Posted by: Frame To Frame - Bob and Jean | March 8, 2017

Hobbiton – Our walk through the Shire

Hobbiton – Our walk through the Shire


Way before Bob and I decided to go to New Zealand, I held close to my heart the idea of one day visiting Hobbiton.  When we viewed the movie, The Hobbit, I fell in love with the whimsical Hobbit Holes that Bilbo Baggins and Frodo called home.  The dome-shaped dwellings captured the imagination of my inner child, and the seemingly utopian bucolic lifestyle struck a chord with me.


Of course the allure of fantastical creatures and magic was also fun to contemplate, but it is the pretext on which the Tolkien books are based and the clear underlying message that resonates with me.  The idea that one must always have hope, foster optimism, show courage against all odds, and embrace adventure are concepts that speak to me on a personal level.


It is impossible to visit Hobbiton without embracing the fantasy world that Director Sir Peter Jackson brought to life from pages of the books by author J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, also called There and Back Again, and


it was easy to see why Peter Jackson chose the Alexander farm for the production of his movies.  Near Matamata on the North Island of New Zealand, the acreage not only includes lush green rolling hills, but remarkably there are no power lines, roads or modern-day trappings to mar the idyllic landscape.  It was the perfect place to bring to life The Shire.


But first we had to get there.  Chris, the proprietor at our lodgings, Panorama Country Homestay in Rotorua, phoned ahead and booked our tickets for a 10 o’clock tour.  An easy hours’ drive through the scenic countryside put us at the Hobbiton Visitor Centre…


where we boarded a bus to convey us through the scenic pastureland of the Alexander property to the valley of Hobbiton.


My anticipation had me as giddy as a child and was helped along by the movie’s musical score pumping from the sound system along with interspersed details about how the Alexander farm had been discovered through an aerial search for just such an appropriate location.  The short ride brought us to a small parking lot.


Just as Frodo’s adventure began when he exuberantly ran from Hobbiton along Gandalf’s Cutting,


so our adventure began by entering Middle Earth along that same narrow footpath.  The passage revealed nothing of what was in store until we broke free of the close stone walls.


And then we were there, in The Shire.  I was bubbling over with joy because, even at a glance, I knew that Hobbiton was everything I had hoped it would be.  Directly in front of us, a crude wooden signpost planted firmly next to a tidy garden plot pointed the way to East Farthing, West Farthing and Tuck Borough.


A turn to either side revealed a couple of Hobbit Holes neatly tucked into the hillocks bordering the village path, each with a different coloured round wooden door.


Facing us dead ahead was a network of lanes that wend their way through orchards, over stiles, through a woodlot, by the frog pond, across a gully and up The Hill…


where two huge trees stand sentinel over the quiet village below.


In all, forty-four Hobbit Holes peak out of the undulating emerald hillsides on the Alexander farm transforming a 12-acre section into the centre of Middle Earth.


Even the fertile pastures of sheep and cattle surrounding Hobbiton blend seamlessly with the humble rural lifestyle of the Hobbits.  Though we were attached to a tour group of 25 people or so, we were not obligated to keep up with the group but could linger at will to admire each individual Hobbit Hole.  And there was much to appreciate!


Known as a smial or Hobbit burrow, each was a luxurious underground dwelling. As described in a quote by J.R.R. Tolkien, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”


In the movies, cozy rooms populated with interesting fixtures are portrayed within each Hobbit Hole, and although we checked to see if some of the Hobbits were home, we found each interior was no more than a narrow shell albeit sometimes used for storage or with a modest piece of Hobbit-sized furniture still in place.

Visit Hobbiton – Our walk through the Shire in New Zealand for the full post.

Frame To Frame

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