The Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand, will make you feel like you’ve just stepped into the world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “The Hobbit” films and books.
First opened in 2002, Hobbiton is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in New Zealand, drawing in more than 350,000 visitors a year.
When you enter the 1,250-acre Alexander Farm, you’ll see 37 hobbit holes waiting to be explored.
You can step inside the house of Bilbo Baggins and see where Samwise Gamgee and Rosie Cotton lived. Some of the hobbit holes are big enough to explore while others are miniature in size.
Outside the homes are everyday items from the lives of hobbits including cabbage gardens, smoked fish, honey pots, butterfly catchers, and hobbit-sized shirts and pants hung on clotheslines to dry.
Peter Jackson came across the farm while conducting an aerial search of the North Island. When he saw the area, he thought it was the perfect location for Hobbiton, one of the places in the Shire where Hobbits lived.
They began site construction in 1999, implementing incredible detail to make the set complete. The Party Tree was created with artificial leaves imported from Taiwan and individually wired onto the tree.
The set was rebuilt again in 2011 for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again.”
Since then, it’s been a permanent attraction adorned with bridges, gardens, the Mill and other locations you might recognise from the set.
You can stop into the Green Dragon Inn, which opened in the park December of 2012 and is featured in the Lord of the Rings trilogy as the local meeting places for the Hobbiton and Bywater residents.
This was where hobbits would gather to drink, enjoy a meal, and discuss what was happening in the Shire.
Today, the Green Dragon Inn offers an exact replica of what is seen in the films, where you can enjoy a cold cup of beer or cider and sample traditional Hobbit fare like beef and ale pie.
You can tour the Hobbiton Movie Set year-round for $US75, which includes transport to and from the set, a complimentary drink at the Green Dragon Inn, and a guide who will explain how the set was created.
You can also embark on the Evening Dinner Tour at $US190, where you’ll be treated to a banquet feast with Hobbit fare, and a nighttime tour where you’ll be given an authentic handheld lantern as you walk through an illuminated Hobbiton.
While you’re in the area, be sure to see some of New Zealand’s other locations that inspired the movie includingMount Ruapehu, which became Mt. Doom, and Queenstown, which was the setting for several scenes including the Eregion Hills and the Pillars of Argonath.
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