I love Tolkien; the fantasy world he created is brilliant.
Peter Jackson fulfilled the novel fantasy by using New Zealand as the scenery for Middle Earth. Because of this, I knew I had to go to New Zealand one day – Especially since the movie set of Hobbiton was left up for tourists to visit.
We planned our trip to New Zealand with many outdoor adventures, but the tourist attraction that is Hobbiton stayed at the top of my list. I probably exclaimed to my husband every half an hour on the plane that I couldn’t wait for us to land in New Zealand because “HOBBITON!”
After our brief stay in Auckland to buy a campervan, we were off to check-off the more tourist driven attractions on our travel list. We first went to Waitomo Caves since it was on the way. We put on wet suits and crawled around in Waitomo Caves behind our tour guide. We floated down rivers in the caves, jumped off waterfalls, and gazed upon the glowworms lighting up the ceilings of the caves. It was beautiful!
The next day though was the best day of my life: the day I finally stepped foot into Hobbiton!
We had bought our tickets for the tour online in advance (and yes I recommend you doing this because it would be rare during the high tourist season to get one once you arrive). As we were driving, there aren’t too many signs about Hobbiton until you get closer, and then it appears.. well, the parking and bus location.
I was bouncing in my seat when I saw the sign. We quickly parked the van so I could get out and look around. We checked-in at the booth and got our papers (a Hobbiton brochure and ticket voucher). We arrived early because I wanted to look around the gift shop and enjoy the cafe.
The cafe walls have adorable sketches of Hobbits. The artwork is based on the sketches for the movies. We sat and enjoyed a coffee and light bites from the cafe for a bit while reading through the information pamphlet.
We then went to the gift shop. Casey and I picked up some postcards to send back to our family in the US. There we so many cute LOTR and HOBBIT items in the gift-shop I would have loved to own, but I didn’t want to carry them around in my bag for the whole year we planned to be in New Zealand.
It was soon our time to board the bus for the Hobbiton tour. The tour included a drink at the Green Dragon, and I had to run back to the van to grab our passports because I almost forgot them (they ID everyone at the pub).
The bus ride was short, but included fun facts from our tour guide and a short film about the making of the movies. The bus dropped us off at the Hobbiton sign, and the tour guide gave us some rules (and allowed for some pictures) before she began the tour.
As we followed the path I almost had tears as I soon saw the little Hobbit house doors and gardens. The tour guide was amazing at giving us information about how the set was used to film the movies. The Hobbit doors are different sizes, to ensure that the sizing for the movie made sense with different people (i.e. size comparison between wizards, elves, men, and hobbits).
The gardens in Hobbiton are fully functional, and the staff gardeners that take care of them get to keep all the food they grow!
Near the entrance is where the scene of Bilbo running out and shouting “I’m going on an adventure” was filmed (in the movie The Hobbit). I was able to get to re-enact this scene for everyone in the group. This was also the moment where I learned that most of the people in our group had never seen the LOTR (Lord of the Rings) or The Hobbit movies.. and I was shocked! It turns out people are mainly interested in the tour because they know it’s a famous movie set (not for the magic it represents to those who have watched the movies and/or read the books).
The tour continued through the paths of Hobbiton and I was so happy to see the attention to detail put into the set. Smoke coming from chimneys, signs on display, and the care for each home and the surrounding area.
I kept peering up to the most coveted home in Hobbition, Bag End (where first Bilbo lives, and then Frodo inherits), high on the hill overlooking the Hobbit homes and gardens below. I was thrilled when we finally made it to the top of the hill and were standing in front of Bag End!
After Bag End we made our way down to the ‘Party Tree’ – seen in the movies where Bilbo gives his birthday speech. Our tour guide gave us more information about the actors and how they actually had a party during the time it took to shoot the movie scenes.
After winding through more Hobbit homes, including stopping by Sam’s house, we were through Hobbiton and off to the last stop: the Green Dragon. Where we would be able to rest while enjoying a pint of ale from the pub.
We had around a half hour to grab our drink and walk around this area. There were so many details included inside and outside of the Green Dragon Pub. Let me tell you, it felt as though a dream had been fulfilled as we enjoyed our ales sitting in that pub!
We finished our drinks and soon our tour guides was moving us on the back trail to Hobbiton, while telling us more information about the movie set. We saw a few more Hobbit homes and the main area before exiting Hobbiton. It was a very sad good-bye.
I loved every moment I was able to spend in Hobbiton. It was a lovely day for it too! I hope that my husband and I can plan one more trip to Hobbiton before we leave New Zealand, though I would prefer to go and attend one of the dinner events!
Have you ever been to Hobbiton, or is it on your travel list? Let me know by leaving a comment in the section below!
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