foray into another time, a Medieval time, a Hobbits and Wizards time. Highly recommended.