So Siobhan and I set off from Auckland having known each other for about 90 mins but its all good she seems a nice girl and we get on and don’t have much of any drama with me map reading and Siobhan driving.
So we pull into Matamata at 14:28 the tour guide is sat outside the booking office I am not sure what this tour is going to be like but anything to do with Lord of the Rings I am sold on so we get into the booking office quick as the next tour leaves at 14:30. Phew just made it.
So we set off with JR who is a typical Kiwi bloke nice as pie and loving what he is doing, so he starts explaining about where the auditions took place, how people were sworn to a clause that they were not allowed to say they were hobbits until the third film was released.
1998 was the year the farm that was and is still used as the tour was discovered by New Line Cinema scouts flying over the farmland. Construction of the site began in March 1999 and was undertaken by the NZ Army
as a road needed to be built into the land that needed to be used. The land that was used is set in 1250 acres of farmland owned by the Alexander family.
The tour is fantastic and if you are a fan of the film you must visit this site as it is the only site left with actual set from the film.
JR the tour guide really made the tour for me his knowledge and love of the place comes across so much in what he is doing you cannot help but love the place. The family have some photos from New Line Cinema which they have used and placed markers in places where major sets and the cast and crew lived you really do get such a feel of what it would have been like when it was a busy place with up to 400 people there filming.
Even now you can look in some areas and you just know what scenes took place there, the amount of work that Peter Jackson put into this is amazing but when you see some of the things that were actually used in the film you really appreciate
the fine details.
There are tree there that are used as Plum trees which the hobbit children play under, The actual trees used were Miniature Apple trees which were stripped and artificially used as Plum trees as the size was correct.
There is a Oak tree which overhangs Bagend this was found nearby in another farmers field in Matamata and this was cut down all 26 tonnes, individually cut into sections and branches brought to the set reassembled and used for about 12 seconds of film, because the leaves died during this process artificial leaves were imported from Taiwan and wired on to the dead tree.
The place is amazing and it is legendary one of the best tours I have done in a very long time, something I will remember forever.
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