You can visit lot of of locations where the Lord the the Rings movies were filmed in brand-new Zealand, however none of lock transports you come Middle planet like Hobbiton does.
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On the Hobbiton Movie set you’ll uncover the lush rolling hills the The Shire whereby you deserve to wander past Hobbit Holes and have a drink in the eco-friendly Dragon Inn.
I’m no a huge fan the the films and was visiting because that Simon’s benefits (as the is), yet I was won end by the enchanting hobbit village and the significant attention come detail.
You can only visit Hobbiton top top a guided go tour, yet it’s fun and interesting, and you discover lots about the make of the films.
Background to the Hobbiton Movie Set
In 1998 Peter Jackson’s team of ar scouts to be searching new Zealand for the perfect location for Hobbiton, the town where the hobbits live, for the upcoming Lord of the Rings trilogy the movies.
While flying over the Alexander’s 1,250-acre sheep farm in Waikato, they noticed details that The Shire defined in the JRR Tolkien novels: unspoilt environment-friendly pastures, a increasing hill (where Bag finish would later sit), and also a splendid pine tree by a lake.
A temporary set was constructed on the farm and the filming the Lord of the Rings began in 1999 and also took 3 months. After that the collection was demolished, but when the movies were released to huge success, fans to be keen come visit the site.
So when Peter Jackson went back to film The Hobbit trilogy in 2009, this time they decided to develop a permanent set of 44 Hobbit Holes and the eco-friendly Dragon Inn. In 2012 the Hobbiton Movie set opened to the public for tours.
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The Shire’s Rest
Hobbiton tours begin at The Shire’s rest where yes a ticket centre, gift shop, garden bar, and also cafe v beautiful views end the countryside.
We had actually lunch at the cafe before our tour—tomato soup and also toasted sandwiches—and if it was nothing special, it to be convenient and perfectly edible.
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The Hobbiton town Tour
The two-hour tour starts with a short bus ride from The Shire’s rest to the farm. On the means they display videos v behind the scene footage.
Our team was shown about by Maggie that was bubbly and knowledgeable. The group size to be a bit large, and there were lots of other teams on site, however they managed them well and also it didn’t feeling overwhelmingly crowded.
As us walked into Hobbiton, i was surprised through how big it is. 44 Hobbit Holes space spread end the hillside and also there’s lots of environment-friendly space.
It yes, really does feel like a village, albeit a rather unusual and also picturesque one.
I was additionally struck by how environment-friendly it is, storage of our English homeland, i m sorry it’s assumed The Shire was influenced by.
At the finish of summer, Hobbiton no as green as usual, though, due to water restrictions. It takes a many work to store the village so lush—there room a number of full-time workers whose sole job is come water the site.
The Hobbit Holes—the residences of the hobbits that are built into the hillside—are extremely cute.
Some of the doors are huge so that during filming humans looked hobbit-sized, while rather are small to make Gandalf the Wizard watch tall.
You can not go within the houses—the inner scenes to be filmed at Weta Workshop in Wellington—but you have the right to peer inside few of the windows (look the end for the cheese-maker).
We didn’t feel like we were lacking out, though, together there room so plenty of details to explore. Outside each home are props that hint at who stays inside—a chessboard, beehives, sacks that flour, wheel of cheese, a huge pumpkin, pestle and mortars, or an easel.
There’s even a real vegetable patch and also orchard, and the fences space aged with authentic-looking fake mould. Colourful flowers bloom all over the village.
It’s daunting to distinguish between what’s real and also what’s a prop.
As we wandered increase the dirt path towards Bag End, Maggie mutual behind the scenes details the the production. Peter Jackson to be so obsessed with obtaining the collection to correctly reflect the books that a crew member spent two weeks turning apple trees into plum trees—and then the footage was cut from the film.
In Hobbiton the wealthier inhabitants live higher up, and also at the top of the hill we reached Bag End, residence of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. A big tree grows over it—although that looks authentic, this tree no real and it take it a vast amount of job-related to recreate it manually.
