If you’re a Lord of the Rings lover, like Devon is, the film set of Hobbiton on the North Island of New Zealand is an an unreal experience. Even if you’re not a huge fan (like Alex), the beautiful green hills, colourful set and magical little town will steal your heart!
We booked our tour time around a week in advance of our arrival through our Super Charged Trilogy Package. This is a three part deal offering some of the best experiences on the North Island; the other two activities are cave rafting in the Waitomo Caves and a cultural experience at Te Puia National Park (both of which we loved!). By booking through this service, we were able to quickly organize some awesome adventures and save a little money (only around $20 but still good)!
Hobbiton is closest to the town of Matamata, and there are helpful directions on the Hobbiton website. We were set to arrive around half an hour before our designated tour departure time, but we got lost (because we did not use those directions) and arrived five minutes before our time. They were very accommodating and we managed to make it for our tour. The waiting area is called The Shire’s Rest and features a gift shop, a cafe for some snacks and complimentary parking. When it is your time, they direct you onto the bus and drive you around five minutes to the actual park.
Our tour guide was very knowledgable and gave us a run down of the set, the movies, and some fun facts. On our way there, glimpses of the little hobbit town poked out among the lush green fields and hills, heightening our excitement!
We worked our way through the town slowly, allowing stops for pictures as well as a ton of information and fun facts from our tour guide. The hobbit houses are actually all different sizes in order to create the illusion that the actors are short, but Gandalf is tall! Each hobbit house is themed as a different job within the town (i.e. baker, fisher, laundress etc.). The detail and work put into the set is astounding, keep an eye out for it!
One of the last houses we visited was THE house; Bilbo and Frodo Baggins’ home with a big green door, “no admittance” sign on the fence, and a huge tree growing out the top of it. It was amazing to see it in person! This point also offered an amazing view of the rest of the town.
At the end of the tour, we were taken into the Green Dragon Inn and offered a complimentary pint of beer or cider, along with other refreshments for purchase. We had some time to hang out in the pub before boarding the bus back to The Shire’s Rest. The tour was around two hours including our short bus rides.
We walked through the gift shop and ended up buying some over-priced stuff (oops), and then headed out! It was a truly wonderful experience strolling through a little piece of Middle Earth and appreciating the magic of the movie! Film buff or not, we’d definitely recommend it.