Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Carlson Honeymoon! Volume II: New Zealand Cruise, Part VI: Tauranga


On November 30th Josh and I got off the Noordam, hopped on a bus, and took a 90 minute ride to... The middle of nowhere! Literally! These beautiful rolling hills are part of a huge family sheep farm.

Before Peter Jackson began filming LOTR he went looking for a place to build Hobbiton. His wife grew up in the area and knew that it had the potential to be what he was looking for. Peter Jackson took a helicopter ride over the area and saw a huge tree next to a pond. Because of this, he was sold! He approached the owners and made a deal. Rumor has it that the farmers were about to chop down the tree for fire wood before Peter Jackson showed up. Luckily, it got postponed and the tree next to the pond is the reason why Peter chose this location!

Peter Jackson, with the help of the Army and some very creative people at Weta, turned this farmers land into Hobbiton. After the movie was done filming, most of the land was returned to its original condition. Due to the mess it would make, a few props were left in place.

After the huge success of the movies, people started to scour New Zealand for sites that the movies were filmed at. People found the farm and the farmer started letting people onto his property to see where the film was shot and to see the props that were left behind. 

When Peter Jackson decided to make the Hobbit movies he again approached the farmer. They made a deal to built Hobbiton (bigger and better then before) and after the movie was done filming the set would be left exactly how it was.

And that brings us to today!

We arrived at the Hobbiton Visitor Center where a tour guide jumped on our bus and then the driver drove us to the movie set. You can not go to the movie set on your own. It is way too busy and the way they keep the flow is by having everyone on a tour.

We drove through a gate and through the farmers property on a dirt road. We arrived at a parking lot and jumped off the bus. We gathered around while our tour guide told us a little about the movie set. She then took us around the corner where we saw this:

Holy crap! There was like a million people there! Ok not really... 

Hobbiton was AMAZING! I could not believe that I was actually there! The area was huge and there was so much to see!

[The path where Bilbo ran out of Hobbiton yelling, "I'm going on an adventure!"]

There were Hobbit holes everywhere! Our tour guide told us that there were over 40 of them and each one was unique. Peter Jackson was a perfectionist and teeny tiny details were put into everything even if the hole was going to be seen for 0.005 seconds in the movie.

The doors were also different sizes according to where they were going to be filmed from. This one is super small!

[I love the little bee hive boxes and the jars of honey!]

[It's okay, we were allowed to play with these props]

[The famous tree]

[The tree and the pond]

We zigzagged through the movie set and climbed higher and higher towards Bag End!

Before we got to the Green Door of Bag End we stopped by this hole were we were allowed to go inside and take pictures. There was nothing in there but we did take a cute picture!

Finally we arrived at Bag End and I could not contain my excitement!


There was nothing inside. All the interior shots were done at a studio in Wellington. Our tour guide told us that she had a lady on one of her tours that cried when she found out they couldn't go into Bag End.

[Super cute and tiny Hobbit hole]

After taking our pictures with Bag End we went down the hill to the area where they had Bilbo's 111th Birthday Party!

[Sam's house]

We went and saw Sam's house before walking over to the Green Dragon and the Mill.

[The Hobbiton Mill]

When we got to the Green Dragon we were given apple cider, a scone, and a brownie! Super delicious!

After we ate we went inside the Green Dragon.

The pub was perfect! Everything about it was in keeping with the movies! I loved it!

[There were electric fences put up all around the movie set so the sheep couldn't get in]

We were allowed to hang out at the Green Dragon for a few minutes before our tour guide called us back outside. We then walked along the pond and back to the bus. I was so sad to leave. It was so much better then I thought it would be. I had no idea the movie set was so huge and so well taken care of!

A few minutes later we were cruising back to Visitor Center. They let us go inside for a few minutes so that we could buy some souvineers. I wanted to buy everything! But I knew that our bags were already heavy so I only bought a pin. 

On the way home the bus driver took us to see the ocean. 

[New Zealand Christmas Tree. See the red flowers? In December the whole tree blossoms and turns bright red]

Once we were back on the ship we went to a New Zealand BBQ which was up on deck! Of course, there was delicious food and desserts!

After dinner we went downstairs to the Sports Bar to see if any games were on. That's when I saw the announcement that Kobe was retiring. I wasn't shocked. I knew that he wouldn't retire because he was injured. He wanted to go out on his own terms. It's time. I'm going to miss him though!

[Sea turtle!]

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