If you are a Tolkien fan and have always been obsessed with his Middle Earth, New Zealand has a treat for you that you just cannot miss. Set in a 505 hectare (1250 acre) sheep farm with a spectacular view of the Kaimai ranges, Hobbiton is the movie set depicting the Hobbit city – The Shire – that was featured in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and in its subsequent prequel trilogy, The Hobbit. Visitors can choose to take a guided tour of this picturesque city that features various attractions from the films, ranging from the Green Dragon Inn to the Hobbit Holes.
An extremely fertile enormous expanse of land left unoccupied for most of its life, this farm was occupied by the Alexander family in 1978. Peter Jackson came across it while aerially searching for locations for his Lord of the Rings film series. After Jackson acquired suitable permissions from the Alexander family to use their farm for shooting, work commenced to transform part of this vast area into J.R.R. Tolkien’s Shire.
What we all saw on-screen as The Shire in the LOTR trilogy,required a lot of effort to take shape. The New Zealand Army helped in connecting the farm to the nearest highway by developing a new road. The facades of the hobbit holes were developed subsequently, along with the double arched bridge on the lake (depicted as a river in the movie) and the 26 tonne oak tree above Bag End. The final product emerged as a breath taking piece of magnificence that appeared to have jumped straight out of Tolkien’s imagination.
Visitors can take a 2 hour guided tour of the entire set, of which the main attractions are Bagshot Row, The Mill, Double Arched Bridge and 44 Hobbit Holes, though one can’t enter any of the hobbit holes. After all, as Gandalf would have said, “You shall not pass!”
Another major attraction that all LOTR fans must visit while in Hobbiton is the exact replica of ‘The Green Dragon Inn’ from the movies. The interiors of the Inn will directly transport you to Middle Earth and the ales served there brilliantly capture the taste of the Shire. Also, do not miss the Inn’s mouth-watering beef and ale pie.
There is a Shire store located adjacent to the Green Dragon Inn, where you can soak into the atmosphere and buy a tonne of souvenirs that will quench your thirst for Middle Earth. The Store, just like the Hobbiton, is open all 7 days a week.
Hobbiton is located at a distance of merely 42 kms from Hamilton Airport and 16 kms from Matamata i-SITE coach terminal. You can easily take a taxi from the airport to reach the Shires Rest, which is at the entrance of the Hobbiton, or you can directly book your tour from Matamata i-SITE and let the organizers take care of your transportation to and from the coach terminal.
Address: Hobbiton Movie Set Tours, 501 Buckland Road, Hinuera, Matamata, Hamilton – Waikato, 3472, New Zealand.
Web Address: http://www.hobbitontours.com/
Contact No.: +64 (7) 888 1505
Operating Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: $39 (for children between the age of 9 and 16), $79 (for ages 17 and above)
Easiest Way to Reach: Tour sponsored ride from Matamata i-SITE