One of the most popular film and book trilogies of all time, if you don’t know The Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit, you’ve most likely been living under a rock. Visiting New Zealand will make you understand why the movies were filmed in this beautiful country! If you’re a fan of the films and books, or even if you’ve only seen one of the movies, you cannot surpass the opportunity to tour the Shire, Hobbiton. Located in Matamata (the middle of nowhere on New Zealand’s North Island) on a sheep farm, we stopped by Hobbiton on our way from the Coromandel to Rotorua. I was by far the most excited for this day of the whole trip, and it lived up to every expectation and more. Being in this part of Middle-Earth left me wanting more, so naturally I had to watch all of the movies again and start reading the books!
Initially, for the filming of The Lord of the Rings, the set was made from predominantly polystyrene and other materials that were not permanent. Thank the film making gods for the Hobbit trilogy and the land owners who wanted the set to be made permanent, so now fans can come experience what its like to be a hobbit for the day!
The only way you can experience this little hobbit village is to book a tour. Trust me, it’s better this way as you learn so many random and interesting facts about the film making process and the set. I booked our tour in advance online and it cost $80 per person (totally worth it!) We started at the Shires Rest Cafe before boarding a bus to the Shire village. Our tour was jam packed with other tourists, sadly, but somehow it didn’t take away from the magical side of Hobbiton. Maybe I was just too damn excited to be there…! In all, the tour would of taken about 2 to 3 hours, ending with a free cider or Southfarthing beer at the Green Dragon Inn that they brew themselves.
It was so fascinating and impressive to hear of all the effort put in to making just this set, twice! They have four full-time gardeners who put out fresh produce outside the hobbit holes everyday! You really can appreciate how much time and effort was put in to this set, let alone the whole movie, by seeing the intricate and artistic details in Hobbiton. From various themed hobbit holes to the moss growing on fences and footprints in the grass to artificial leaves individually placed on Bilbo’s oak tree that was flown in to New Zealand especially for the movie, it’s just insane! Okay, why can’t everyone live in a place like the Shire!?
The location of Bilbo’s birthday – just ignore the damn crane in the background.
We walked through this stunning part of Middle-Earth and up to a hobbit hole where we could take our photo inside before arriving at the most well-known one – Bilbo Baggins’ home! Along the way, our guide told stories and interesting facts about the movie productions. We then ventured down through the hills to the Green Dragon Inn for our drink before going back to the gift shop to purchase some ciders and beers to take home to my hobbit-obsessed friends.
The most famous hobbit hole of all – Bilbo’s
And his view
Ah, this day was just amazing. You can’t go to New Zealand and not do some kind of Lord of the Rings tour, right?!
The Cosy Green Dragon Inn
Getting to Hobbiton:
- Matamata: If you can’t get to Matamata yourself, you can just get on the tour bus from the Shire’s Rest location, which is super easy to find if you have a GPS.
- Day Trip: Another option is to just book a day tour with a company such as Red Carpet Tours, who organise the 2 hour trip from Auckland.
Find the right tour for you and book it here!
ARE YOU A HOBBIT FAN? HAVE YOU VISITED HOBBITON TOO?
PIN IT FOR LATER!