“In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hold, and that means comfort.”J.R.R Tolkien
Welcome fellow Ringers to yet another article that will transport you to a mythical, fantastical realm. In this article, we will tell you all about the Hobbiton tours. The widely acclaimed film set of Hobbiton, nestled in an idyllic location near Matamata on a sheep farm, resonates with beauty and magic. People from far and wide travel to the place to bask in its beauty and pay homage to the esteemed writer J.R.R Tolkien. Whereas some individuals visit the place just to experience rural New Zealand.
Nevertheless, the place is simply entrancing and will transport you back to the bygone era of tranquility and simplicity. Let’s talk about Hobbiton in detail and explore this majestic place together in this the ultimate guide to Hobbiton
The Ultimate Guide to Hobbiton – At a Glance
The Ultimate Guide to Hobbiton – An Overview
History of Hobbiton – The Ultimate Guide to Hobbiton
In the year 1998, the renowned film director, Sir Peter Jackson and his team of location scouts searched far and wide for the iconic lush green pastures and rolling hills of Hobbiton. After countless days of searching, their efforts were rewarded as an aerial search led them to a slice of heaven, the Alexander farm. The Alexander farm was a stunning 1,250-acre sheep farm, nestled in the heart of Waikato. Upon finding the place Jackson couldn’t believe his luck. The resemblance of the area to The Shire described by J.R.R Tolkien was mouth gapingly uncanny. Upon witnessing the place Sir Peter Jackson ecstatically released, the Hobbits had found a home.
“Bother burgling and everything to do with it! I wish I was at home in my nice hole by the fire, with the kettle just beginning to sing!”Bilbo Baggins
Getting to Hobbiton – The Ultimate Guide to Hobbiton
The Hobbiton movie set is located in a quiet farming area called Hinuera and is roughly 16km away from Matamata. Given below is a rough guideline of how long it would take one to reach Hobbiton from various places around the North Island:
- From Auckland Central – 2 to 2.5 hours
- From Cambridge – 30 minutes
- From Tauranga – 45 minutes
- From Hamilton – 55 minutes
- From Rotorua – 1 hour
- From Taupo – 1.5 hours
- From Waitomo – 1.5 hours
- From Wellington – 6.5 hours
If you are driving yourself, there is car parking available, even for campers. However, if you are without a car there are numerous ways via which you can reach Hobbiton from wherever you are. Public buses are always at your disposal and don’t cost a lot. Moreover, there are also guided tours from Auckland available that offer transportation. Some of them are mentioned below:
- Bush and Beach
- Great Sights
- Travel Headfirst
- TIME Unlimited Tours
- Cheeky Kiwi Tours
- Auckland and Beyond Tours
Where to Stay – The Ultimate Guide to Hobbiton
Even though you cannot stay in the Bag End and other famous hobbit holes there are several accommodations available near Hobbiton, that offer the utmost comfort and top-notch amenities.
Kaimai Sunset Bread and Breakfast – This bread and breakfast is located at a 20-minute drive from the Hobbiton movie set and harbors its very own hobbit hole for all the Tolkien fans out there. The B&B is surrounded by beautiful mountains that will rejuvenate your senses.
Matamata Lodge – One of the most popular places where Hobbiton visitors prefer to stay is the Matamata Lodge. It is a bread and breakfast that offers its guests free continental breakfast as well as cycling and hiking opportunities. The Matamata Lodge is decorated with modernity in mind and resonates with a very luxurious feel.
Villa Walton Bed and Breakfast – This bed and breakfast is a 20-minute drive from the Hobbiton set and offers its guest accommodations within a historic homestead that was established in 1904. Set in a picturesque location, the Victorian villa overlooks the Kaimai ranges and local dairy farms.
Tickets – The Ultimate Guide to Hobbiton
Until 30th November the cost of a Hobbiton movie set ticket will be:
- Adult (17 and over) – $89NZD
- Youth (9 to 16 years) – $44NZD
- Child/infant (0 to 8 years) – Free
- Family Pass (includes 2x adults, 2 youth) – $225
From December 1st the price of tickets will increase slightly:
- Adult (18 and over) – $120NZD
- Youth (11 to 17 years) – $60NZD
- Child/infant (0 to 10 years) – Free
- Family Pass (includes 2x adults, 2 youth) – $306
The prices given above are only for the Hobbiton movie set tour. There are several other tickets available, providing a more immersive experience, like Hobbiton movie set tour + meal combo, second breakfast tour, private tour, and Hobbiton movie set evening banquet tour. For bookings and more details, you can visit the Hobbiton Tours site.
