Dec. 14, 2012— -- intro: Calling all "Lord of the Rings" fans! Middle-earth is no longer the imaginary home to your favorite Orcs and Elves on the big screen. The fantasy universe comes to life, both in the air and on the ground, with the unveiling of a Hobbit-themed plane from Air New Zealand and a "hobbit house" in Montana.
So in honor of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," premiering today, we're celebrating with the top four Hobbit-themed attractions that Gandalf, Aragorn and all your favorite characters would happily endorse.
quicklist: 1category:title: Hobbit-Inspired Aircraft From Air New Zealand url: text: This plane is like no other Boeing 777, thanks to its Hobbit-themed exterior. Unveiled at the by Air New Zealand at the Auckland airport last month, the plane's special theme took six weeks and nearly 400 hours to do. Air New Zealand even released a flight safety video featuring Gandalf, Gollum and friends last November. It got more than nine million views on YouTube in a $10 million global campaign to draw visitors to the country known as the home of the popular "Lord of the Rings" movies. media:17966984
quicklist: 2category:title: A Hobbit Home You Can Call Your Own url: text: You can rent this two-bedroom cottage in Trout Creek, Mont. for under $200 a night. Interior details of the house evoke the dwellings of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. It has an Elf Communication Center, a Troll House and miniature fairy dwellings. The home is built onto a Shire-inspired hill much like the one movie fans will remember. media: 17967009
quicklist: 3category:title: Take A Walking Tour Of Hobbiton Farmurl: text: For around $60, "Hobbit" fans can visit the 1,250-acre New Zealand farm that was transformed into the pastoral Shire in 2002. The area has since been rebuilt for the new film trilogy, incorporating wood and stone into the structures that complement the stone bridge, mill and swan-filled pond. The 105-minute walking tour has drawn nearly 250,000 visitors over the last decade. It is expected to welcome 150,000 more tourists in the upcoming year. media: 17847163
quicklist: 4category: title: Drink With The Dwarves at the Green Dragon Innurl: text: The Green Dragon Inn has now opened to the public as a working pub in New Zealand, featuring Hobbit-inspired brews like "Girdle Fine Ale," "Oak Barton Ale," "Southfathing Ginger Ale" and "Sackville Cider."
The inn, which is featured in scenes from "The Hobbit," is located in the tourist village of Hobbiton and is a pit stop for travelers on the Hobbiton Walking Tour. George Hickton of the New Zealand Tourism Board said there's a possibility the space may be converted in the future to accommodate overnight stays. media: 17968579