Can’t wait for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to come out this December? Tourism New Zealand is offering fans a sneak peek at the Hobbiton movie set with the Hobbiton Movie Set Tours package now open to the public! Check out the press release below for details on the tour that’s only one of 30 different LOTR-themed tours:
Middle-earth tourists grab sneak preview of New Zealand’s Hobbiton Movie Set
ahead of December 2012 launch of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
If you loved The Lord of the Rings trilogy then prepare to be hooked on The Hobbit with two films being released over the next two years. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the first of two films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit from Oscar-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson, will be released on December 14, 2012 in the USA with the second film, “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” slated for the following December.
Hardcore Middle-earth addicts can take advantage of a unique opportunity to head to Hobbiton Movie Set Tours, in New Zealand, ahead of the big screen launch in December.
The Hobbiton Movie Set Tour is now open to the public and is one of over 30 tourist experiences which showcase The Lord of the Rings locations across New Zealand, so it’s possible to live and breathe all things Hobbit for the duration of holiday to the country, and return home an expert on Middle-earth.
Setting the Scene
Back in the late nineties when Peter Jackson saw aerial shots of farmland in Matamata in the North Island of New Zealand, he knew immediately it was perfect for Hobbiton. Site construction began in March 1999 and filming for The Lord of the Rings began at the end of that year.
Once the crew had left and the films were wowing audiences across the globe, the set was first opened to the public in 2002. Film fans flocked to the Hobbiton Movie Set Tour, which attracted 30,000 visitors that year. Up until the set closed again for reconstruction and filming of The Hobbit movies commenced, a whopping 200,000 visitors had experienced Hobbiton Movie Set Tours.
The Hobbiton Movie Set Tours has since reopened and once again Middle-earth tourists can experience its magical rolling green hills, actual Hobbit holes, Green Dragon Inn, Mill and other structures used in the forthcoming films, and share their love for the Shire.
In its picturesque setting on private farmland near Matamata, the fascinating two-hour guided tour is number one on any Bucket List billing.
“Obviously we are delighted that our special place has been used once again in a feature film that will be showcasing the beauty of New Zealand. We look forward to sharing our experience and showing this magical place to many more visitors especially with our new developments at the Green Dragon pub,” said Russell Alexander, of Hobbiton Movie Set Tours.
Visits to Hobbiton Movie Set Tours can be arranged by going to: www.hobbitontours.com – prices start from NZ$66 per adult (approximately $53 US) and NZD$5 (approximately $4 US) per child.
Other Middle-earth tourism experiences
In total there are 30 different tourism products on offer which solely or partly feature The Lord of the Rings locations.
- The North Island’s Taupo region was the filming location for Mordor, Emyn Muil. In The Return of the King, Frodo and Sam climbed Mt Doom while walking the Tongariro crossing, often described as New Zealand’s finest 1-day walk. A challenging walk of 7-8 hours, it takes you past volcanoes, steaming fumaroles, jagged lava flows, the red Crater and Emerald Lakes. www.tongarirocrossing.org.nz
· In the city of Wellington, known to many as ‘Wellywood’ with its flourishing film industry, there’s the Weta Cave (www.wetanz.com/cave) which offers an exclusive insight into the creativity and imagination that goes into crafting the art of Weta. In the mini-museum, you come face to face with some of the characters, props and displays from The Lord of the Rings films. And just outside the city are the forested areas of Mount Victoria used to depict Hobbiton Woods where the hobbits hid from the black riders.
· For a sense of the huge landscapes captured in the films Reid Helicopter tours are hard to beat. Pilot Bill Reid will take you on the tour, stopping off at Mt Olympus and Mt Owen. www.helicoptersnelson.co.nz/
- Queenstown has many activities with themed on The Lord of The Rings. At the gateway to the Fiordland National Park, the township of Te Anau sits at the edge one of the most picturesque lakes in New Zealand which was the base for a number of The Two Towers locations including the Great River Anduin, Fangorn Forest and The Dead Marshes. Milford Sound was the film location for Fangorn Forest, with its beautiful beech trees it’s a stunning place to visit.
· Nomad Safaris Lord of the Rings Wakatipu Basin Tour is the perfect overview of the diverse scenery of the Queenstown/Arrowtown area.The tour offers a glimpse of the film locations of Minas Tirith, Misty Mountains, the Pillars of the Kings (Argonath), the site of Isildur’s fall, and the Ford of Bruinen. You’ll also overlook Deer Park Heights, where the Rohan refugees and the battle with the Wargs were filmed www.nomadsafaris.co.nz
- Near Twizel, in the MacKenzie country the epic battle at Pelennor Field and scenes involving the Eastemnet Gullies were filmed. Twizel lies just down the road from Mt Cook/Aoraki National Park, where the breathtaking opening scenes of The Two Towers were filmed where visitors can take an in depth tour – www.lordoftheringstour.com
For more information about visiting Hobbiton and holidays in New Zealand go to www.newzealand.com
“The Hobbit” follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakensheild. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers.
Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever… Gollum.
Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities… A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is slated to hit theaters on December 14, 2012.
The Hobbit: There and Back Again is slated to hit theaters on December 13, 2013.
The films star Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Richard Armitage, Cate Blanchette, Elijah Wood, Hugo Weaving, Sylvester McCoy, Aidan Turner , Graham McTavish, John Callen, Ken Stott, Mikael Persbrandt, Ryan Gage, Jed Brophy, William Kircher, Stephen Hunter, Ian Holm, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Conan Stevens, Orlando Bloom, Luke Evans, Evangeline Lilly, Barry Humphries and Benedict Cumberbatch.