Spectacular Mangaotaki Rocks - impressive limestone cliff formations - sit on a 690-hectare family farm that is now also a scenic film location.
These soaring cliffs - near the the small farming township of Piopio in the Waitomo district - and the forested hills below formed the backdrop to various scenes in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Farm owners Warrick and Suzie Denize operate Hairy Feet Waitomo tours hosting visitors on a 90-minute tour along the paths that were once frequented by 13 dwarves and a Hobbit.
The area was transformed into Trollshaws Forest, where Gandalf bestows the mighty ‘Sting’ on Bilbo. Radagast’s arrival and the attack of the Wargs and Orcs was also shot there. One part of the track meanders through the site where the Company arrive at destroyed farm house, Staddle Farm.
Piece of Middle-earth
Hairy Feet Waitomo is a recent venture for resident famers and landowners, Warrick and Suzie Denize, who have left the tending of their southern King Country farm in family hands while visitors and Tolkien fans are guided through their personal piece of Middle-earth.
Limited to a maximum of nine people on each tour, Hairy Feet Waitomo gives visitors a personal encounter with some of the film locations, along with stories and anecdotes about the actors and making of the film as experienced by the Denize family.
New Zealand’s newest Hobbit-inspired venture is the culmination of months of hard work for the farmers. Two walking tracks were hand-cut into the ground by Suzie and Warrick, allowing visitors to comfortably walk the same footsteps of the actors around the areas used in the film.
Warrick and Suzie are the third generation of the Denize family to farm the land since it was purchased in 1941. They raise sheep and cattle on green pastures dominated by the looming backdrop of Mangatoaki Rocks - spectacular limestone cliffs that traverse the edge of the property and rise to 80 metres at the highest point.
Unusual smaller rock formations nestled in New Zealand native bush filled with song birds complete the feeling of stepping back in time and into Middle-earth.
Small town Piopio
Hairy Feet Waitomo is based in Piopio, a quaint North Island village that is within easy reach of the ocean, mountains and outdoor adventure options such as caving, surfing, walking and mountain-biking.
Piopio is just south of the famed Waitomo Caves and north of Taranaki’s west coast surf beaches and iconic Mt Taranaki - a near perfect volcanic cone popular with walkers and mountaineers. The region is also a favourite destination for garden visits and mountain-biking.
Close by, Waitomo Caves is one of New Zealand’s most visited natural attractions - an extensive subterranean system of magnificent limestone caverns, swift flowing underground streams and natural lighting provided by millions of glowworms.
Visitors to Waitomo can choose from a variety of activities from gliding across the water by boat to walking, black water rafting, tubing or abseiling through the caves.
Hairy Feet Waitomo opened just ibefore the release of the second movie in The Hobbit Trilogy, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug December 2014.
This new venture adds to the already highly successful The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogy adventures throughout New Zealand’s North and South Islands, and is set to send the Denize family off on their own ‘unexpected journey’.
Background: Hairy Feet Waitomo - Tour information
Tours run twice daily at 10am & 1pm
Tours are personally guided with a mixture of fun and fact delivered with genuine King Country pride
Each tour group is limited to a maximum of 9 people
Walking tracks are well formed gravel tracks over slightly uneven ground
Tours run in all weather and every day except Christmas Day / 25 December