The Hobbit is set to start production next month in New Zealand, which has director Peter Jackson currently scouring the island for locations.

The director was seeking out spots for the epic production in the Wakapitu and South island areas of New Zealand this week. Here's what Jackson's assistant, Matt Dravitzki, had to say:

Locations will be selected ahead of the commencement of principal photography in February 2011. Further details will be available once we're under way...It goes without saying that we're all very excited that the unique New Zealand landscape will feature as Middle-earth once again."

A Gulfstream aircraft, which is believed to be registered to Peter Jackson and his Wingnut Films team, has been parked at the Queenstown airport since Monday. Here's what an anonymous insider had to say:

It's no secret that Peter has being doing [reconnaissance] in the area, but how much is going to be shot on location remains to be seen."