Hope you all are gearing up for a delicious turkey dinner. Here in New Zealand for dinner we are having pizza. Oh well, my mom promised me Thanksgiving when we return to the US in April.
Have guys heard of Hobbiton?? When I was first researching about New Zealand, I thought it was a joke. But it is real. The family whose farm was transformed into a Hobbiton set, for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, are now letting fans and your general tourist tour it.
Going to Hobbiton was never high on my New Zealand to do list. I knew my husband wanted to go since he loved the movies and the books. So I did a little research. When I visited the website, it did not persuade me. All it did was scare me off with the price. 75nzd for one person to tour?!?! That’s crazy especially because at the time all I thought Hobbiton was was just the door to Bilbo Baggins house and a tourist cafe, and I was NOT going to pay $75 per person for that!
So we decided early on that we would save the money and skip Hobbiton. But fate would have it on the last full day of our road trip, I picked up a tourist pamphlet and I saw a Hobbiton add that finally explained to me what there is to see. So I looked at the map, and what do you know Hobbiton was only an hour drive from where we were. It took very little persuaded Bryan to get on board. And then we were off to Hobbiton!
Hobbiton is located 8kms from the town of Matamata, you can either drive yourself to the launching point aka Shires Rest, or take a bus (at no extra cost) from Matamatas visitor center (isite). We did not know about the latter option until after the fact, so we drove. But it was not so easy to find our way because there are no signs in the town of Matamata pointing the way. And needless to say we got lost a few times, even with calls and wrong directions given from the Hobbiton staff. But eventually we found our way.
Once we bought our tickets, the next tour was leaving within minutes. Tours leave from the “Shires Rest” every 30 minutes. The first part of the tour is a bus ride from Shires Rest to Hobbiton itself, only about a 5 minute ride. The tour size varies, but at its largest I would guess a tour would be about 40 people. You know a bus load, whatever number that is.
Once you step off the bus, you are given the rules and regulations, and a short walk later you are in Hobbiton!
We were immediately awe-struck by the amount of detail. I figured that it was going to be run down, and just have a few doors here and there. But boy was I wrong, all the details where there, from hobbit cloths on the line to food on the table, and there were too many hobbit holes to count! It was as if a film crew could come tomorrow and film.
We were joined by two knowledgeable guides who led us through a loop route. Our guides gave us ample time to take photos, answer questions and even snap a photo of you if you ask nicely. I was expecting an interpretive tour, but there was less talk and more time to snap photos, which was great for everyone in our group.
You are led up a small hill, past dozens of hobbit holes.
And finally at the top of the hill you arrived at the most famous hobbit hole. Otherwise known as Bilbo Baggins House.
From Bilbo’s, you head down the hill to a grassy knoll that overlooks the Green Dragon Inn.
It’s now time to head across the bridge to the Green Dragon to enjoy a brew, on the house!
We were given about 20 minutes to enjoy The Green Dragon. The little touch of giving visitors a free beverage of choice was the cherry on top for us. We were already having a great time, throw in a free beer and we are over the moon! If you wanted The Green Dragon also has a small food menu. We just opted for a second brew.
The Green Dragon, just like the rest of Hobbiton was filled with little details everywhere!
Even little hobbit notes tacked up on the wall! The Green Dragon is what I wish every bar was like: Homey, cheapish beer, a bar cat, and just an all around good atmosphere. But too soon our 20 minutes was up and it was time to go.
Our time in Hobbiton was beyond everything I thought it was going to be. I suggest if you are touring the North Island of New Zealand take a day and stop by Hobbiton, it is worth a visit!