I had been living in New Zealand for about 4 months when myself and some friends decided that as it was getting to the end of summer we should rent a car and go for the weekend to visit Hobbiton. We rented a car and set off on the 2 hour drive to Matamata where the Hobbiton movie set is located. Once on the road we rung up to book a time slot to ensure that we wouldn’t have a long wait once we arrived as we had heard it can get busy, especially over the summer months.
I had heard mixed reviews from people about Hobbiton but most of the negative reviews were from people who had visited before it was rebuilt for the filming of the Hobbit in 2011. On the tour we were told about walls that kept having to be rebuilt as it didn’t look exactly how it had in Lord of the Rings, the set that was built in 2011 is an exact replica of the original!!
We arrived at Hobbiton and it was a beautiful day, New Zealand were in the middle of a big drought that summer and the fields surrounding Hobbiton were not very green, we got ourselves booked in and waited for our tour. The only way around Hobbiton is on a guided tour and our tour guide was one of the sons of the farmer whose land Hobbiton was built on. We boarded our school bus and this then took us through the 1,250 acre sheep farm where we got our first glimpse of the 12 acres of Hobbiton in the distance.
While we were on the tour we were told how Peter Jackson spotted the farm while on an aerial search in 1998 and how he said the area was “like a slice of ancient England”. He then came and spoke to the owners and finally work commenced in 1999. Originally they built 37 Hobbit holes but there are now 44 unique hobbit holes, the Green Dragon Pub, Mill, double arched bridge and the famous Party Tree. It was built a year before filming so that the place had cracks and weeds growing and the gardens looked established so it looked like a real place and not a film set.
The original set was not built to last as the hobbit holes were built with untreated timber, ply and polystyrene and so none of the hobbit holes had doors and everything was removed after filming, there were no gardens, you could only see the frame of the hobbit hole. In 2010 after discussions with Peter Jackson it was agreed that a permanent set would be built for the filming of the Hobbit so that the tourists could come and experience Hobbiton as it looks in the film.
This place is amazing, it looks spectacular, from the beautiful painted Hobbit holes, to the washing on the lines, the paths to the Hobbit holes that are worn down, the smoke coming out of the chimneys. It actually looks like the Hobbits live there but they are hiding while we are doing the tour. There is an allotment where real vegetables are grown and the gardens around the Hobbit holes are beautiful.
Once we had walked around and seen the Hobbit holes it was past the mill, across the bridge and to The Green Dragon Inn, which was featured in the Lord of the Rings as the meeting place for the residents of Hobbiton, this has been replicated and the inside recreated to look how it did in the films. Inside you get the chance to try an ale, cider or ginger beer. As I am a lover of cider of course I tried this, it was great.
Finally our tour was over and it was time to walk back past the lake and get one final glimpse of Hobbiton across the lake, I had fallen in love with this place and would of moved there in a second!! Despite the tourists it was such a beautiful, peaceful place.
It costs 79 New Zealand dollars which is about £44 but it is well worth it, it is a great day out, you won’t be disappointed.
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Find out about Why I started travelling here, Miami Beach here, Key West here, Everglades here, Bolton Abbey here, Naples here, Koh Tao here, Yangon – Myanmar here, Ischica – Italy here, Koyasan – Japan here, Machu Picchu – Peru here, Memphis here, Faro – The Algarve here, Fiji – South Sea Island here, Egypt – My trip in a hot air balloon here, Doutbful Sound – NZ here, Death Road – Bolivia here, Iguazu Falls here
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