Before we begin our two weeks self-drive journey to the South Island of New Zealand, Eva and I made a day trip to the Hobbiton Movie Set located in Matamata. It is a must-visit destination for all The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies’ fans. The only way to access the Hobbiton Movie Set is with a fully guided walking tour that cost NZ$158 for two people (inclusive of GST). 😁
Hobbiton™ Movie Set @ Matamata
The Hobbiton™ Movie Set is located in the Alexander family sheep farm, a privately own property in Matamata, a small agricultural town in the heart of the Waikato region, nestled at the base of the Kaimai ranges, about a two-hour drive from Auckland, New Zealand and within easy access of Rotorua, Waitomo, Tauranga and Hamilton.
Peter Jackson fell in love with the beauty of the rolling grassland landscape in 1998 and the rest they say is history. The Hobbiton™ Movie Set gives visitors a chance to experience the real Middle-earth™ where you can step into the lush pastures of The Shire™, as seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.
Bookings are essential as the Hobbiton Movie Set is only accessible via guided tour and places are limited. Good news is tours and coach transfers are available from Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton. Farmstay packages and Bed & Breakfast accommodation within the Matamata and surrounding regions are also available for bookings in partnership with Rural Tours Ltd.
Bus Ride from Matamata i-SITE Visitor Information Centre
Our trip to Hobbiton™ Movie Set began at Matamata i-SITE Visitor Information Centre. We paid NZ$158 for two people (inclusive of GST) for our guided tour and booked the 2pm slot for the day. Tours depart daily from 9.30am until 2.30pm and additional tours departing at 3.30pm operate 1 September to 30 September. The entire tour is expected to take approximately three hours including transfers.
The Hobbiton™ Movie Set bus arrived on time and we were welcomed onto the bus with a big smile by Bee, our bus friendly and cheerful driver for the day. As we made our way into the Alexander family sheep farm and the movie set, we were treated to a video about the making of Hobbiton™ Movie Set and even got to know the story of how seven lucky Kiwis made it onto the screen as dwarves. 🇳🇿🙌
To know the story, you just got to book a guided tour to Hobbiton™ Movie Set! 😉 The bus ride took about 30 minutes, stopping by The Shire’s Rest™ to pick-up the remaining visitors and our amazing tour guide, Cane. The view throughout the journey was spectacular – rolling grasslands stretched as far as the eyes can see, littered with herds of sheep. At this moment, we knew we were getting close to our destination.
The Shire, Bag End & 44 Unique Hobbit-Holes
Before we ventured into the Hobbiton™ Movie Set, our tour guide reminded us of several rules to follow which includes keep to paths, no smoking and the perimeter fence is electrified. After that, we begin our journey into the magical place – The Shire, where the Hobbits call home. It was a surreal experience to see the place with our own eyes!
The little Hobbit village is stunningly beautiful and picture-perfect. There were plenty of photo opportunities here and there. Those wanting to indulge in the experience and make it a little more fun and/or memorable could dress up as one of the Hobbits like I did. I rented my Hobbit costume from the hostel that we stayed in Matamata for NZ$15 per day. What a steal! 💗
The Shire, also known as Hobbiton is a village of 44 Hobbit-holes dug into the hillside, surrounded by hobbit gardens and fertile orchards. Bag End is the most recognisable Hobbit hole of all as it is the home of Bilbo Baggins. Our tour guide took us to every inch and corner of the 12-acre wide movie set, passionately explained the history and shared interesting facts of the place with us. We were also given ample time to take photos along the way.
The Green Dragon™ Inn & Hobbit Costumes
At the Green Dragon™ Inn, each visitor is offered a selection of Hobbit™ Southfarthing™ range of complimentary drink to choose from – two traditional ales, apple cider or non-alcoholic ginger beer, all brewed exclusively for Hobbiton, and are served from barrels behind the bar.
We had a taste of the delicious apple cider and chilled in front of the cosy fireplace and an interesting-looking windowpane too. There is also a delicious range of traditional fayre available for purchase. There is plenty of space for everyone to sit and chill in the The Green Dragon™ Inn.
As we explored more areas of the fascinating and spacious inn, we spotted some Hobbit clothes/costumes (hats, aprons) hanging in the corner, near the entrance/exit to the Bywater Beer Garden. We found out that visitors are welcomed to put on the costume and take a quick photo before leaving the inn which was a fun thing to do.
In a Nutshell
Like all tours, we ended our trip with a visit to the souvenir shop called the Hobbiton Store. Again, there were plenty of photo opportunities here. Finally, we bid farewell to our tour guide and boarded the same bus back to the Matamata i-SITE. That marked the end of our 1-Day Hobbiton™ Movie Set Guided Tour. At the end of the day, visiting the movie set was a worthwhile experience. We can finally say that we went to The Shire and back! 🔮🧙♂️🙌
501 Buckland Road
Free phone: 0508 4 HOBBITON
Contact Details: +64 (7) 888 1505