In a quiet farm tucked away in New Zealand’s faraway North Island is a slice of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendary Middle-Earth.
A Fantasy World Brought Into Life
When Tolkien wrote Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, the author wove a vivid world of hobbits, dwarves, elves, and wizards, of sweeping mountain ranges and enchanting forests, of a dark wizard’s volcanic fortress. Only a fraction of the story takes place in the charming hobbit neighborhood The Shire, but readers fell in love with Frodo and Bilbo’s home, anyway.
Many years after the novel’s release, director Peter Jackson set out to recreate Tolkien’s world on the big screen and found the perfect filming location in Matamata, New Zealand.
Part of the magic of the Lord of the Rings movies and The Hobbit prequels is that the world playing out on the screen is so startlingly realistic. A lot of the iconic scenes were filmed in New Zealand’s North Island at the base of the stunning Kaimai ranges where hobbit holes have been painstakingly carved into small hills to blend seamlessly in the natural environment.
Now, it is a site that tourists can visit as a permanent attraction. Follow in the footsteps of Frodo, Samwise, and the rest of the fellowship in a New Zealand Lord of the Rings tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set.
A Guided Tour Of Hobbiton
Originally created in 1999 for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, a part of the landscape was rebuilt in 2011 for The Hobbit trilogy. Longtime fans will feel transported to the fantasy land of the novels and books, while even visiting tourists who are unfamiliar with the source material will enjoying walking through the enchanting farmlands.
Step into the lush world of Tolkien’s imagination in this remote farm that looks like it has been lifted straight from the epic novels. Embark on a two-hour guided tour of the 12-acre site with behind-the-scenes tales and insider information on how the films were made.
Forty-four hobbit holes are nestled into rolling hills in this small town in North Island’s Waikato region. It appears charmingly lived in with the paths worn and flourishing shrubs in the garden. In some of the homes, a chimney is smoking and there’s a chair left outside, as if a halfling just stepped inside for a moment or two.
Walk the well-trodden paths and find your way to Bag End, the small hobbit hole where Frodo and Bilbo Baggins spent most of their lives. Stop by Number 3 Bagshot Row, the home of loyal Samwise Gamgee and his family.
Visit Bilbo’s famous Birthday Tree, then delight over other familiar sights from the films, like the Millhouse. Before ending the tour, stop by Green Dragon Inn for a complimentary drink of the various in-house brews.
Getting to Hobbiton in New Zealand
The magnificent Hobbiton village is at the base of the Kaimai ranges, just around a two-hour drive from Auckland. Nearby communities Hamilton, Rotorua, and Tauranga are only about 45 minutes away, while Taupo and Waitomo are both an hour and a half away.
Book the Hobbiton Movie Set Tour ahead of your visit via KKday. The package includes a walking tour of the Lord of the Rings set along with transfers from selected departure points, whether it’s at The Shire’s Rest Café in Matamata, the Matamata i-SITE Visitor Information Centre, or Rotorua Hobbiton Movie Set Store.
*Featured image sourced from Pixabay