By Janika ter Ellen
Trying to find a hotel or motel in Wellington tonight might be a pretty hard ask, as thousands of Hobbit fans flood the city for the world premiere of the first film in the trilogy.
About 120,000 people packed the capital's streets for the final Lord Of The Rings film almost a decade ago, and the city council says there should be at least that many this time around.
There is a buzz in the city, a lot of tourists waiting by the red carpet to watch stars like Martin Freeman who plays Bilbo, Cate Blanchett, and of course Sir Peter Jackson. Most people 3 News spoke to are from the US, with fans from Europe and Australia as well.
Some locals are a little sick of the hype, but mostly Wellington is embracing its temporary title, the middle of Middle-earth.
"We're full, and it's great having the hotels full, and we're full of people who are here to have a fun time," says Hospitality Association's Jeremy Smith.
Five hundred devoted fans attended a themed costume party organised by fans The One Ring on Monday night. Sir Peter delighted fans with an unexpected appearance.
The director has made sure interest in the film has been well-fed, with regular behind-the-scenes updates on his Facebook page.
"I woke up every morning and always checked Facebook every morning to see what he would put on," said one fan. "I've had a routine for the last four or five years or so, checking it every."
Not everyone, though, seems so enamoured with the hobbit hype. Some people 3 News spoke to said they wouldn't wait hours just to see a movie, and others thought it was just for kids.
The Hospitality Association says the city's accommodation is as full as it was for the Rugby World Cup quarter-final her last year, almost at capacity. Wellington can accommodate about 25,000 people. 3 News spoke to a number of hotels and motels yesterday afternoon, and there was only one free room out of eight.
Over 100,000 people are expected to gather down here to watch the stars walk the red carpet - they'll be walking from Taranaki St down Courtenay Pl, to the Embassy Theatre.