The sun came out unexpectedly in the early afternoon and we made tracks as quickly as possible to Hobbiton, the filming location of The Shire. It was fantastic! Nestled in rolling hills on a working sheep farm it is a wonderful depiction of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins' home. We learned that it was bulit by Weta Caves with considerable help from the NZ army who built roads and drained a swampy area to create the party grounds (where Bilbo celebrated his 111 birthday). There are 44 hobbit holes, complete with chimneys and various props to give them incredible realism! The pinnacle of the tour was a glimps of Bags End...a large Hobbit hole which was used extensively in the filming of the films. It was a bucolic setting! We folowed a tour for about an hour and then were led to the Green Dragon (the tavern) for a drink. The attention to detail is incredible! The structures are all permanent and are bulit from wood and other durable materials. It was amazing to us that all of this effort went into something that was actually used for a mere12 days of shooting for The Hobbit! The carvings in the Green Dragon are amazing! For me, a LOTR fan, it was wonderful making one feel as if in The Shire for real!