What to Expect in the Hobbiton Movie Set

The Hobbiton Movie Set is located in the Waikato region of the North Island, New Zealand. It is situated on a family run farm about 8 kilometres west of Hinuera and 10 kilometres southwest of Matamata, in Waikato. Hobbiton is tucked in between Taupo, Rotorua and Auckland and right off Buckland Road.

Story of Hobbiton Movie Set

In 1998, Sir Peter Jackson’s team of location scouts were searching for the iconic rolling hills and lush green pastures of Hobbiton. An aerial search led them to the Alexander farm, a stunning 1,250 acre sheep farm in the heart of the Waikato. They noted the area’s striking similarity to The Shire, as described by JRR Tolkien, and quickly realised that the Hobbits had found a home.

It was actually built twice before it became the permanent fixture and tourist attraction as it is today. The first time around, temporary materials were used to create the set and was mostly deconstructed after filming. Thus, when the farm was needed for more filming, the owner requested that the construction be made permanent. It took two years to construct the whole movie set and nine months to build the holes which were the Hobbits homes. The set has gained unprecedented worldwide popularity after the movie’s success.

Tour description

Since the actual set is on private property, you can’t exactly drive or walk straight into the movie set. Access with a tour guide is a must and many different types of tours can be chosen from.

Setting off from Auckland, you’ll travel by luxury coach through the lush farmland of the Waikato and King Country regions. Your driver guide will entertain you with informative commentary along the way. Once at the famous Hobbiton Movie Set, you’ll join a guided tour of this former sheep farm. Step into the lush pastures of the Shire, as seen in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Experience first-hand the unequivocal beauty of this former sheep farm, with the mighty Kaimai Ranges towering in the distance. Your guide will show you the intricate details and point out the most famous locations including the Hobbit Holes, The Mill and the world-famous Green Dragon Inn. Once at the Green Dragon Inn, it is time to drink up! You’ll be presented with a complimentary, exclusive Hobbit Southfarthing beverage to conclude your own Middle-earth adventure.

You may join an Evening Banquet Tour to experience the magic of Middle-earth on a guided small-group tour at dusk. Making the most of the remaining daylight, your tour guide will escort you through the 12 acre site, recounting fascinating stories and anecdotes about the trilogies. Your tour concludes at the Green Dragon Inn with a complimentary, exclusive Hobbit Southfarthing beverage. You will then enter the Green Dragon dining room and treated to a banquet dinner. The tables will be heaving with traditional Hobbit food and, as is the tradition in the Shire, second helpings are encouraged. After dinner, rejoin your guide to make your way back through the meandering paths of the Shire. The trails will be illuminated by path lighting and handheld lanterns are provided. This stunning journey under moonlight will allow you to see the village breathtakingly lit up, with Hobbit Hole chimneys smoking and lanterns glowing in the darkness.

Many of the tours include side excursions to the caves at Waitomo, which are famous for their amazing luminescent glowworms. At the world-famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves, enjoy a guided tour through the impressive underground caverns. Your tour includes a boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto – glide silently along an underground river as you gaze at the twinkling glowworms overhead. After visiting Waitomo and Hobbiton, continue to Rotorua, arriving in the early evening.

Weather

The Alexander farm has its own micro-climate. Weather can blow in and out faster than you ever thought possible — what looks like a calm, sunny day at first can quickly turn into a gale with sideways rain. So we recommend you wear layers, and take an umbrella at the beginning of the tour if there’s any chance of rain at all.

Getting there

The closest big city is Rotorua but can also be easily accessible from Taupo to the south or Auckland in the north. Most Hobbiton tours begin in Auckland. You can drive or take a half or full day tour to get to the Hobbiton Movie Set. It is best to arrange bus transfers and ticket packages from Auckland in advance. There is an Intercity bus that takes you straight from Auckland to Hobbiton.

It takes approximately 2 hour and 15 minute drive from Auckland and one hour drive from Rotorua. We recommend you meet at Matamata I-Site if you go by bus for the final bus stop is near the Matamata I-Site. We recommend you meet at The Shire’s Rest if you drive a car for free parking is available and is closer to the Hobbiton Movie Set. The set is approximately 2 minute drive from The Shire’s Rest and 15 minute drive from Matamata I-Site. For your convenience, you’d better book a tour with return hotel transfers. All the signs are available on the notice boards and inside the Green Dragon, so you won’t get lost.

Final thoughts

The staff there works hard to pay attention to every detail in the Shire. No gourd or flower is haphazardly placed and everything is done with intention. At one point, while winding your way along the path, your guide will stop and offer to take your photo in front of one of the famous round Hobbit doors. Take a moment to breathe and pay attention to the small details while you’re taking all of the photos you want. We recommend you select Hobbiton tours including a big hobbit-style breakfast, lunch or dinner held either at the Green Dragon Inn or the Party Marquee. It’s kind of a premium add-on and must be booked ahead of time due to the popularity of the set. There are plenty of more secrets revealed on the stroll through Hobbiton Movie Set but you’ll just have to come and find out yourself.

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