Today I visited Hobbiton, a colorful camp of Hobbit houses and gardens used in the filming of The Lord of the Rings film series. I had seen all the movies and thought, when in New Zealand! So I made my way through the countryside to the Shire. After parking my car and getting my ticket, I hopped on the 8:30am bus that led us to the set amongst rolling green hills and sheep pastures. Luckily, being the first tour of the day, we didn’t have a full tour and no other groups were in front of us as we explored the set.
Right from the start, you are led through an enchanting little town that seems real in every way. A full vegetable garden was overflowing with fresh pumpkins, while nearby fruit trees with miniature ladders held apples in baskets below. Each winding, narrow path led to another Hobbit hole with a brightly painted doorway. Small accents made each house unique and every detail was thought of. You really felt transported into another world, one where the inhabitants were only 3 feet tall. Small clothes dangled from the clotheslines in the yard. Tiny brooms and garden tools lay next to the front door. One of my favorite things were the sweet mailboxes in front of every home. I adored it all and soon wanted a house with a blue circle door in front and a sod roof.
Near the end of the tour, everyone heads to the Green Dragon Inn for a free drink. It’s a cozy place, heavy with dark wood and golden lamplight. Old fashioned benches and chairs next to fireplaces invite you stay and relax. It’s the perfect ending to a wonderful tour. I didn’t know if it would be worth visiting the Hobbiton Movie Set, but I felt the experience was a treat while being fun with the right amount of wonder. If you plan on visiting New Zealand, I’d be sure to add this to your list of sights to see.
At the time of this entry, my ticket cost $79 NZD (around $52 USD). Buy your tickets in advance online and remember to get them printed at the ticket window on arrival.
The tour lasts about two hours and is easy walking on dirt paths. Bring sunscreen as there is little shade, though umbrellas are provided.
Leave your tripod at home, the tour is fast moving and there is little room for photo equipment on the small paths.
Visit the store before your tour to avoid the crowds later. It can get very busy with long lines.
For an alternate version, there’s an evening tour with dinner included that looked even more magical with the set lit up beautifully.
For more information visit the Hobbiton Tours website.