I found it! Hobbit-town

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August 15th 2010
Published: August 15th 2010
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Found It!!Found It!!Found It!!

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
Movie SetMovie SetMovie Set

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.

Additional photos below
Photos: 23, Displayed: 23



This one is complete

The Shire....developing in front on my eyes
Hell's GateHell's Gate
Hell's Gate

On the edge of Rotorua. Sometimes the town has steam coming out of drain holes in streets. Unnerving. Who'd want to live here permanently?

Drive to the coast has those tricky roads, but here is a calm photo along the way
Whakatane Whakatane

Streets boxed in by river and this hill. Note, to get to beach you had to take the road that ran UP this hill.

River beside Whakatane
Big BeachBig Beach
Big Beach

On other side of hill, lovely beach

Cook landed near Whakatane

Didn't stay long enough to appreciate this town, had Hobbit holes to find

Growing on trees
Glow worms in CavesGlow worms in Caves
Glow worms in Caves

No cameras allowed inside, but this is poster of what we saw. Still....don't waste your money

On mountain-top
Fence of safetyFence of safety
Fence of safety

Keeps predators out, lets birds increase in number
Lovely ForestLovely Forest
Lovely Forest

Great hike through here
More infoMore info
More info

Click on photo to enlarge view
Lucky BirdLucky Bird
Lucky Bird

Five of them had peanuts to share

Beautiful countryside at Ohaupo

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