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Archive for the ‘Tours’ Category

Sheep Farming in Hobbiton

HobbitonFor those of you who have been lucky enough to visit the Hobbiton set (like me!), you know how magical it is to wander among the well-tended gardens and Hobbit-home facades, to rest in the shade of the magnificent party tree, and to enjoy a pint at the Green Dragon Inn. However, as most of us are aware, the Hobbiton set is surrounded by a 560 hectare (approximately 1,400 acre) working sheep and cattle farm owned and operated by the Alexander family. recently recounted a bit of the history of the Hobbiton and how Hobbit holes and sheep continue to coexist nicely in a quiet corner of the New Zealand countryside:

“Right alongside the tourism business is their sheep and beef operation, on probably the country’s most-visited farm. While not many of the tourists see the whole farm, the stock is still very much in the public eye, meaning Craig [Alexander] has to be strategic in where he farms stock because of the occasional gate left open by an unsuspecting tourist. Hobbiton is also ring-fenced with paddocks for stock on either side. “If we’re driving a mob of 1500-2000 ewes down the main track and there is a [tourist] bus going through that can be pretty frustrating.”

While the farm is family-owned and operated, Hobbiton is a 50/50 partnership between the family and Peter Jackson. “Today, the tourism venture has about 70 permanent staff and twice that number over the busy summer season. It’s given the Matamata district a huge boost in earnings and the region is now thriving.”

Read the full article here.

Posted in Director news, Hobbit Movie, Locations Sets, Locations Sets, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, LotR Production, New Zealand, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, Tours

Help us Thank the entire cast & crew of ‘All Six Middle-earth Films’

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe at want you all to join us in saying a proper ‘Fond Farewell’ and heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to all the hard working Cast and Crew of all six of the Middle-earth films. There will be a giant ‘Thank You’ card at our planned “The One Last party: There and Back Again” event on February 21, 2015 in Hollywood. We’ve done this before, back at the Return of the One Party in 2004, so we know how to do big cards.

Now we know that not everyone can join us at ‘The One Last Party” so we have a special Perk on our Indiegogo campaign just for you. In fact, every single Perk level includes your name on the card, but we did create the lowest level Perk just for those who can’t attend, but would like to be included in this special ‘one of a kind’ Thank you greeting. The images here are from 2004, but they give you an idea of what to expect from this year’s Epic card. And for those who do attend the party, you will have the opportunity to personalize your greeting a little bit more at the party. This ‘Thank You’ card will either be given to, or sent down to New Zealand to be delivered to Peter Jackson.



For the past decade and a half, Peter Jackson, his amazing cast and the equally amazing crew have handcrafted these magnificent cinematic representations of Middle-earth for all of us to enjoy. Along the way, we have created a vibrant fan community where we can be found chatting on the message boards, meeting up at theater Line Parties, attending conventions together, making pilgrimages to New Zealand, and attending Oscar parties. We are a very social fandom who celebrates both the creative and academic side of Middle-earth, where you can find people displaying amazing costume designs right next to people who can recite and translate all of Tolkien’s Elvish poetry, and each can call the other ‘friend’. So while we want to thank Peter and the rest of the cast and crew for making films we can all enjoy, we especially want to thank them for the much more important Fan Community that has been thriving in big cities and tiny little towns all around the world since 2001.

Please join us in sending out our thanks by supporting our campaign for The One Last Party: There and Back Again, or sharing it far and wide with all your friends and family. Let’s all enjoy each other’s company #OneLastTime.



Join us in Los Angeles in February at The One Last Party

one last party logo We’re hosting a Party of Special Magnificence next February — a toast to all SIX movies, both LOTR trilogy and The Hobbit.

Visit our Indiegogo campaign page to grab your tickets and help make it happen — so we can all celebrate Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth movies together!

Posted in Events, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, J.R.R. Tolkien, Line Party, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Meet Ups, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, New Zealand, Old Oscar Party News, Oscar Parties, Peter Jackson, Return of the King, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The One Last Party, The One Last Party, The Two Towers, Tolkien, Tours

Travel Channel Special on Trip Flip: A Hobbit Adventure in Middle-earth

Travel Channel Hobbit Trip FlipOn an hour-long episode of Trip Flip, host Bert Kreischer surprises an adrenaline-loving couple with the trip of a lifetime to the adventure capital of the world, New Zealand.


Posted in New Zealand, Other Events, Television, The Hobbit, Tours

Hobbit Fan Contest: Queenstown, gateway to Middle-earth adventure

NOTE: Click on any of the photos and then click again to see a much larger version. We think most of these are worth the clicks.

_MG_0928_smallYou can smell it in the air and see it in the water and there is just no disputing that Queenstown, New Zealand is a special place. The Hobbit Fan Contest winners left some pretty amazing experiences at Rotorua and especially Hobbiton Movie Set to climb on a plane at head to the south island of the two-island nation.

