My Point of Heu
I've never seen the Lord of the Rings movies... I know I know they are amazing and wonderful. I just haven't gotten around to sitting down and watching the movies in their entirety.
It may surprise you to hear that on a trip to New Zealand I stopped by the actual Hobbiton movie set. Even though I hadn't seen the films I was familiar with the cast, storyline and tidbits about the movies. It was a great journey to Matamata to see and experience.
Before making our way to the tour facility and then jumping on a short bus ride to the set, we stopped at a local pub for drinks and a bite. Then we made our way to the guided tour and got to experience the background, behind the scenes, and hear the stories behind the film and the remaining set.
Discovered in 1998 the 1,250 acre sheep farm was scouted by movie location officials and deemed the perfect location for Hobbiton. Because of a towering pine tree and beautiful lake nestled within the rolling green hills producers believed this was exactly what they' were looking for and matched the J.R.R. Tolkien shire described in the book.
In March 1999 crews began construction on the temporary movie set and with the help of the New Zealand Army the 39 temporary hobbit hole community was built, then torn down after filming wrapped.
Ten years later the trilogy continued and it was decided to rebuild the set again but with permanent materials and thereby perpetuating the splendor and wonder that is now Hobbiton forever. 44 hobbit holes and the Green Dragon Inn bar and lounge remain as a focal point for visitors and guests from around the globe.
Once you arrive on-property you are escorted in with your friendly tour guide. This is a photographer's dream as the set is extremely photogenic and each hobbit hole boasts something unique and visually appealing. The traditional Hobbiton movie set tour includes background information on the location (Alexander Family sheep farm). The guide will highlight specialty areas on property and engage with guests to answer any and all questions.
What amazed me was the landscaping and upkeep of this site. The fresh produce and vibrant gardens are all real. The apples, pumpkins, gerber daisies and an abundance of flora and fauna, are all well kept and meticulously maintained. They have about half a dozen on-site gardeners to maintain the property along with worker volunteers who spend their spare time maintaining the gardens as well.
Each hobbit hole is unique and comes in a variety of colors and decor. You can wander, find your favorites and take photos of the exterior. It may sadden you to find out that there is nothing inside and the interior is just a dug out hole in a hill with wood in it. But for the most part you are not allowed inside the holes and can mainly take photos and videos from the outer gate, at the door or at times when there is something to pose with.
It's highly suggested you book your tours in advance as these sell out.
Tours are held daily and offer a variety of pick-up spots.
Price starts at $84 adult and $42 children 9-16 years-old.
The duration of the tour/time spent on-site is about 2.5-3 hours.
Here's a brief video of the site, experience, tour and etc. Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel for more adventures!