Day 35 on the Road
A Tour of a Hobbit Filming Location in Piopio
Today we are joining Hairy Feet Waitomo for a tour of The Hobbit Filming Location! It’s Day 35’s activity out of 365 Days: 365 Activities!
Today we are delving into Middle-earth once again. This is the single real-life New Zealand location that had the most screen time in The Hobbit trilogy.
We’re not even halfway down the North Island yet, but on this journey today we are going further south than we have ever been on this trip. This is very noteworthy moment. Almost like that scene in The Lord of the Rings where Sam’s like: “This will have been the furthest I’ve ever been from The Shire, Mr Frodo.” And then Frodo’s like: “Aw, for fuck sake’ Sam.” And then they fall over and roll around in the mushrooms after that. [Idiotic laughing]. That’s not what happens to us today.
So in Piopio, there is something called Hairy Feet Waitomo, which is the real location where some of The Hobbit have been filmed.
There’s these really ancient-looking milk cartons that horses pull in their horse and carts and then there’s a little replica small bushman’s shelter on the side, which is like set up as it would have been back in the day with the bunk beds and the tin soups, I guess, that they would have had. Before we have even go to the main attraction there’s just like a few little bits here and there to look at and instantly like I’m getting good vibes about this place. I’m like: “Oh yeah, this person has thought of everything.”
And then you go inside the shop and then inside the shop there is a lot of second-hand toys too which is pretty awesome – all obviously Lord of the Rings themed. there is a lot of collectibles, like those toys from Burger King that were released when the movies were released. There is a couple of German guys that are going to be doing the tour with us. And one German guy is called Rico and the other one is called Joe. So the first thing that Suzie doing, which Suzie is going to be our host at Hairy Feet Waitomo for today, is giving us some props and say go in the field and go have fun. So we have some swords and we’re like going into battle and it’s pretty impressive the power that a couple of props have because honestly, I’m holding the sword right here and I’m straight away in character. I’m pulling faces like RAAARRRRRR. You just give me a sword and just we all into it. Like Joe is about to slay his path through victory to go save the princess and Rico is ready to battle him death so he doesn’t pass.
Suzie is showing us a little slideshow that she made kind of like retrace from the day that Peter Jackson flew his helicopter above the location and said this is the guy I want to the days when they finish the shooting. We head to the van and Suzie is driving us all the way up very close to the cliff where we are going to do a little tour.
It took them months create this whole set to get all the costumes up there to make the gravel road to get people up o the outdoor sets to film these six minutes of footage, it took them months and months and months and we get to see some of the process, how they made the set and what the whole place looked like. Obviously while they were filming, Suzie who was there herself was taking photos of the behind the scenes like all the trucks that were there while they were filming. it brought hundreds of people to the area to help film these six minutes of footage which is incredible.
Now the first few places where we arrive Suzie is showing us on a little binder showing us pictures from the movie then we can see that this is the scene and we take a pictures and we reenact a few scenes, you get Rico and Joe who are so into it like Yeah yeah we want to do it!So all of a sudden the scenery instantly changes we are in this thick forest but also some of those elements of the limestone rocks and one of which is actually instantly recognisable as the part in the Trollshaw forest scenes where Bilbo finds Sting the sword and then they exit a cave, this is where Gandalf gives the sword to Bilbo. So in this cave she kind of like places us properly to redo this scene where he is unveiling Sting and oh this is the sword I’m going to use to slay all those orcs. She really gives you the right position on the hands and this and that to get this picture perfect. It’s really really amazing. Beside it are some fossils of giant clams, Suzie even has a few shells to put next to the fossil to show exactly which shell it is. Literally, five steps down the track into the forest we come across another scene from The Hobbit where we first see Radagast The Brown for the first time. Something that is new to this little location compared to the other one is that on the floor we get to see the marks that the actors were using to know where to position themselves during the scene. Literally another two steps down the track there’s the scene where the wargs and the orcs attack the Company for the first time so we then see the screenshots of Thorin kneeling down like “holy shit” while the wargs are about to attack them. I mean it’s impressive how this location has so many different scenery happening and I can really feel while they picked this location because there is so much going on in this little forest. We probably walked for something like half an hour, right, and we stop many times along the way because the tour took two hours but we walked about half an hour there were enough for them to shoot eight scenes. It’s pretty impressive.
Before we head back into the shop she’s keen to show us Polly and Coppy which are two tame sheep that have been bottle fed by her and when they see here they just come lolloping up to her. I never realised that sheep can act like dogs but these sheep are like dogs.
So we are staying at the POP in Piopio which is basically Park Over Property. That is how to make a meal out of parking. I wondered what the hell you were doing you had the whole space you could have parked anywhere and you just like… It’s like Mr Bean.