The hobbit production has moved over to Dunedin, to set up shop at Takaka Hill. Over the weekend, hundreds of hobbit cast members and crew were seen arriving at the Dunedin International airport. Actual locations of filming have been kept hush hush, but there have been many hobbit witnesses within the towns of Queenstown and Middlemarch.
Trucks hauling equipment have been seen near the top of Takaka Hill, leading to believe production shop has found a home for the next few months. TORn provides a good description of the hill:
Hidden in the limestone landscapes on Takaka Hill is a massive sinkhole 15m in diameter and dropping to a depth of 200m known as Harwoods Hole. A short half-day track leads from the boundary of Abel Tasman National Park to the edge of the hole. Cavers often abseil into its depths and emerge out from a cave system near Takaka. After checking out the sink hole, go to the lookout which overlooks The Gorge Creek, some 538m straight down. All up, it’s an impressive trip.
Peter Jackson has made it very clear that they are actually ahead of schedule in reaching their December 2012 opening date for the first film. Stay tuned!