By 3 News online staff
Wellington’s 'Hobbit fever' is ramping up as the premiere of Sir Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey nears.
Several Hobbit-inspired sights have popped up around the capital, including the airport’s baggage carousel which has been renamed ‘Bag End’, the name of Bilbo Baggins’ hobbit hole.
Travellers are now greeted with a green, hilly landscape complete with stained glass windows when they retrieve their luggage at the airport.
During the drive into the city, visitors can see ‘Middle of Middle-Earth’ flags adorning the streets from lampposts.
In town, a giant Gandalf beside a hobbit hole towers over the central city streets, and a huge banner with Wellington sitting in a Middle-Earth landscape is plastered beside it.
The Starbucks Coffee shop on Courtenay Place has become a hobbit hole and Smaug – a dragon from the movie – will be erected over its doorway later today.
A massive ring has become the entranceway to Waitangi Park, which will host daily Hobbit-inspired artisan markets each day until the premiere.
New Zealand Post has also erected silhouettes of Hobbit characters on their building and a multi-story replica of one of their six special edition stamps.
Several shops have dressed their windows in a bid to win a Hobbit decoration competition organised by Positively Wellington Tourism.