It's Hobbit time, we are the Green Dragons newest patrons
Matamata, New Zealand
We have not really slept being soooo excited and all and get to the door for a 9.30am tour costing $75 each.
We are like kids as we board the bus into Alexander Farm where the magic happened first in 1999. It's only a 5 min drive and we are taken by coach. We arrive to the entry point of the Shire and our guide gives us great knowledge of it all during filming and Peter Jackson himself. This was initially, in 1999, an artificial set which was easily disposed of post filming. The success was so huge that the Alexander family had people knocking on doors asking if they could go and see this amazing film set. When Peter Jackson returned a few years later asking to use this perfect setting once more the Alexander's agreed only if permanent features were used to build the set, shockingly it took 2 years for it to be completed to accommodate a mere 12 days of filming but my god Peter Jackson is the most detailed man ever. The tree above Frodos house didn't have the right coloured leaves due to the time frame between him and Bilbo owning Bagend so it took 2 men 4 days to hand paint each leaf to it's required shade - that's only one example of how true Peter Jackson wanted to be to these books, he analysed everything.
We walk through the Shire and it's more beautiful than we imagined. Bagend is at the top of the hill representing the most important members of the community - the Baggins. The Shire has 43 houses erected each with their own permits and sturdy brick and wood features to last 50 years. It's stunning we get loads of pics and poses and yes it is a littlr disappointing we can't enter Bagend due to copy write restrictions but we do enter one house for a snap although there isn't much to see - have to remember it was only used for it's exterior,interior shots were done in the studio at Wellington. We quote the movie like geeks when the guide asks questions and she passes Matt an original leaf from Baggins tree recognising his enthusiasm - he's over the moon!
Our tour brings us to the "party tree" and finishes at the Green Dragon pub which wasn't actually here originally, but, the owners saved the money from profits to build an exact representation. When you enter a drink is included in your ticket price, so we order the cider and sit by the roaring fire spotting original costumes we can wear for free - 10 secs later we are Hobbits in the truest forms and prancing around taking pics - Matt really looks the part! Funny enough noone else in the group partakes - stuff 'em! We are loving it!! Matt has the biggest pork pie ever and Jacq wolfs down a steak and ale pie, all homemade here at the Green Dragon and then the trip is done - we are buzzing and could happily go again, well worth it folks be sure to do it!!
We talk about the trip all day in the car afterwards Matt doing his Gandalf and Sam impressions and then we head drive north parking outside a harbour for a nap before heading off to a free site near the beach.