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Date: 20/11/2012

Hobbits in New Zealand - the launch of the 2nd Trilogy approaches

New Zealand has become synonymous with Middle Earth as imagined by the author J R R Tolkien. Thanks to the overwhelming success of Peter Jackson's epic film dramatisation of the Lord of the Rings trilogy tourists are flocking to the country to see for themselves the fabulous and fantastical locations used in the films.

Now New Zealand tourism is set for a further boost with the imminent release of the first film in The Hobbit Trilogy, "An Unexpected Journey". Set in a time before the Lord of the Rings, this prequel follows the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, a home-loving hobbit who sets out on a quest to help the dwarves recover their lost kingdom, stolen by the dragon Smaug.

With many of the actors from the Lord of the Rings reprising their roles, some of the locations will also be reappearing in the new film. Tourists are currently drawn to the farm at Matamata on the North Island where Jackson built his famous 'Hobbiton' set. Become a hobbit for the day on a guided tour of the various hobbit houses and perhaps even stop for a drink at the Green Dragon pub!

The Waihou Redwoods are another location used in filming along with nearby Putaruru. Further to the south, the capital city, Wellington is the home of Jackson's famous Weta Workshop where many of the costumes and special effects were devised. Tourists are welcomed at the Weta Cave to view some of the props used in the film and buy artefacts such as the Key to Erebor.

Cheap Travel Insurance

Numerous companies have grown up on the island offering tours of the locations used in the films, but the canny traveller will make big savings by doing a little research before travelling and then going it alone. Search the internet for cheap flights and source your own cheap travel insurance rather than paying tour operator's inflated prices. Once you have the basics in place, why not rent a motorhome in New Zealand? This gives you the freedom to draw up your own itinerary and spend as long at each destination as you wish.

Above all, don't forget your camera! You will want to show off the photographs of you emerging from a hobbit's house set in the hillside. If the Weta Cave merchandise excited you enough, you can bring home your very own handwritten, hand-stitched copy of Bilbo Baggins' contract too, to amaze your friends and family!