After our exciting adventure, we drove for another hour to reach Matamata to check out one of the scenes from the Lord of the Rings – the Shire. We signed up for a guided tour and we were quickly amused by the beautiful scenery of the Shire.
When Peter Jackson was scouting for a place to film the Shire, he was on a helicopter and a massive tree caught his attention. This tree stood in the middle of a field and was the perfect party tree described in the Lord of the Rings book (as shown below)
Peter Jackson negotiated a deal with the Alexander family, the owner of the land, to allow him to build the entire set for the Lord of the Rings. The deal was to take down the set after the filming was concluded. Since the area is quite remote to major route access, Peter Jackson managed to have the New Zealand army to build roads for him in order to transport the cast, crew, amd building supplies.
After the conclusion of the Lord of the Rings, the crews were taking down the set on the request of the Alexander family. However, in 2006, Peter Jackson decided to film The Hobbit and required the scenes of the Shire again. The crew had to stop in the middle of a tear-down, and had to re-build what was destroyed in order to replicate the movie scene. Unlike Lord of the Rings which took 3 months to film, the Hobbit only needed 12 days.
I can also tell you that there is nothing inside the hobbit hole. The interiors are just rubbles.
At the end, we were able to have beer (provided by the tour) and had a “carriage ride”.
On the same day, we drove for 1.5 hours to reach Rotorua and called it a day.