When planning our trip to Australia this past fall, my husband and I decided that we might as well make a quick stop in New Zealand on our way home. Now, I’ve heard wonderful things about New Zealand, but if I’m being honest, the whole reason we went was so that my husband could visit Hobbiton.
Hobbiton is a place on North Island, New Zealand- about a 2 hour drive from Auckland. Tucked away within a 1,250 acre sheep farm is a remaining film location from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. After building the set for a second time, for the filming of The Hobbit, they decided to keep everything up and lead tours through the area.
Now, I don’t know if you know this, but there is a sector of the world population who are absolutely mad about this film and book collection. My husband is one of those people.
Since our marriage, I have been made to watch all the extended editions for all three Lord of the Rings movies. While they were entertaining, I could not sit through an entire movie in one go, so we had to spread out the story among a few weeks. While my husband sat there excitedly quoting the movies and pausing every so often to give me more background information or extra commentary, I found the movies to be…okay.
I also tried reading the book, The Hobbit, before visiting Hobbiton, but only got about 5 chapters in before giving up.
Basically, I’m indifferent about them all. They’re okay- but probably won’t read the books or watch the movies out of my own want.
So when it was time to visit Hobbiton, I wasn’t sure what my impression would be. Would I be surrounded by LOTR ultra nerds and made to feel inferior? Would it be a Disneyland experience where you stand in line for ages to see some far off movie set? Would I be bored out of my mind?
Well it turns out you can really enjoy your visit to Hobbiton, even if you are indifferent about the movies and books. I did it, and here is how you can too!
Take lots of pictures
It is really hard to take bad pictures in Hobbiton. The whole place is just so cute, colorful and picturesque. Despite the fact that there are sometimes good-sized crowds, you can usually get good photos without people if you’re willing to be patient. I took so many pictures I don’t even know what to do with them all!
Listen to your tour guide
This one should be obvious, but you want to pay attention to what your tour guide says. They offer lots of interesting commentary and facts about the filming of the movies in Hobbiton. You’ll learn a lot of facts you wouldn’t otherwise have known if you don’t listen to what your guides say. This way, you can impress your ultra nerd friends when you get home.
Look out for details
Hobbiton is insanely detailed. Several of the hobbit-holes around the site are decorated with different props that help you learn about the kinds of hobbits that are supposed to be dwelling inside. For instance, one hole had a cheese cart sitting outside of it. Another had jars of honey and beehives around it.
Play a little
While touring Hobbiton, the guides will encourage you to interact with certain set pieces. You are welcome to take photos in front of the circular doors, and to play a little. Just be sure to be respectful and nondestructive.
Nothing gets me going like the prospect of snacks. Oh yes. During your tour, you’ll get a chance to sample some of the drinky-drinks brewed at the Green Dragon Inn. You’ll get 15 minutes to guzzle down your beverage, and any other snacks you purchase by the fireplace. Don’t worry if you are underage or a non-drinker, they also have a non-alcoholic ginger beer!
Did I mention the detail?
But for real you guys. The detail here is amazing. Not only does the Green Dragon Inn perfectly give that rustic lodge feel- they even continue it into the bathrooms. The bathrooms. Wooden stalls and – would you believe it- wooden toilet seats. How much more detailed can you get after toilets??
Appreciate the ultra nerds
There’s nothing sweeter than watching the eyes of an ultra nerd light up in utter fascination and enchantment. I loved getting to see the joy in my husband’s face and his excited little jaunt through Hobbiton. Even though you may be indifferent about hobbits and rings and such, you can still find joy in watching other people’s reactions to Hobbiton.
The Hobbiton Movie Set is located in Matamata, New Zealand. Tours are offered Sunday-Saturday at various times staring at 9:00am and finishing at 4:30pm. Tours last about two hours and will set you back $79NZD per person. NOTE: You must book a tour in order to get into the Hobbiton Movie Set. Check out their website for more information.
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