Dunedin matches Hobbiton

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins at a Hyde St party in Dunedin. Digitally enhanced photo / Otago Daily Times
Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins at a Hyde St party in Dunedin. Digitally enhanced photo / Otago Daily Times

Tolkien-obsessed New Zealand fans don't have to go far to experience the kind of weather inhabitants of Hobbiton would enjoy.

A UK climate scientist has developed a weather model of Middle Earth, finding Dunedin's climate matches the fictional but famous Shire in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit books.

The hot and dry conditions of Alice Springs were deemed similar to Mordor, where evil overlord Sauron dwells.

Dr Dan Lunt at Bristol University fed detailed maps of the fictional country drawn up by author J.R.R. Tolkien into a supercomputer.

He found Dunedin was among the places with a weather pattern most like the beloved Shire hobbits Bilbo and Frodo Baggins leave behind on their adventures.

Speaking from his home in the UK, Lunt, 37, said director Sir Peter Jackson may have got his locations wrong while filming his LOTR and Hobbit trilogies.

"Obviously the films have been filmed in New Zealand, and we found that was quite appropriate," he said.

"I gathered that probably a lot was filmed in the North Island, in particular the bits that were supposed to be where the hobbits live, like the Shire, but according to our model they would have been much better to film it in the South Island."

He said his main motivation was to create a "fun and interesting" way to engage people in discussions about climate.

The largest private collection of Lord of the Rings film memorabilia was auctioned in Los Angeles this weekend. Punters bid more than $120,000 over the asking price for the battle axe used by John Rhys-Davies' Gimli the Dwarf. It sold for $217,293. Frodo's sword Sting sold for $188,307, while the sword used by Viggo Mortensen's character Aragorn sold for $75,470.

- APNZ

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