'Rogue sightings' of Hobbits

The Hobbit film crew – due in Marlborough next month – is flying under the radar during filming in the Tasman region.

The crew has been filming on 80 hectares of privately-owned land at Canaan Downs, where the Luminate Festival is held, and on surrounding Department of Conservation land.

David Hall, who lives on the Takaka Hill, said he had not seen or heard much other than helicopters and more vehicles on the road than usual.

"It's all sort of tucked away out of sight," he said.

The crew has been filming, via helicopter, around the Pelorus River and Mt Owen.

It was understood they were also filming near the coast in Golden Bay.

Rex Bowden, a chef at The Wholemeal Cafe, said he recently served a table of four "hobbits".

He said they came in for lunch, but he did not know if they were cast or film crew members.

"I didn't recognise any of them, but one looked a bit `hobbity'," he said.

Motueka i-Site staff member Elise Vollweiler said there had been "rogue sightings of hobbits" in the area, but she had not seen anything herself.

"I don't know where they're hiding," she said.

A scene from the first of two Hobbit movies from Sir Peter Jackson is to be shot near the Pelorus Bridge, 60 kilometres west of Blenheim, over 10 days next month.

The Marlborough Express