More than one fan wondered aloud, “How can they rest of the trip possibly live up to this?” And then Queenstown worked its charms. The area is heavily saturated with Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film lore. And while there was always tourism for the majestic Southern Alps and the Remarkables set around a ski resort town that also happens to be the gateway of the world, there will long be an impact there from the six episodes of Middle-earth Peter Jackson delivered. (more…)

Posted in Contests, Events, Fans, Hobbit Fan Contest, Hobbit Movie, LotR Movies, MrCere in New Zealand, New Zealand, Orlando Bloom, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tours

A magical day at Hobbiton Movie Set features new ‘The Battle of the Five Armies’ trailer

Fireworks2HOBBITON — A visit to Hobbiton Movie Set for winners of the Hobbit Fan Contest had, all-in-all, a pretty amazing day — and then they saw the trailer.

For readers who don’t know, the shooting set for exteriors of the Shire in Hobbit trilogy is preserved for visitors on the farm where it was originally used for the “Lord of the Rings,” films. It provides a fully immersive environment that fans worldwide agree is singularly special and it runs tours daily.

So besIt also didn’t hurt that actors Jed Brophy, John Callen, Mark Hadlow and Stephen Hunter surprised visitors at a feast inside the full-service eatery on site: The Green Dragon. Nor did the flowing drink, the plentiful food, the expertly guided tours, but what else can be done to delight 150 of the most die-hard fans in the world?

Have Peter Jackson, by way of recorded video, introduce the just-finished, and last, trailer for “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” It brought the house down.

DwarvesIn the very Hobbity party tent behind The Green Dragon all the gathered fans and media were clearly and repeatedly instructed to turn off our cameras so it was obvious something different was happening. Even the most honored guests, the actors were placed in the front but looking forward with the audience.

Matthew Dravitzki, an Associate Producer on the trilogy and a key figure behind Jackson’s team who usually escapes the spotlight, spoke to the fans and introduced the video. He also required that we viewers not share the details, especially the specifics, so you will not read them here. But I think its okay if I say, it’s serious as a heart attack, gloomy as a storm front and as epic as battle of five armies.

And wow, do my fingers itch to type more.

Afterwards the groups of fans, split up for logistical purposes and took the new (to me) night tour around the set. Under the party tree the groups gathered to finally end a pretty amazing day. In fact, it may be difficult to match during the rest of the trip. To say fans were ecstatic is no exaggeration. There were, at several points, tears of joy and disbelief.

GondolaThe day started in the rain at the Skyline Rotorua. Fans and reporters were generously offered the opportunity to enjoy various activities that included wine tasting, a zip line, a luge and a skyswing. Then it was off to the movie set for a day that was absolutely packed.

TORn interviewed the four actors together in a group with hilarious results. We will post it at a later date, depending on how quickly we get the video and quickly I can possibly post it but it’s great fan service from four classy New Zealand gentlemen.

The owner of the sheep and cattle farm the set sits on and his son who run it, Ian and Russel Alaexander, were on hand for interviews as well. TORn didn’t catch up with them, but plenty of media outlets did. In the late afternoon, in the guise of introducing The Green Dragon, fans were led into the room where the actors and executives were enjoying dinner and where media was stationed to grab reactions. As anticipated, tears where shed, hugs were shared and memories were made. Staff working on the event expressed a lot of tender emotions while watching fans enjoy the surprise so much.

I was pleased to have time to mix and mingle with fans — and I met a lot of them and enjoyed it every time. Before long it was trailer time. Despite this group’s appointment this week to screen the actual film with director Peter Jackson, the trailer announcement was greeted with great excitement.

Dravitzki promised a triple showing and delivered. All three times fans hushed each other at the start, not wanting to miss any dialog.

Then it was outdoors for the night tour when fireworks were triggered. Then, off to buses and tomorrow, Queenstown.

Posted in Events, Fans, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jed Brophy, John Callen, Mark Hadlow, Meet Ups, MrCere in New Zealand, New Zealand, Peter Jackson, Stephen Hunter, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tours

15 Day Journey Through Middle-earth with Bruce Hopkins (Gamling)

gbhFeel like taking a 15 day journey through Middle-earth with the former commander of the armies of Rohan?  Well now you can :)  Bruce is leading tours of Middle-earth for a local tour company, you can check out all the details on his Facebook page.



Posted in Bruce Hopkins, Fans, Headlines, Lord of the Rings, LotR Cast News, LotR Movies, Meet Ups, New Zealand, Tours

‘Take a Flight’ through the filming locations of Middle-earth

undoubtedly the dream of many a Tolkien fan to set foot in Hobbiton – or, really, any of the countless other locales you will find in The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films.
Many have, in fact, traveled to the beautiful country of New Zealand to do just that. However, not all of us have had the opportunity (or means) to travel and see Middle-earth for ourselves. To illustrate just what awaits us across the globe, has just the solution. (more…)

Posted in Fans, Hobbit Movie, Locations Sets, LotR Movies, LotR Production, Miscellaneous, New Zealand, Peter Jackson, Production, Tours

Hobbit tours build on a decade of successful adventure

Red Carpet's Premiere Tour group dressed up for their Hobbiton visit

Red Carpet’s Premiere Tour group dressed up for their Hobbiton visit

Red Carpet is steadily adding new locations into its tours in the light of the new Hobbit movie, says director Vic James.

