Jetty and Mill at Hobbiton

Jetty and Mill at Hobbiton

The Water is my favourite part of the Hobbiton Movie Set at Matamata. This is right in front of the Green Dragon pub where the tour comes to an end. It gives you a chance to take your time getting photos like this without having to keep up with the rest of your tour group. In the foreground is a little jetty with a fishing rod. The hobbit who was fishing here must have just popped into the pub for a quick one. In the background is the double-arched stone bridge on the left and the Hobbiton mill. Most of the hobbit holes and on the hill behind the water and out of frame to the right of this scene.

Bag End at Hobbiton

Bag End at Hobbiton

Of the 44 hobbit holes on the Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, this is by far the most iconic. Peter Jackson said “It felt as if you could open the circular green door of Bag End and find Bilbo Baggins inside.” It certainly feels that way as we went past on the tour. Sadly you can’t go inside Bag End or even get your photo taken sat on Bilbo’s seat. The huge oak tree towering over Bag End is fake. Made from fibreglass. It weighs 26 tonnes and has 200,000 artificial silk leaves that were imported from Taiwan. Director Peter Jackson thought the shade of leaves wasn’t right and so had them all repainted by hand. It took 15 hours of work per day for 10 continuous days, all for a prop that was only on screen for 10 seconds!

Low cloud over South Waikato

Low cloud over South Waikato

Sometimes you need to pull over to the side of the road. Especially in New Zealand when you see a lookout sign. Even more so around dawn or dusk. This is an early morning landscape. Looking west towards Raglan from the Valley lookout on State Highway 23. I was driving over the hills east towards Hamilton. Then on to Matamata, the home of Hobbitan for the 8:30am first tour of the day. This meant an early start for the 90 minute drive from my Air BnB in Raglan. This landscape might turn out to be one of my favourites of the day. Certainly my best landscape of the Waikato area of New Zealand’s North Island.

Bridal Veil Falls

The North Island’s highest waterfall. It got its name because it looks like a bridal veil. This is a tricky one to show the size but its nearly 200 feet high. If you look very closely at the top of the waterfall there is a man in a red jacket looking over the top of the falls. If I had to recommend visiting only one waterfall in New Zealand’s North Island, this would be it. The walk around the falls starts near the top and takes you down many flights of stairs to the large pool at its base. There are about 4 different lookouts from various heights along the waterfalls drop.