After the release of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy in 2001 and 2012 respectively, Hobbiton became New Zealand’s largest tourist attraction.
The hyper-realistically constructed movie set built by the Lord of the Rings director’s crew makes visitors feel like they’ve traveled to a land far beyond our land.
It truly feels like Middle Earth.
Wandering through the streets of Hobbiton feels just like wandering through Middle Earth.
You almost expect to meet Bilbo, Gandalf, and the rest of the merry band of Hobbits.
The attention to detail at Hobbiton, and the fact that you can go there yourself, are both truly spectacular.
Thanks to the tours offered by Hobbiton Tours, everyone can experience these wonders.
Hobbiton is located near Matamata, about a two-hour drive from Auckland and an hour’s drive from Rotorua.
Before starting your tour, go to the main entrance and check out the gift store, the small café, and the restrooms (We advise you to use them, it will be quite a long tour).
Can I go to Hobbiton without a tour guide?
While you can drive yourself to the location where the filming takes place, you cannot visit the set without a guide.
You must book an appointment to visit Hobbiton and decide at what time of day you will be taking the tour.
The price tag is high at $84 for an adults’ ticket and $42 for children’s tickets, but well worth it!
For children under 8 years old, tickets are free.
Tours start at 9 am and end at 3:30 pm. They usually take two hours.
You must be there at least fifteen minutes before your tour begins.
Depending on the time of year, there could be extended hours.
If you want to add breakfast or lunch to your ticket, you can choose between two options: Breakfast (at $26 per person) or Lunch (at $36 per person).
You can also extend your visit by up to a full hour.
There are also snack options available at the café, including meat pies and muffins, priced between $3-$6.
Things to know before you take a tour to Hobbiton
A surprise is the fact that Hobbiton is not big at all.
Hobbiton actually contains exactly 44 different hobbit holes, located at various points along a steep hillside and across its surroundings.
But here’s the real shocker – there’s no room inside any of these 43 Hobbit houses!
Well, basically there is no way to open the doors.
The scenes inside the hobbits’ homes were shot elsewhere and only one door could be opened which led to a more or less deserted room.
Nevertheless, just moving the squeaking door and entering the room gives you the impression that this IS real after all.
Make sure you’re prepared for the weather.
It’s safe to assume that the Alexander farm has a unique climate.
It’s not unusual for the weather to change quickly.
A calm, sunny morning may seem like an ideal time for a walk, but if you don’t prepare yourself for the weather change, you could end up soaked by the afternoon.
I still remember as I walked into Hobbiton for the first time, the sky was clear and the weather was sunny.
Once we were on set, though, it began raining.
By the point we reached Bag End, the sun had come out and the sky was clear again.
Here is my free tip for you. Wear layers, and take an umbrella if there’s any possibility of rain at all.
Can you go inside the houses at Hobbiton?
You can’t enter any of the homes, the interior scenes were shot at Weta Workshop in New Zealand, but you can look through some of the windows.
There is one house where you can open the doors but it is empty on the inside. Shame.
You won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything because there are so many details to see on the houses and the surrounding areas.
Each house has different props outside which hint at who lives there. A chessboard, beehive, sack of flour, wheel of cheese, giant pumpkin, pestle and mortar, or an easel.
It has an actual garden and orchard, and its fence posts are made from an authentic-looking fake old mold.
There are also flowers blooming everywhere in the village.
It’ll be hard for people to tell whether something is fake or not.
Cool and interesting facts about Hobbiton
Interesting fact #1: It took many long hours of work for the movie sets to be finished. Not surprising, given the amount of detail involved.
However, the actual shooting took place for only a month for the Lord Of The Rings trilogy and only a couple of days were required to shoot the Hobbit scenes.
During filming, there were more than 400 people living on the property, including actors, crew members, and extras.
It must have been an amazing experience for everyone involved.
Interesting fact nº2: The original scenes were constructed from simple materials such as polystyrene, meaning they weren’t meant to be permanent.
As fans who wanted to know where the hobbits lived began to pour in, the team decided to create a real Hobbiton out of more durable materials.
Interesting Fact #3: The Hobbiton Movie Set is located on privately owned land, belonging to the Alexander family. It has remained as farmland since its creation.
Supposedly they hadn’t even been aware of Jackson’s existence until someone came knocking at their door and suggested the craziest idea of making The Lord of the Rings film here.
I think that was the day they won the lotto.
History of Hobbiton
Jackson teamed up with Rings Scenics Tour Ltd to let movie lovers visit the newly rebuilt and permanent filming location which is located in New Zealand near Matamata.
The first visit to the movie set for the Lord of the Rings trilogy took place in 2002. Thousands of people have been there since then.
It took the film crew about 9 months to fully construct Hobbiton at the Alexander family farm on Buckland Road.
A total of 44 Hobbit houses were constructed and The Mill and Double Arch Bridge were built.
The large existing tree planted in the middle of the park was already perfectly suited to the Hobbiton landscape, so they named it the “Party Tree” because hobbits are merry people who enjoy parties.