Hobbit NZ tour 'special'
Rubbing shoulders with Peter Jackson, mingling with Hollywood actors and visiting The Hobbit filming locations was a once-in-a-lifetime chance two men could not pass up.
Hobbit fans Zac Mennen and Brett Butt, both of Melbourne, were spotted at the Tin Goose Cafe in Alexandra on Wednesday as part of a "Middle-earth" Red Carpet Tour of New Zealand with 109 others.
As part of the two-week tour, the group attended the world movie premiere of The Hobbit in Wellington, met Peter Jackson and Hobbit actors including Elijah Wood, visited Weta Workshop and have been getting behind the scene tours of filming locations across the country.
They were "big" Lord of the Rings fans throughout their teen years and said the tour was something "very special".
The tour group, which filled three tour buses, attracted people from the United States, Australia, Germany and Malaysia.
While "it wasn't cheap" to take part in the tour, with a single ticket costing $6500, it had been worth every cent to be able to visit and see the set of The Hobbit "in full glory", Mr Butt said.
"Going to the real set and seeing Hobbiton has been the icing on the cake." And the "spiffy hotels" they were staying in was also a bonus, he said.
Tour managing director Vic James said the business was launched 10 years ago and started with a Lord Of The Rings tour in 2012.
The Southland Times