Finding Aragorn in Hobbiton | Matamata, New Zealand

“The weekend saw me on somebody else’s passenger seat. It is a wonder how suddenly, people who seemed to have been around forever, start to see and treat you differently the very moment you tell the world you are single.” -excerpt from my journal, November 2010

The road trip to Matamata took place on a Sunday, the starting point being a cabin in Waingaro Hot Springs. The previous day was spent in Hamilton’s Lake Rotorua and Botanical Gardens. It wasn’t the first road trip I took with the neighbors, but it sure felt like it was.

For one, the passenger seat was saved for me by the one guy I have never really gotten along with. It was odd, considering that a.) I just broke up with a boyfriend got rid of junk and b.) I was perfectly fine with it, nobody has to make me feel any better.

The drive was around an hour and a half long. The sun was out and the roads were empty. I was snapping away lomographs of daily life– business signage, electrical wires, lamp posts, haystacks when we drove past a couple of hitchhikers holding out placards that said Hobbiton. But I wasn’t the driver and the driver was indifferent. He found it pathetic when I found it amusing. At that point, I asked myself if it was worth hanging out with, as my cosmic friends would say, “mortals”.

Admittedly, I found it hard to survive conventional relationships. I prided myself with madness; with an aura screaming like the colors in a cross-processed photograph. Case in point: we were on our way to the very materialization of one of my favorite pieces of literature. It was so special for me. Sacred, even. But everyone in the van, the driver included, saw it as an excursion; as a chance to take a picture beside a life-sized Orlando Bloom.

But admittedly too, I sort of cared. So even in the face of all contradictions, I still was willing to see it through.

When we reached the roundabout to the Hobbiton Movie Set Tourist Farm, I asked him to pull over. Garbed in 3-inches high platform wedges, a high-waisted mini skirt and a fascinator along with the rest of my ensemble, I braved the noonday sun to pose for a photograph under the farm signage. Note that this signage was in a middle of a roundabout in a busy motorway. Everybody applauded my guts but couldn’t muster the same themselves. Then the unthinkable happened: Mr. Indifferent walked my way and joined for another photograph.

I knew then that (my) madness, muchness have indeed commanded some sort of gravity.

When we reached the Shire’s Rest Cafe, we found out that the bus tour inside the farm actually cost a little fortune. Fairly so, it was quite pricey for an “excursion” so the rest of gang bowed out. But because it was a Bucket List item for me, I willingly shelled out some bucks for the fee and signed a waiver that said I wasn’t allowed to upload anything from the set itself to Facebook. There were other conditions, but I only cared about the misfortune of not being able to send upload it to Facebook. gah.

Mr. Indifferent, as it turned out, wanted to take the tour too. But because It would seem suspicious if we go by ourselves, we tagged along another friend, for whom he offered to pay.

True to its name, Hobbiton Tourist Farm, was indeed, A FARM. Around us were fully operating sheep and cow farms.  There were patches of green that seemed never-ending.

The whole time, I had to follow the herd of tourists in my wedges, thank you very much. We were led to Middle Earth, and from memory, identified which house belonged to whom. I recalled the landmarks from the movie and the book: the bends, the roads, the gardens and the porches. A Scottish boy from my tour group queried the guide several times for inconsistencies with the details of the actual set from the books. The tour guide tried her best to answer at first but later on conceded and admitted that she only watched the movies but didn’t read the books.

After the tour on the hobbit villages, we all gathered around the Party Tree and talked more on the cinematography side of things. We also identified the distant mountain ranges and in which parts of the movies did those appear. The guide also gave us an idea of how a large part of the movie was only actually in done in Peter Jackson’s studio in Wellington.

At that stage, my inner nerd was in full attention, unconscious that indirectly, I was giving somebody a crash course on the things that I’m interested in: Geek Stuff.

The good thing with “him” was that he wasn’t totally clueless. He was smart in fact. He just didn’t have the circle and influences that I have had. Towards the end of the tour though, he admitted that he liked Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory, which was a plus for me. We were still very different with each other, but I said to myself I could hold on that for a start.



N.B. The constant usage of nerd/dork/geek aims to stress out how scholarly I find those JRR Tolkien pieces; that knowledge of those has the potential to, in a way or another, revolutionize the ways of the world. (yeah right, gibberish.:P)

Published by Rain Campanilla

Born under the star of Sagittarius, the centaur of adventure; and in the year of the Rat, the ever curious--- Travel is my birthright.

6 thoughts on “Finding Aragorn in Hobbiton | Matamata, New Zealand”

  1. Mhe-anne Ojeda says:

    Hobbiton and Matamata are part of the Hamilton conference I am attending. glad to seea Pinay perspective.

    1. rain amantiad says:

      the downer was that, you can’t post pictures taken inside the actual film loc. bummer 🙁

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