As we are big Lord of The Rings fans, one of the highlights for Gia and me on our recent trip to New Zealand was the Hobbiton tour. The movie set is in Matamata; it was about 50-minutes’ coach-ride from Rotorua where we were staying.

The Green Dragon

The Green Dragon by the lake

The story we were told was that Peter Jackson had sent scouts around NZ looking for suitable locations for LOTR. The scout arrived at this 1200-acre sheep farm on a Saturday afternoon while the owner was watching rugby on TV. Given permission to take a look, the scout had three principle criteria for Hobbiton: hillside, a large tree and a lake. Apparently, Jackson loved the site so much that he discarded previously shot footage from a dozen sites.

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