Back in ~ the bottom that the hill we visited the party field, home to an immense (real) jaw tree and also a number of wooden games you deserve to play.
Reaching close to the finish of the tour, it was time for us to head over to the green Dragon Inn because that a drink. Us were left to meander there alone through the woods, past the water mill, and also over the stone bridge.
The thatched roof eco-friendly Dragon Inn feels prefer a perfectly-themed Disney restaurant (and that’s a compliment!).
Except unlike in ~ Disney, a drink (beer, cider or ginger beer) is consisted of in the tour price and also the fireplaces are genuine (even in summer). Us loved relaxing in armchairs by the fire.
After a last stroll along the lake, it was time come hop ago onto the bus and return to The Shire’s Rest.
We didn’t desire to leaving this magical world.
Should friend Visit Hobbiton?
Hobbiton surpassed both our expectations—Simon’s were high when mine to be low.
You really perform feel choose you are visiting The Shire and also we loved exploring all the cute homes in Hobbiton. The level of detail is impressive and also it’s a magical location to wander in beautiful countryside.
Even if you aren’t a fan of the films, Hobbiton is worth visiting as it’s therefore picturesque. I perform recommend at the very least watching the very first part that The Fellowship that the Ring to check out Hobbiton ~ above the screen prior to your visit.
If you space a Lord that the Rings fan, the Hobbiton Movie set is a must-visit in new Zealand.
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Hobbiton Ticket Prices
The Hobbiton Movie collection can only be checked out on a guided wade tour. It’s very popular so it’s ideal to publication as much in advancement as possible, especially in summer. Tours depart day-to-day at a variety of times.
Tickets cost NZ $89 per human for the two-hour tour. Girlfriend can publication the Hobbiton tour in advance here.
Next time, we’re to crawl to execute the night Banquet tour which costs NZ $199, together you have the right to see the town lit up at night ~ a feast. They right now only run on part weekends—check the Hobbiton website for the recent schedule.
In 2021 they added a brand-new experience called the 2nd Breakfast tour which prices NZ $149 and includes a second breakfast spread in their brand-new venue The Millhouse. The tour departs top top selected weekend days at 8.45am.
Make sure you wear sensible shoes as the tourism does show off a tenderness uphill walk on unpaved paths.
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Where is The Shire in brand-new Zealand?
Hobbiton and also The Shire are situated in Matamata ~ above the phibìc Island. To visit you’ll require your own automobile or you deserve to take a tour from Rotorua or Auckland.
The drive from Auckland come Hobbiton bring away 2.5 hours. Girlfriend can likewise join a full-day bus tour to Hobbiton indigenous Auckland.
The Shire is 1 hour indigenous Rotorua and also 1.5 hrs from Taupo, 2 other popular destinations ~ above the north Island.
Hobbiton is simple to fit in on most North Island roadway trips—see our in-depth North Island itinerary because that suggestions.
We only had actually two days come travel between Wellington and Auckland, and we saw Hobbiton ~ above our 2nd day after continuing to be overnight near Turangi (at the lovely B&B Omori Lakehouse) on the southern shore that Lake Taupo. The tourism was a great way to rest up the journey.
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Can You stay at The Shire in brand-new Zealand?
Unfortunately, it’s not feasible to remain onsite in ~ the Hobbiton Movie Set, yet you’ll feel like you’re in The Shire in the surrounding countryside the the Waikato region.
You can even stay in a hobbit hole inspired cavern at quirky Woodlyn Park Motel. The motel is a 1 hour 15 minute journey from Hobbiton, yet it’s close come the Waitomo Caves, which room well worth a visit.
If you’d prefer to stay closer come Hobbiton (especially if you execute the evening banquet tour), the nearest alternatives just under the roadway are Hills Vista Lodge and also Ransom B&B. Both have actually beautiful Shire countryside settings.
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There is also plenty of accommodation in Matamata, a 15-minute drive from The Shire. Denchys B&B is an affordable and also highly rated guesthouse ~ above the leaf of city or De Preaux Lodge is a an ext luxurious choice with lovely landscape views.