Do you love The Lord of the Rings? You couldn’t imagine your childhood without reading The Hobbit? Are you dressing up as an elf when no one is looking? Well, I guess we’ve found something for you… Welcome to Hobbiton Movie Set! Do you know that 30% of people visiting Hobbiton didn’t read any of Tolkien’s books or watch movies based on them? However, they still fall in love with this place. Why? Visit a hobbit village with us and find out!
Hobbiton? Hobbit village? What is this hype all about?
For those unfamiliar with Tolkien’s masterpiece, we are here to explain a bit. Hobbiton Movie Set presents a legendary hobbit village in Shire, region of fictional Middle-earth, inhabited by hobbits – curious, brave halflings with hairy feet. The iconic trilogy of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were shot here. Nowadays, the whole area of the former movie set became one of the most visited tourist attractions in New Zealand. People from all over the world come here to feel like the inhabitants of Tolkien’s Middle-earth, even just for a moment. Some biggest Tolkien’s fans want to become one of them so bad that they visit this place dressed up as hobbits, dwarfs, elves… and sometimes even as Gollum! Anyway, we decided to stay in our regular human clothes…
How this all began?
In 1998, NZ born director Peter Jackson started with preparations for The Lord of the Rings shooting. Finding the perfect Shire was not easy. The requirements were strict – a perfect place must have been idyllic and far from any modern human settlements. The first condition is easy to meet in such picture-perfect place as New Zealand, however there are plenty of roads, buildings or… sheds for sheep! Eventually, after countless hours of heli search, at the edge of the Alexander Farm, that was it – an amazing place: green hills, mighty trees and mirror lake.
Producers immediately went to the owner of the farm. Rumor has it that when they told him that they would love to shoot The Lord of the Rings there, he shouted with astonishment: “The Lord of what?!“. Luckily, his son was a big Tolkien fan and discreetly kicked his father’s ankle under the table, so he finally signed the contract… As a result, one of the most famous movies ever were born here and the place itself became a NZ signature (next to kiwi of course!). Even New Zealand’s army got involved! They built a road connecting this place with the nearest highway to make staff’s work easier. In total, 37 holes in a hobbit village were dug out. Even an oak was added to this idyllic scenery. The real one was cut next to Matamata and moved here with some artificial leaves attached!
Unlike Michal, I am not an avid Tolkien fan. (I must admit that I always get lost among all these Tolkien’s names, tribes, lands and languages). But the moment when these green hills popped up suddenly in front of my eyes, turned out to be really magic for me… Nowadays tourists can see 44 “holes”, but can enter only one. Between the hobbit houses, there are gardens full of vegetables and flowers – a special team is assigned, to keep hobbit village green!
Walking between houses, stay alert – here and there hobbits have hung up the laundry, dropped their wheelbarrows or scattered toys… Maybe you can even see the hobbit in person? 🙂
At the end of the tour, take a look at the Green Dragon Inn and take a sip of cider! Cheers!
How much time do you need? Hobbiton Movie Set tour takes approx. 2h.
How to get to Hobbiton Movie Set? The only option is an organized trip – unfortunately, you can’t visit hobbit village individually. You may get your tickets here – preferably in advance, there are many tourists visiting this place! Tours depart from Rotorua (bus journey takes 45 minutes) or Matamata (15 minutes).
Fee: If you go from Matamata, you will pay NZD 79 (about 55 EUR) for an adult ticket, from Rotorua – NZD114 (about 80 EUR). Combo tickets are also worth considering – if you are planning to visit the Te Puia Park in Rotorua and Waitomo Caves and Hobbiton Movie Set, you should consider purchasing one entry ticket for all these attractions for NZD 288 (about 200 EUR) instead of NZD 322.
So, what about sipping tea with Bilbo Baggins?
For more our adventures in New Zealand, click here!
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