Published: August 15th 2010August 15th 2010
Yup, that is me, in front of a hobbit house, re-established for next block-buster
So there I was, in hostel in Whakatane (the 'wh' is the 'f' sound and it really sounds like 'f@ck-a-tawny') pouring over a map to plot my next move.....and I saw 'hobbittown' in the countryside between Tauranga and Rotorua. I figured I could drive along the coast of the Bay of Plenty then jig south to pop in on my way to Waitomo's famous limestone caves with glow worms. The advertisements indicated that the movie set was 90% removed but you could see the mounds and some white round wooden doors.
There was yet another rain storm coming the next day, and despite local advice not to drive far I set off along the coast. Bit frustrating cause you rarely see the sea from highway, and soon I entered Tauranga, a popular coastal resort town. I had lunch and decided to press on.
When I got to Matamata, there was the typical touristy signs about Hobbittown. I went to the information office and was shocked that it cost $64 to visit the site. What? to see some mounds of dirt? Aaaah, but no.....the site was being rebuilt for Peter Jackson's next movie, the Hobbit. Hmmmm, sounds intriguing...and yes, this is my
This town is all geared up for the incoming Lord of Ring fans. Bit hokey....but pay the money to get to secret location
holiday....coming to an end soon.....O.K. sell me the ticket and give me the directions cause I have my own car.
I had to sign a confidentiality form, so I will be sparing with details and photos. Let's just say that it was a thrill touring the site, watching builders and gardeners revive and increase Hobbit town. For all of you tourists that have visited the site over the last few years to see a bunch of mounds and some round wooden doors...I hope they didn't charge you $64! I'm sure you heard about all the coincidences (name of actual road) and the pain-staking adherence to detail, but you surely missed the thrill of a nearly complete movie set! Go back! Go back now, before they start the movie.
I took tons of photos, so when I get back I can show you.
Moving on....where have I been? I left Rotorua and drove to Whakatane for a night (yup, scarey narrow roads on cliff some of the way), then drove to Tauranga, then Matamata and ended up in TeAwaputu. Next day went to Waitomo to see glow worm caves (don't waste your time going there) then stopped over at Otaura. Then
Site is buzzing with builders and gardeners. Ask me when you see me for all the inside scoops.
visited mountain-top sanctuary, Mangutatautari and then proceded back to Auckland to return rental car. No time for lengthy descriptions....just a few photos to blast through these places.
There are more photos below