What to Expect – The Ultimate Guide to Hobbiton
The tour of the Hobbiton movie set starts at The Shire’s Rest where you can pick up your tickets, get coffee, and check out the gift shop. You will be asked to step onto the tour bus where you will be shown videos like interviews with Peter Jackson, and the Alexander family, a few movie excerpts as well as behind-the-scenes footage that will make you feel magical and compel you to jump with ecstatic joy.
The First stop of the tour is the “Hobbiton” sign where your guide will inform you about the rules such as what you can and can’t touch, not straying away from the tour group, and countless others. As the tour begins you will find yourself getting engulfed by the immense feeling of nostalgia and might find your cheeks wet with tears of joy. The hobbit holes in the movie set are of three different sizes and were made this way to cater to the hobbits, Gandalf, and the dwarves. There is only one Hobbit hole that you can go inside, which is located near Bilbo’s hole.
Towards the end of the tour, you are given the freedom to explore the place by yourself before heading into the Great Dragon Inn. The tour also includes a drink from Hobbiton’s own Southfarthing rang, brewed by Good George Brewing. You get a choice of four drinks namely Sackville Apple Cider, Oatbarton Traditional English Ale, Girdley Fine Grain Amber Ale, and Frogmorton Ginger Beer.
You can enjoy your drink by lounging on the comfy armchairs, whilst warming yourself by the open fire. Tourists are given a total of 20 minutes to relax before they are rounded up and taken back to the Shire’s Rest.
How Much Time Does the Tour Take?
The guided tour around the Hobbiton movie set takes about 2 hours. During the tour, you will be provided insights about how the film set was constructed and used in the movies, the history of Hobbiton as well as other interesting facts about the enchanting place.
Events and Banquets – The Ultimate Guide to Hobbiton
If you truly wish to immerse yourself in the Hobbiton experience, then you should sign up for the Evening banquet tours. These tours are held four times every week and offer an immersive experience where guests are shown around the Hobbiton film set at dusk and are then taken to the Green Dragon Inn where they are treated to a scrumptious feast fit for a hobbit. If you wish to enjoy this experience, you will have to pre-book the tour, as the slots for Evening banquet tours are limited. The price of the Evening Banquet Tour until November 30th, 2023, will be:
- Adult (17 and over) – $199NZD
- Youth (9 to 16 years) – $162NZD
- Child (5 to 8 years) – $104NZD
- Infant (0 to 4 years) – Free
From December 1st, 2023, the price of the Evening Banquet Tour will increase slightly:
- Adult (18 and over) – $230NZD
- Youth (11 to 17 years) – $177NZD
- Child (5 to 10 years) – $119NZD
- Infant (0 to 4 years) – Free
The team at Hobbiton also organizes spectacular events throughout the year for various occasions like the Summer Harvest Festival, International Hobbit Day, and much more. For a more intimate experience you can even opt for a private tour. Moreover, diehard Tolkien fans can also host their weddings at the place.
Tips For Visiting Hobbiton – The Ultimate Guide to Hobbiton
- Make sure to book your tickets in advance especially for exclusive events like Evening Banquets Tours as they tend to get sold out pretty quickly.
- Hobbiton is New Zealand’s third largest tourist destination so be prepared for crowds. The place is quite bust and is jampacked with tourists throughout the year. Statistics show that a total of 3,000 wide-eyed Tolkien fans visit Hobbiton in a day.
- Peter Jackson and his talented crew are applauded for their attention to detail, so make sure to look out for the little details during your visit. Hobbiton has been kitted out with all the minute details that give it a homey feeling. From pots of honey outside the beekeeper’s house to a picnic lunch set up on the wharf, every detail makes the place feel like home.
- For the ultimate Hobbiton experience, make sure to book the Evening Banquet tours. Nothing beats strolling Hobbiton as the sun sets, coloring the sky in hues of gold, pink, and orange, with the shadows dancing around on the lush fields.
For all the Harry Potter fans out there, we have written an article that provides the ultimate guide to visiting the magical place, just hop on to our article and read to find out more.