TROLLSHAW FOREST

After Hobbiton it was difficult to imagine anything could be better. But how wrong we were. Trollshaw Forest (Hairy Feet Waitomo) was on the itinerary for day two. It was for sure the dark horse of the tour. Trollshaw Forest is the move location for the scene in the Hobbit (an unexpected journey) when the dwarfs, Bilbo and Gandalf stop and have food in a little house, and the ponies get stolen by the three trolls – the trolls that Sam then refers to as “Bilbos Trolls” in the Lord of The Rings, when Frodo has been stabbed by the Ringwraith.

Its not a location that had even crossed my mind, and I completely overlooked it when flicking through the itinerary. I think it was the same for everyone else on the tour. However, it soon became the majorities favourite. This is where the true Red Carpet Tour began. We were the only group at Trollshaw Forest and it felt like we were VIP. This theme continued for the remaining days of the tour and really makes it stand out from the rest.

The fact we were the only group really made it special. We could take beautiful pictures (that needed zero filtering) without people getting in the way, and we could fully appreciate the surroundings without being or feeling rushed. The people who owned Trollshaw Forest were so friendly and were genuine fans of The Lord of The Rings. This added to the already mesmorising experience. They even had a hobbit cut out made as their logo, with the owners face! I WANT ONE.

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We arrived at the ‘reception’ area, where we watched a video and looked around the souvenirs shop. There we met the owners of the property and heard their story – how they came to be the owners of land used for The Hobbit. We then were taken to the locations and MORE breath taking scenery. We all got into the 4×4’s and gawked out of the windows at the epic landscape surrounding us, full 360 views.

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Once up the steep track we stopped and climbed out to begin the waling tour of the locations where filming took place. We saw all the various areas that were used for filming, and heard all of the stories. We were told how the land was chosen as a filming location, and all the stories that go with it – right from the set building to the current day.

As we walked around it was so easy to see where the scenes had been shot, and they talked us through every step. They even told us about actors they had met. Jealous much! They had some truly brilliant stories, and you could see how much they enjoyed the experience. Which made it even more enjoyable for us to be exploring their land.

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There were cool props we could play with and take pictures with, and print out pictures of the location when the sets were in place. This meant we could see exactly where the set had been and could relate it to the movie. Whether you’re a Hobbit/Lord of The Rings fanatic or not, this place is so tranquil and so beautiful, and I could have stayed all day. There were all kinds of plants and trees, and even wild goats running around. Nature lovers dream. We were all in awe of the backdrop and surrounding views. Even by the end of the trip this was a favourite location to many! Each day of this tour really did get better and better, and theres so many amazing locations left for me to tell you about!

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