Hobbiton special: Inside look at the first ever Summer Harvest Festival at Hobbiton.
As a Waitangi Day special, I decided to post a very special post. An inside look at what happened at the Summer Harvest Festival at Hobbiton. I love The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, and not visiting Hobbiton was just unthinkable. I arrived in New Zealand in August, in the midst of winter. For the past few months, it has been raining and windy, what you would expect from Winter and Spring months. So on a whim, I said to my receptionist, hey I think I will risk it and book myself in for Hobbiton this weekend as we are now in the Summer months. As I went onto their official website to check out prices and offers before searching other online discounts available I came across something AMAZING!!!.
Doing a happy dance……they were having for one Saturday only (the Saturday I was planning on going) a Summer Harvest Festival. Ok ok, you might be thinking ok ermmm what’s so great?. Thing is, you cannot just rock up at Hobbiton and wander around yourself, you have to go on a tour. All of the tours are expensive in my opinion, and well me being me ….I wanted more for my money.
So I shall let my images take you on a little tour of what happened.
Places were limited and so there was a set number of coaches and set departure times. I think in total there were maybe 6 coaches each holding about 30 or so people departing from three locations.Sorry I cannot confirm this as the page has now been removed from the official website. There were only a few seats available from Rotorua when I booked, everything else was sold out. As far as I am aware there was no social media for the event and it was solely only on the official website.
The tour started around 6 pm, so we were able to see the Hobbit holes and all the work that went into creating the set whilst it was still daylight. The tour guide was really funny and had an endless supply of jokes. I particularly loved the joke about the sheep on the farm lining up for auditions and the director saying “ewe” weren’t good enough. Cheesy I know but I like a bit of cheese 🙂
There was more than enough time to enjoy each little Hobbit hole and to take pictures. The guide made sure everyone had a chance to take images and understood why taking pictures was a big part of coming to Hobbiton. As demonstrated on the coach when he asked: How many of you have not seen The Hobbit or Lord of The Rings but just came to make family or friends jealous?. I thought that was a great question and so true. He even offered to take your photo too, which was great as I was on my lonesome.
Can you guess who’s house I am standing in front of?
Here is a clue………. it has a tree on top.
It’s Bilbo Baggin’s House 🙂
From a photographer in training perspective, the tour was made better with the guides knowledge of how certain scenes were taken and why the hobbit holes were different sizes to create the illusion of height difference between Frodo and Gandalf. He told us of a scene in the Hobbit movie, where if you looked closely enough you would notice birds flying backwards in the sky – I never noticed that maybe you know the scene?. He had a real understanding of photography and film which showed as he guided us around. I think he was the son of the farm owner actually as he was very proud and enthusiastic about the making and maintenance of the set.
Would you believe that during filming, someone was actually paid to constantly walk back and forth on the paths to keep the appearance of walked on grass- that’s crazy! I won’t give any other facts away, I will let you find them out yourself on tour :).
By the time we reached the party tree the sun was beginning to set, with a lovely glow over the lake and onto the little village, very picturesque. You could hear the music playing over the water and in the air, the warm and festive atmosphere could be felt even from this distance.
Before we knew it, it was time to head to the Green Dragon.
As I walked over the bridge, it was like the movie set came alive. Music, cheer, an abundance of food and drinks on tap, just what you would expect from Hobbits. When I stepped into the Green Dragon, the table they danced on in the movie was laden with food, and the fire was burning. If you would like to see a video of the food check out my Instagram by clicking on the icon at the bottom of the page.
Walking outside there was more: an endless supply of goodies. Tents filled with treats, including meats, cheeses, fruits, desserts, smoked fish, fruit ….. Drooling at the thought of it all over again. There were even waiters and waitresses with canapes, my belly was stuffed by the end.
I had a ginger beer, but I don’t think it agreed with me as I felt ill for two hours 😦 I am a bit sensitive to loud music and overcrowding so that could be the reason. Needless to say, I did not make the most of the drinks on tap, I only had my one mug of ginger beer.
Between eating and taking pictures, I participated in some of the games they had set up, such as the wheelbarrow race. It was a chance to socialise with other people in the festival and really get into the atmosphere of the night.
I even managed to get a great panning shot! I will do a post on panning images in the future.
As the night closed in the lights turned on, unfortunately, I did not bring my tripod and so all my night images were an epic fail except the one below 😦
Once the party was over at around 10:30 pm we were guided back through the shire holding lanterns to light the way. I really enjoyed the walk back as it looked even more magical and mystical, pictures and words cannot really describe it, you will just have to go and see it for yourself.
Once on the coach, it was time to knock back and sleep, soaking in what an amazing evening I just had at Hobbiton.
I would suggest if you want the full works ( tour, drinks, feast and night tour), you choose a tour from the official Hobbiton website: http://www.hobbitontours.com. If you just want a basic tour of the set and a drink at the inn then look for a discount online such as on http://www.expedia.com and http://www.bookme.com where they pick you up and drop you off to the set.