⟪紐西蘭⟫ ⎥ 跟著哈比人的腳步探索夢幻般的夏爾和黑暗籠罩的魔多

2020/11/17閱讀時間約 18 分鐘

New Zealand, Follow the Footprints of Hobbits to Dreamy Shire and Darkness Mordor

Check out the 2 North Island destinations that any “The Lord of the Rings” fan cannot miss

Bag End at Hobbiton Movie Set, home of Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings film, with an inviting green door.
Pre-Test before reading this article:
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to consider the following before you decide to set foot on Middle-earth.
  • Don’t go if you are NOT a fan of Adventure
  • Don’t go if you are NOT a fan of Road Trip
  • Don’t go if you are NOT a fan of Natural Wonders
Ticked for all 3? Great, now, let’s take a glimpse of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world through the lens of the one-and-only Sir Peter Jackson, director of ”The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, ”The Hobbit” trilogy, and the most-anticipated ”The Lord of the Rings” TV show which will premiere on Amazon Prime.
“Farewell. Hold to your purpose. May the blessings of Elves and Men and all free folk go with you.”
— Elrond, ”The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001)

Destination #1 Hobbiton/ Shire

Don’t say you are a true ”The Lord of the Rings” fan if you miss this place, cuz it’s where the film crew created beautiful Shire, with 44 unique hobbit holes scattered across the emerald hills, gardening tools and harvested crops casually laid on the side of Bagshot Row, and a big Party Tree by the pond overlooking this idyllic paradise.
This 70–80 meter tall Party Tree by the pond is the reason Peter Jackson picked Alexander farm as home of Hobbits back in 1998, it matched the description in Tolkien’s book perfectly.
You will be blown away the moment you step foot on this real-life Shire, as those tiny delicate details successfully recreated a comprehensive and picturesque fantasy land.
For example, you will probably notice a big oak tree just above Bag End, and only if you look super close you might realize all leaves are artificial. These fiberglass silk leaves are imported from my home country ”Taiwan”, where workers were hired to hand-painted the 200,000 leaves to make them more real and then wired them one-by-one to the tree. All these efforts were only to be seen for less than 1 minute in the movie.
Can you tell whether the oak tree above Bag End is real or not? Credit goes to the incredible Taiwan team.
The original oak tree was 100% real when ”The Lord of the Rings” was filmed in 2001, but it was dead when the crew began to shoot ”The Hobbit” in 2011, so that’s when the fake tree came in.
While walking around Hobbiton, you may also be wondering whether those vegetables and fruits are real, yes, most of them are real plants, and they are edible too. A team of gardeners is taking good care of them like a hobbit will do. After the tour, you can even taste them in the pastry served in Green Dragon Inn.
You can see seasonal fruits and vegetables everywhere in Hobbiton, and they are NOT props!
Would you like to take a sip of hobbit’s favorite drink, home-made Ale? Just go straight to Green Dragon Inn. During the film shooting, Peter Jackson asked local brewer to create a special beer with less than 1.1% alcohol, as actors have to drink a tone of them during the famous Bilbo’s “eleventy first” birthday party scene. Now you can enjoy the beer exclusively in the inn, a complimentary drink will be served after the tour.
Of course, the beers served in Green Dragon Inn nowadays are a bit different from the ones in the movie, as you can imagine, ale with only 1.1% alcohol may not be tasty, so currently there are 3.7%~5% alcohol version ale, apple cider, and ginger beer for your choosing. Also the local brewer has been changed from Christchurch’s Harrington Brewers to Good George Brewing of Hamilton, probably because the former one was acquired by a Japanese company in 2018.
In the frame is Bywater Hobbit’s favorite Green Dragon Inn. There’s nothing merrier than drinking ale with friends like a good hobbit will do.
And here comes a secret tip to make your Hobbiton tour more fun, that is, COSPLAY! Before your trip, you can either find some local agents with Frodo or Aragorn costumes, or simply order some small props online. I myself chose to bring along a pair of pointed ears to make me more like my favorite character Legolas (which drew a bit attention during the tour).

Destination #2 Tongariro National Park/ Mordor

A big scary eye above mountaintop or tall tower may be a familiar portrayal of villains in many horror movies or video games. In ”The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” (2002), the 2nd film in the LOTR trilogy, dark cloud-surrounded Mordor and one all-seeing red eye on top of Barad-dûr tower built up similar intimidating image effortlessly. After all, only the most evil beings like Dark Lord Sauron would choose to reside in a creepy place like this, right?
Arriving New Zealand’s first national park and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tongariro National Park close to evening, I knew a short walk was more doable before it went completely dark, so I chose the 20-min return Tawhai Falls Walk near State Highway 48. Shortly after, one look in the direction of Mount Ngauruhoe and I shouted with excitement, this is Mount Doom! With the evening tone, the mountain seemed to be showing-off her evil charm to the fullest.
Mount Ngauruhoe (aka Mount Doom) in an evil evening tone near State Highway 48 of North Island
Tawhai Falls can be a nice surprise, you may also know it as Gollum’s Pool, as it was where Gollum’s fish catching scene took place (another shooting location is Mangawhero Falls). The scene captured this funny-looking and skinny creature jumping between the slippery rocks and singing the fish song with pure joy, while Faramir and his archers watched viciously on top.
Guess where was Faramir standing, it’s the hidden refuge Henneth Annûn. There you go, the surprise is that you get two LOTR locations from one easy short walk. Of course, the falls seems much larger comparing to the version in the film and some book illustrations. Given Tawhai Falls is only 13-metre high, the visual effects team had to work their magic once again.
If you love hiking and natural scenery, do consider adding Tongariro Alpine Crossing to your itinerary. It’s a 19.4km one-way journey where you can experience the beautiful national park in full. You may also want to rest at the historic Chateau Tongariro Hotel, it was where the LOTR crew stayed when shooting Mordor scenes.
Tawhai Falls is easy to access on foot, just remember to watch out for the slippery riverbed when taking pictures.
Enjoy the subtropical expedition with Hobbits so far? Hope my article can bring back some lost memories of those epic scenes in the trilogy, and even make you want to book the flight to New Zealand right away!

Reference Materials:
1. The Lord Of The Rings Location Guidebook by Ian Brodie (2011 edition)
(All the characters and location names in this article are linked to LOTR or Tolkien fandom page for detail descriptions)

All the photos in this article were taken by me, welcome to follow my Instagram account here for more. If you like my article, feel free to simply give me a clap below or follow my account. If you are a fellow "Lord of the Rings” fan, leave your comments and share you love for Middle Earth! And remember, you can always give me some “Likes” if you are a Liker on Liker Land.
Neverlandseeker SC
Neverlandseeker SC
在世界各地尋找 Second Star To The Right 的旅行家,有時會因為好萊塢的花花綠綠而分心,努力從兔子的細毛往上爬,希望找到魔術師問對的問題! 歡迎透過個人網站或 FB 聯絡,有悄悄話也可以寫信到 [email protected]~
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