Hobbiton – Visit Middle-earth at the Other End of the World
Have we already drawn you in with the word Hobbiton and made you think of Middle Earth and the Shire? There is a place that all The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit fans will love. You can discover the home of Frodo, Sam & Co outside the books of the author J.R.R. Tolkien. Hobbiton is located on the other side of the world – on the North Island in New Zealand. More precisely, it is situated in the Waikato region, just outside the city of Matamata. In the following article, we’ll tell you how to get there, what this place has to offer, and all must-have luggage items.
Getting to Hobbiton
If you are already on New Zealand’s North Island, there are several ways to get to Matamata. There are various bus routes that you can take, which start in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Taupo, or Wellington. Another option is to plan a road trip to Matamata; whether you take a car or an RV, you can discover New Zealand’s exciting attractions along the way.
History of Hobbiton
Peter Jackson, the director of the world-famous trilogy, wasn’t only born and raised in New Zealand, he still lives there today. In 1998, Jackson and his team went on a search for the perfect location for Hobbiton. During their search, they came across the Alexander family farm, a 1,250-hectare sheep farm in the heart of Waikato. The landscape resembles the Shire just as fantastically as J.R.R. Tolkien described in his books. On a hill overlooking a nearby lake, stands a large, beautiful pine tree. This became the deciding factor to turn the place into Bag End. The surrounding area was completely untouched. There are neither power lines nor houses or streets in sight. For this reason, Peter Jackson was better able to leave the 20th century behind and completely immerse himself in the fantasy world of Middle-earth.
In March 1999, construction began to make Hobbiton become a reality. Nine months later, 39 Hobbit holes were completed. After filming, the crew planned to demolish the whole set. However, they left 17 plywood facades. In 2002, those remnants served as an opportunity to offer guided tours for enthusiastic fans. Peter Jackson returned in 2009 to film the Hobbit trilogy, leaving behind the beautiful film set you can admire today. In 2012, the Green Dragon Inn opened and has been part of the guided tours ever since.
Other places in New Zealand also served as settings for these films, such as Mount Ruapehu on the North Island and Queenstown on the South Island.
Hobbiton Tours and Tickets
You can visit the Hobbit holes seven days a week. The shuttle to the film set departs at least three times a day. It’s best to book your tickets in advance, either over the phone or on the official website. That way, you can choose the best possible time slot for your schedule.
To ensure your spot on the shuttle, plan to arrive at The Shire’s Rest, where the shuttle departs, at least 15 minutes early.
The Shire’s Rest
The Shire’s Rest is the main headquarters and where you will be picked up for the Hobbiton tours. It is about 15 minutes away from the Matamata city center. There are enough parking spots even for larger RVs. This is where you catch the shuttle and head to the movie set. If The Shire’s Rest is the only place you want to visit, you won’t have to buy tickets. You can just stop by and purchase some souvenirs.
You can also visit The Shire’s Rest Café that offers snacks, coffee, and other delicacies. They also offer some alcoholic beverages like cider and beer. You can view the menu online. The café is open from 9 am to 3:30 pm, with extended hours in the summer. Last, but not least, you can visit the Shire Store, where you can buy various drinks like the Hobbit Southfarthing.
Let’s get to the part you’ve been waiting for: the guided tours through Hobbiton!
Hobbiton movie set tour
The regular tour takes about two hours, which includes the 10-minute shuttle ride to the set and back. Once you arrive on set, you’ll be able to see the outside of the colorful Hobbit holes. At the end of the tour, you’ll stop by the Green Dragon Inn, where you can enjoy an exclusive Hobbiton Southfarthing drink, which is included in your ticket purchase. The drink is often hard cider, but there are also non-alcoholic alternatives. During the tour, you’ll learn a lot about the film set! It is a thrilling feeling to see this setting in real life, and you can take as many pictures as you like. All visitors are allowed to take photos in front of the famous green door of Frodo’s Hobbit hole. This is the perfect photo-op that you will remember for years to come!
Evening banquet tour
This tour starts at dusk and ends with a large meal in the dining room of the Green Dragon Inn. You take part in a huge feast fit for the inhabitants of Bag End, and you are welcome to take a second or third helping, just like a true Hobbit. After the meal, you’ll hike through the fully illuminated film set back to the shuttle. This exciting journey through Middle-earth is definitely an unforgettable experience. The tour lasts roughly four hours, which also includes the shuttle ride. On the official website, you’ll find the banquet menu. You can book your tickets there, too.
Second breakfast tour
In the morning hours, you’ll be among the first on set and experience this guided tour through Hobbiton. You can also visit the Green Dragon Inn to enjoy a Hobbiton drink. Afterward, you’ll be invited into the Millhouse located opposite of the Green Dragon Inn, where you can enjoy an opulent breakfast and admire the Millhouse’s rustic interior. This tour takes about three hours, including the shuttle ride from The Shire’s Rest and back.
Last but not least, we have some tips on what to bring for your visit to the exciting Hobbiton film set. The most important recommendation is to wear solid shoes and have a functioning camera. It’s also a good idea to check the weather forecast beforehand. Especially in summer, you’ll need to bring sunscreen and a hat when it’s sunny. Otherwise, you should always bring a raincoat no matter whether it’s autumn, winter, or spring. The tours take place rain or shine. If there are extreme weather conditions, alternative dates will be offered.
Are you a fan of The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit? If so, Hobbiton is the perfect place for you. You can easily get there by camper, car, or bus. It’s your chance to explore the beautiful, colorful film set in Matamata and take as many memorable photos to rave about forever as you possibly can. This place is definitely worth a visit. You won’t forget this incredible experience! What are you waiting for?