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There and back again

Hobbiton!

Where do you want to go?

Paths and tourists

Detail

Holes by the dozens

Someone home?

Holes for different hobbits

Hungry?

Well-tended gardens

Hobbit bees

Bag End and the tree

Real wood!

Extras

Scenic

Aren't you...

Mmmm...

Not a tree

View from the hill

Tree and Green

Up the hill

Bag End

No admittance!

An open door

Quite a view

The view 2

The back of Bag End

Path signs

Hobbity...

The party field and tree

The party field

Party tree

From the party field

Down the path

Yellow door

Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs

One last look

Traditional

A cask of?

Over the bridge

Not functional

The Green Dragon Inn

Order up?

Real fire

Dining

Festive

Lovely lake

One more...

Matamata

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Everything is beautifully maintained.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Edith Putt

Warm bread, just sitting out.

Granted, it's warm plastic bread...

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Headed up the hill towards Bag End.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The legendary Bag End.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Check out all the little details.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The tree where Bilbo gives his speech.

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

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

On to the Green Dragon.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

So long, Bag End.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Ah, an old fashioned, original, security camera.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Hobbits do love their ale.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

One last hobbit hole. They put them everywhere.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
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