Allow me to profess my love for the amazing & profound epic that is the Lord of the Rings. Whether you’ve read the books or seen the movies, there is no question it’s an inspiring story for the ages, of good vs. evil and the trials one must face in that journey. What made the Lord Of the Rings movies so surreal and larger than life was the setting in the backdrop of magnificent New Zealand.
Peter Jackson single handedly put a formerly lesser known New Zealand on the map & turned it into a hot tourist destination through the movie franchise. Seeing the dramatic landscapes & lush greenery on the big screen left many moviegoers, including myself in awe. It goes without saying I nerded out COMPLETELY in New Zealand, with recognition over several film scenes every place we drove. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of the movies or not, Hobbiton, the movie set of the “Shire” is a marvel in itself and well worth a visit. The story goes on how Peter Jackson asked the Prime Minister of New Zealand for help, and the roads were cleared in the remote area of Matamata by the New Zealand army to help build the set.
Here’s what you can expect to see & experience on an afternoon in Hobbiton:
Driving through lush valleys, windy roads and beautiful scenery, and seeing the sheep being herded by dogs.
The ridiculously adorable Hobbit Houses on set
Realizing that Peter Jackson fashioned an entire village, with incredible detail to make the Shire village feel alive. And it is.
With its mini bridges & homes with water mills, it felt like being in Scotland or Ireland and not New Zealand
Make your way to the Green Dragon Inn to catch a pint!
Every detail makes the place feel alive & other worldly.
Planning your trip
- Perfect for:Children, Couples, LOTR uber fans, Sight seeing, Movie goers
- There are several vendors that sell tour packages to Hobbiton — you can book an evening banquet, a farm stay etc through Viator and a number of other providers. My preference was to book the ticket from the Hobbiton Tours site directly. Tours can be started at Matamata, The Shire’s Rest or Rotorua. I booked the one from the Shire’s Rest, for $79/adult. Book your tickets here
- Pay attention to the bus you take on the way back! Each tour bus takes you to a different pick up & drop off location!
- Plan for 3–4 hours (the tour itself will take 2 hours, allow time to chill with your drink & to explore nearby surroundings)
- There are several “Lord Of The Rings” souvenir shops in Rotorua and around town. These are far bigger & offer greater variety than the souvenir store at The Shire’s Rest, which we found to be limiting.
- Best time to go to avoid crowds is the tours past 4:00 PM, we hardly encountered a crowd. The tour guides told us the 9–11 AM tour groups were the most crowded & lots of tourists I spoke to, told me the early AM crowds really overwhelmed them.
- The Complete LOTR filming location guide:
- Google Map of *All* locations (your welcome!)
- Overview of filming locations
Hobbiton is one of the most beautiful movie sets I’ve seen, its serenity & quaint village feel will be a place where you will definitely find Mojo!
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