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There and back again

After a short bus ride (one does not simply walk into Hobbiton), your tour guide mentions a few rules. Basically, don't wander off, as the fence is electric.

Seriously.

Check out A Photo Tour of Hobbiton for the full story.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Hobbiton!

In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit...

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Where do you want to go?

There's lots to see (and I saw a lot). It's actually quite big, for a film set.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Paths and tourists

It's quite the destination, with a few thousand people visiting per day during peak season.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Detail

I wasn't sure what to expect with this tour, but I was pleasantly surprised how much detail there was. They really went all out. It didn't feel at all like the remnants of a film set; more like an active film set or a real place.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Holes by the dozens

I didn't take pictures of them all, but there are a lot of hobbit holes here.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Someone home?

They did a great job making many of the holes seemed lived in (including smoke curling from a few chimneys).

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Holes for different hobbits

They made them different sizes, so they could use them for different types of shots and different characters.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Hungry?

Hobbits love their food, though probably not this exact "food."

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Well-tended gardens

Everything is beautifully maintained.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Hobbit bees

So realistic, the flowers have bees! Man, Peter Jackson thought of everything.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Bag End and the tree

The lovely Bag End, and the tree as seen in "The Hobbit."

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Real wood!

Doesn't seem like enough wood for a whole town. Do hobbits have smaller fires?

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Extras

They built these spare hobbit holes over the hill from Hobbiton, just in case they needed them. They didn't.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Scenic

It helps that the surrounding area, beyond the confines of Hobbiton, is beautiful, too.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Aren't you...

Turns out, I'm a bit large to be a hobbit.

Photo by: Edith Putt

Mmmm...

Warm bread, just sitting out.

Granted, it's warm plastic bread...

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Not a tree

In order to make a tree look 60 years younger than the one in the first movie, this one was built. Apparently after they finished attaching all the leaves, they had to take a break from filming. When they came back, the leaves had faded. So they painted each leaf. Thousands and thousands of them.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

View from the hill

Headed up the hill towards Bag End.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Tree and Green

The party tree on the left (more on this later), and the Green Dragon Inn in the distance (ditto).

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Up the hill

The approach to the most famous hobbit hole of them all.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Bag End

The legendary Bag End.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

No admittance!

You can get that sign as a poster. Had I thought it would have survived my trip, I totally would have bought one. Guess I'll need to order it when I get home.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

An open door

Sadly, the inside of Bag End was a set. Just a bit of space inside here so actors can walk in and out.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Quite a view

Bag End has quite a view. Definitely the best-situated hobbit hole.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The view 2

From Bag End toward the Green Dragon. I could live here.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The back of Bag End

As you continue over the slope, turns out Bilbo has a close neighbor. The Gaffer?

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Path signs

There are a bunch of these all over, which is a great way to find your way around. They help add to the overall feeling that it's all a real place.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Hobbity...

Check out all the little details.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The party field and tree

The field where they had Bilbo's party at the beginning of "The Lord of the Rings."

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The party field

It was much smaller than I expected. Though I guess Hobbits are rather small...

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Party tree

The tree where Bilbo gives his speech.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

From the party field

The view from the party field, out across the lake towards the Green Dragon Inn.
Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Down the path

The party field is to the left in the photo, and the hobbit hole with the yellow door is to the right of the camera. Bag End is directly behind.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Yellow door

Another recognizable hobbit hole. Sam's, I believe?

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs

On to the Green Dragon.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

One last look

So long, Bag End.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Traditional

Ah, an old fashioned, original, security camera.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

A cask of?

Hobbits do love their ale.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Over the bridge

The Green Dragon Inn is a short walk from Bag End (another bonus for living there).

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Not functional

As gorgeous and "lifelike" as it looks, the mill doesn't actually work.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The Green Dragon Inn

It's an actual pub -- you can get food and everything. Here's an article about the special beers you can get. One beer is included in the price of admission.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Order up?

The beer I chose, a stout, was quite good, actually.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Real fire

Despite being quite warm outside under some brutal summer sun, a real fire was going in the hearth.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Dining

I didn't have a chance to try the food, but it looked good.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Festive

It's the little touches, I thought, that make the whole thing special, like the decorations here.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Lovely lake

It's all as lovely as it looks in the movies, which is impressive since in real life most movie sets definitely do not.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

One more...

One last hobbit hole. They put them everywhere.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Matamata

The nearby town of Matamata loves the tourism, and like all of New Zealand, has totally gotten into the LotR/Hobbit spirit.

Check out the full story, A photo tour of Hobbiton.

Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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