“We’re pretty excited because since the Unexpected Journey came out, we’ve been able to add new sites and new people,” James says. “We visit landowners and check out new locations on a regular basis, as information and invitations come to hand.

“The Premiere Tour last November was the first to visit some of the new places and when the time is right for further landowners to allow visits, we will add them in.”

The north island leg of the tour includes, as before, Hobbiton and the central volcanic plateau that served as Mt Doom. A new feature are some rapids where the dwarves’ more hair-raising barrel-riding scenes were filmed.

The ‘top’ of the South Island is a beautiful addition to the tour, James says.  Nelson, with its sunny bay ringed by mountains,  is reached by a ferry cruise through the beautiful fjords of Marlborough Sounds. There’s a stop along the way at Pelorus Bridge, scene of Bilbo and the dwarves’ barrel-riding adventures.

Red Carpet’s LOTR tours always include visits to extras, artisans, actors and crew members for the films. Halfdan Hansen, son of the real-life Ringmaker for LOTR, has  his studio in Nelson and has created a new version of the Ring, invisibly weighted with some denser metal so that it lies strangely heavy on the palm of the hand.

In Nelson there is also the option to take a two-and-a-half hour helicopter flight to Dimrill Dale and South of Rivendell.  The flights have been a huge success with tour guests.

Olympus Rocks - a place to hide from the spies of Saruman

Olympus Rocks – a place to hide from the spies of Saruman

To accommodate the extra locations, tours are now 14 days duration. People can also choose to join the North Island 6 day or the South Island 10 day options. “It’s a long way to come to not see it all,” James says.

Posted in Events, Fans, Locations Sets, New Zealand, Community, Tours

Getting to know Peter Kenny

Tolkien shopWelcome to the latest “Getting to know…” questions that need answering. Based on the old Getting to know you threads that I used to post on the message boards here on TORn, so those familiar with them will know that the questions can be a little crazy and the answers even crazier.

This month we’re asking questions of uber fan from Brisbane Australia, Peter Kenny.

Hi Peter and thank you for joining in :)

Kelvarhin:  What piece of Tolkien ephemera began your collection?

Peter: My very first Tolkien Book was a single volume paperback edition of The Lord of the Rings given to me as a gift in 1976. I still have that original copy in my collection.


Posted in Collectibles, Conventions, Creations, Events, Exhibits, Fans, Film Screenings, Green Books, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lectures & Education, Locations Sets, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Meet Ups, New Zealand, Oscar Parties, Other Merchandise, Other Tolkien books, Premieres, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The One Expected Party, Community, Tolkien, Tours, Toys, Wellington

NZ tourism surge coincides with The Hobbit

New Zealand is expected to see a surge in tourism following the release of The Hobbit movie.

Travel websites have reported a significant growth this month in searches and bookings to the country following the launch of the JRR Tolkien-inspired film.

The flight search website Skyscanner reported a 102 per cent increase in worldwide flight searches to New Zealand this month compared to December 2011, including a 117 per cent rise in searches to Wellington, the country’s capital city.

The travel booking website Expedia had an 84 per cent increase in flight bookings to the country in December.

Bookings for New Zealand in 2012 went up by 30 per cent last month for hotel booking website, with a 100 per cent rise in bookings for the small town of Matamata alone, where much of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and its prequel were filmed.

[Read More]

Posted in New Zealand, The Hobbit, Tours

Ever wonder what it was like to be in New Zealand during Hobbit Premiere Week?

Many fans traveled to New Zealand from around the world in the days and weeks leading up to the Premiere, just to be there on that fateful day. One such person is Dr. Lynnette Porter, author of a new book “The Hobbit: The many lives of Bilbo, Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin” (review forthcoming) and previously a speaker at one of TORn’s Lord of the Rings related conventions. She has just posted an in-depth article on why so many Tolkien fans flock to New Zealand and just what made Premiere week so special. You can check out her article at Popmatters to read about ‘What happens when Humans go a-Hobbiting’.

And for those wondering, it is likely that will mount another tour of New Zealand, but whether that is in conjunction with a Premiere or not is still to be determined. Wellington would first need to secure one of the two remaining film’s World Premiere to justify the level of activities they hosted this time around. But then, the locations are always there, and if not a tour, a Cruise to Middle-earth is a very relaxing way to see such a delightful and beautiful country. Keep an eye out, we will post something if the omens look favorable.

Posted in Fans, Hobbit Movie, Locations Sets, Meet Ups, New Zealand, Premieres, The Hobbit, Tours, Wellington

Exclusive video: can one simply walk into Mordor?

“One does not simply walk into Mordor.” It’s one of the classic catchphrases from Lord of the Rings. But is it true?

To celebrate the release of The Hobbit this month, Kerry Shawcross and Chris Demarais, two members of Rooster Teeth Productions (the creators of the acclaimed machinima series Red vs Blue*, as well as Immersion, and Achievement Hunter), decided to find out for themselves. They’ve set themselves the task to complete in just six days the 120+ mile journey across New Zealand from the filming location of Hobbiton in Matamata to that of Mount Doom on Mount Ngauruhoe. (more…)

Posted in Creations, Elijah Wood, Fans, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, New Zealand, Tours