The rainy day in Rotorua continued for much of the morning. This was a blessing in that we needed some downtime to just relax and not do anything for a bit. It was going to clear in the afternoon, so the kids and I thought this would be a great time to visit the hobbits! Eric’s interest in people is directly proportional to their relation to him or how much shorter they are then him, and given that hobbits are on the low end of both, hold little fascination for him. He chose to stay in town and go for a swim at the aquatic center.
After a bit of a drive we found our way on the Hobbiton set. One of the things that’s amazed me about NZ is how little things are commercialized to the way they are in the States. I mean, if this set was in the US, there’d be some sort of big theme park around it and multiple ways for them to sell you things. Here, there’s a small car park, little cabin like building, smallish gift shop and … That’s it. You board a bus to take you to the set and the gate to enter isn’t even mechanized. The tour guide has to hop out of the bus, open it, wait for the bus to pass, then close it and hop in! A stupid bit of detail but it’s things like that which fascinate me sometimes.
Onto the hobbits!
The set is really lovely, I have to say, and you feel like you’ve been dropped into the Shire from all angles. Given that it had just rained, everything was green and misty. They take care to keep everything as it was and real – the gardens are actually growing vegetables. I could see Frodo and Sam walking through the space, and Gandalf riding in, and the big party under the magnificent tree.
The set is just the exterior fronts – you can’t actually see into Bag End as that was all filmed on a set. The only Americanized thing I would have liked for them to do would be to pipe in some of the soundtrack music as you walk around. As it was, some of the other people on the tour whistled and hummed it the entire way for us.
After that it was home and some tasty Indian takeaway. TV here is a bit limited where we’ve been staying so the kids are getting a new education in prime time offerings. They’re loving the Australian version of The Voice, and are hoping to catch the next episode to follow along!