New Zealand - the country on the edge of the world and home to Hobbiton, legendary movie set of The Lord of The Rings (LOTR) and The Hobbit trilogies.
Hobbiton Movie Set is without doubt the most famous New Zealand attraction located in the middle of North Island (good two hours and a half ride south of Auckland) and is a must do for anyone traveling to New Zealand.
As someone who is a big fan of visiting movie locations and who has seen all of the LOTR and Hobbit movies, visiting this place was a no brainer.
The average price of a return tour from Auckland to Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves (world famous for their glow worms) is around 350 AUD. I have booked my Waitomo Caves & Hobbiton Movie Set - Full Day Tour With Lunch - Ex Auckland via bookme.co.nz for 245 AUD which included transportation, guided tour of Hobbiton Movie Set, buffet lunch at Hobbiton (so yummy!), guided tour of Waitomo Caves and free WiFi on the coach.
Hobbiton Movie Set is situated on Alexander farm. This private farm was first discovered in September 1998 and when the request for filming was first presented to the owner of the farm - he refused it (it is said the owner was too busy watching rugby to deal with location scouts).
Site construction for LOTR began in March 1999 with filming starting in December 1999. They were filming on the site for three months before moving the filming to the studios.
39 Hobbit Holes, the oak tree overlooking Bag End, The Mill, double arch bridge and The Green Dragon Inn were built for the filming purposes.
The set was built for filming purposes only, thus cheap materials have been used. However, the farm gained a lot of interest from the tourist and when the set was rebuilt in 2009 for The Hobbit trilogy - it was rebuilt using permanent materials so it could be used for tourism purposes.
Filming of The Hobbit began in October 2011 and lasted only 12 days. (Construction of the site took 2 years!)
The adventre starts at The Shire's Rest ticketing centre.
You can only access the set in a tour group as the property is situated on private land. A short bus ride takes you to the start of the tour and friendly tour guide leads you through the 12 acre site where you can visit 44 Hobbit holes.
The smaller tree on top of the hill is fake and it was constructed for the filming of the movies.
Complimentary drink at The Green Dragon Inn.
Traditional ales, cider and non alcoholic ginger beer, all brewed exclusively for Hobbiton, are served from barrels behind the bar at the Green Dragon Inn.
Marquee Festive Feast Lunch.
“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-hole, and that means comfort.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
After the delicious buffet lunch in Hobbiton it was time for us to depart The Shire and make our way towards Waitomo where we were about to see Waitomo Caves. The Caves are one of the most popular attractions in New Zealand as they are home to hundreds of glow worms. Glow worms are not actually worms but larvae (maggots) of a special kind of fly that glow in the dark, transforming the cave's ceiling into underground milky way.
The tour consists of a short guided tour of the caves and concludes with a boat ride in the complete darkness so you can observe the glow worms in all their beauty.
You sadly cannot take photos inside the caves so this is the only photo that I have from there.
I absolutely loved Hobbiton and I would really recommend it to anyone visiting New Zealand no matter if they've seen the movies or not. The whole place is very well kept and takes you on an unforgettable magical journey through The Middle Earth. Make sure to take plenty of photos, try drinks brewed specially for The Green Dragon Inn, enjoy the delicious lunch and grab a postcard or a souvenir so you can keep a piece of this magical place no matter where you go.
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