Posted By Kathleen David on October 23, 2009
In which the David family visited a farm that has a lot of meaning to them even though they had never been there.
Yesterday we went to Matamata and then to the Alexander sheep farm. What makes this farm so unique is that they filmed most of the exterior of the Shire there for the Lord of the Rings movies. Yes, we visited Bag End. It was very beautiful. I could see why it sang as the Shire for Mr. Jackson.
The ride there was interesting. We went through some of the major dairy area so there were lots of cows to look at as well as tons of sheep. Caroline took a bit of a nap but she was ready to go once we got to Matamata. The ride out to the farm didn’t take long and our guide did a good job of giving us the short history of the property.
They have the tour of the grounds set up perfectly. You start from the good views and gradually work your way to the magnificent views. Our guide was great about giving us lots of trivia about the filming of the movie. Also warned us to watch our step for two reasons, it was easy to make a misstep if you were backing up for a great picture and the sheep were in that paddock so you had little sheep droppings all over the place along with a lot of sheep.
When we got to the exterior of Bag End, the view looking out was as amazing as it was in the films. I got lots of pictures of everything there but I really liked the party tree which was next to the lake. I felt totally at peace on top of that hill looking out over the area where they created the Shire. Caroline loved popping in and out of the hobbit holes that were OK for her to do so. She loved Bag End. It was all her size.
If they have gotten the word on whether they are doing the Hobbit, they are keeping it close to the vest and considering what the NDA (non-disclosure agreement) says and the consequences of what happens if someone lets something slip (like a number of people who lost their jobs during the filming of LoTR), I don’t blame them. I will say that I saw a bunch of new trees planted in the area and some new stonework that had gone up recently that didn’t make any farm sense. I also hope that they do use that lovely area for the next movie.
After the tour, we watching sheep being sheered this time with electric sheers rather than the old manual ones. Then Caroline got to feed some young lambs which was the highlight of her day. She named the little one she was feed Nanabell which the farm hand though was a delightful name.
The ride back was a bit of an adventure and not the good kind. The company had forgotten to book us on the last leg of the journey from Hamilton back to Auckland so they scrambled to get us back rather than having us stranded in Hamilton. Another company stepped in and got us back about an hour and half later than we should have arrived so Peter went to the cocktail party for the convention a bit late while I settled Caroline down for the evening. Even with that glitch, it was a lovely day and well worth the drive out.
Today the convention starts so we have all that to look forward to because this one is the size of DragonCon in one space.
I am grateful that we went and walked around the Shire.