On my family’s recent trip to New Zealand, we visited Hobbiton movie set. This is where the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy were filmed.
Last year, when we decided to pool our miles and points for the big New Zealand trip, my husband said that visiting Hobbiton was a non-negotiable. He has seen all the movies and liked them all. In his mind, there was no way we were flying all the way to New Zealand without seeing Hobbiton. In fact, Hobbiton and the winter weather were the main reasons we chose to visit the north island over the south island.
Before visiting New Zealand, if my husband had suggested visiting the set of a fantasy movie, I would have said, “You shall not pass.” Horses, dragons and wizards aren’t my thing. My kids and I have never seen any of the LOTR movies. They are so long! So, I was ambivalent about visiting Hobbiton. I mean, it looked pretty in photos, but I read reviews that said Hobbiton was too touristy and too crowded.
Hobbiton was the first place we visited after landing in New Zealand. All of us LOVED it! About half the people in our tour group had never seen the movies, but that didn’t impact our enjoyment of the Hobbiton movie set tour.
We drove a rental car from Auckland Airport to the town of Matamata. The drive took us a little over two hours. Admittedly, the drive was pretty intense because it was our first time driving on the opposite side of the road.
The entrance to Hobbiton, Shire’s Rest, is a few miles outside of town. Once we arrived, we took a look at the surrounding countryside. It was breathtaking!
Alexander farm, where Hobbiton is located, seems to go on forever. It’s a large working farm, and we watched the farmers herd the sheep from place to place.
Since we arrived over an hour early, we grabbed a bite to eat in the café and looked in the gift shop. I decided to check in for our tour early, and the staff moved us to an earlier tour that was leaving in a few minutes.
As it turns out, one does not simply walk into Hobbiton. You must take a bus. Soon, we boarded a bus and headed across the street for the short drive through the farm to the Hobbiton movie set.
Hobbiton movie set was larger than I expected. There are 44 Hobbit holes. Our bubbly tour guide walked us through, section by section.
Maybe it was because we visited during winter, but the place didn’t seem crowded. We had plenty of time in each section to take photos in front of every Hobbit hole. Our guide talked about how the farm was chosen, what it was like during filming, where various Hobbit holes were featured in the films and how the movie set turned into a tourist attraction.
We were only allowed to go inside one Hobbit hole:
Even in winter, this section of New Zealand is so green. It turned out to be a beautiful day to stroll through Hobbiton.
Toward the end, we had some time in a garden. My kids enjoyed the seesaws and porch swings.
We could see the double-arched bridge across the pond.
At the end of the tour, we walked across the bridge and into The Green Dragon Inn. Everyone was offered a complimentary drink. We could choose from two beers, apple cider or a non-alcoholic ginger beer. Since it was winter, hot chocolate was also an option.
At The Green Dragon Inn, the kids could try on costumes and visit props outside. Inside, there were a few roaring fireplaces. It was a nice ending to the two-hour walking tour.
My entire family was pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed Hobbiton. Before visiting, I didn’t know a Hobbit hole from a Orc’s lair. But, it didn’t matter. The serene beauty of the place was enough to please everybody.
My kids vowed they would watch the movies when we returned home. They haven’t so far…who has that kind of time???
Is Hobbiton on your bucket list?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.