Monday, 5 February 2018

Hobbiton Movie Set Tours

On my way down the country from Auckland to Rolleston I stopped off at Hobbiton. As a tried and true Tolkien fan as well as of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies (The Hobbit ones less so) it seemed too good an opportunity to miss. Located at 501 Buckland Road, Hinuera, Matamata at just 2+ hours from Auckland it is easily accessible. You arrive having sensibly bought your $79 ticket online so as to be sure not to miss out on your guided tour.
It's all very organised with buses arriving and departing from the central point regularly with specific times for each group. You must stay with your appointed group. A bus arrives to take you to the Hobbiton Movie set and as you go the driver gives instructions and shows video  introductions and welcomes from the farm owner and Peter Jackson. It sets the scene nicely and we are shown clips from the movies; a preview of what we will personally experience.
It's a 12 acre set on the 1250 acre Alexander sheep farm, one of the largest in the area. Your group has a guide and you must stay on the path and not get separated. There's a working vege garden where the gardeners get to take produce home, complemented by 39 hobbit holes, all with their own individual construction and external decor.
A lot of attention is required to keep everything looking realistic and livable but NO you can't go inside a hobbit hole; they are just fronts. There's nothing to see inside. You will get some exercise going up and down the hills but it's not difficult. Photo opportunities abound IF you are with a friend, otherwise you'll need to ask your tour guide to take a snap of you.

Down by the Party Tree it's worth reflecting that the enormous tree that features so prominently in the Fellowship of the Ring is artificial for the most part and needs weekly maintenance as the leaves tend to blow off. Clearly a labour of love and attention. There wasn't a lot much else on the party field. The weather was unpleasantly windy so we didn't linger much. Of course the most popular hole to visit is Bag End on Bagshot Row but the set dressing of the other holes is charming, especially Sam Gamgee's one with the yellow door as seen in the  last frames of the Return of the King where he returns home to Rosie and their daughter after seeing off Frodo and Bilbo et al at the Grey Havens.
After that it's on past the mill and then we arrive at the Green Dragon Inn. Here at least we can really go inside and partake of munchies and in my case a cider. You get one free drink. It's dressed nicely and a bit atmospheric. On the way back to the drop-off point we watched concluding videos and could reflect that it's a well organised enterprise. Expensive to run but obviously very successful. New Zealand needs more of these themed activities. For further information go to: www.hobbitontours,com    There's an evening banquet tour if you're up to that. I was seduced by th Shire Shop alongside the Shire's rest cafe. With so many of my LOTR statuettes broken to various degrees by all my moves I just needed a little something that wasn't broken. The statuettes are still very pricey but you can find smaller items to fit your budget. I got a small statuette of Arwen reading, a keyring, a small tray and a Hobbit T-shirt with Smaug on it. Cool!  for more information go to


Humaun Kabir said...
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