“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit . . .”
The day had arrived – we were finally going to Hobbiton!! Being big fans of both the LOTR and The Hobbit myself and John hadn’t yet visited the home of the hobbits and chose the perfect day to go. We checked the weather while staying in Rotorua, and decided to visit on a sunny and clear blue sky day which was just amazing.
We headed off early in our spaceship Draco from Rotorua towards Matamata and were there within about an hour. We parked up and went into the shop to pay. It cost us $75 each, which I know some people might find expensive, but we thought it really was worth every dollar! The area around the car park has a Welcome to Hobbiton sign which is quite cool, and The Shire’s Rest Cafe is up some stairs. There isn’t much else in this area and you need to go on the tour to see where the magic happened. A partnership between Peter Jackson (who directed LOTR and The Hobbit) and the Alexander family who own the farmland on which Hobbiton is built, has made these tours possible.
We booked onto the 10.00am tour and took a few snaps while waiting patiently for our bus to arrive. We were really excited and hopped aboard when it turned up. It was certainly a retro bus! I had read some people’s comments on Trip Advisor complaining about how old the bus was and I think if they are complaining about something as small as that they were definitely in the wrong place! We loved how quaint and old it was 🙂
Our driver was great and did well to negotiate the steep and windy gravel roads that took us to the start of the tour. The army built the road down to Hobbiton especially for the films – it had to be pretty sturdy to take the weight of hundreds of vehicles needed for filming.
We were dropped off by the bus and our guide introduced herself – apologies for forgetting her name, but I blame the excitement of the day! She was absolutely brilliant and did a fantastic job at explaining all the details fans would want to know without talking too much. She also gave us plenty of time to explore, as she led us into the centre of Hobbiton. We had time to take some photos in lots of different areas all around Hobbiton and it was great fun exploring. We saw lots of hobbit holes, including Sam and Rosie’s and Bag End. We were also able to go inside one of the hobbit holes, although it was empty (they film the hobbit hole interiors in Wellington), but still fun to see! We saw the pond, and the famous party tree. It was wonderful to be able to climb right up to Bag End and see Bilbo’s view down over Hobbiton. We also saw the bench where Bilbo and Gandalf blow smoke in the film. It was all so exciting!
We rewatched all the Hobbiton parts of LOTR when we got back and saw so many different parts that we walked right through as the actors did – we really were right in the heart of so many places they used in the films.
A real highlight of the tour was still left and we had been really looking forward to going to The Green Dragon pub after it had recently opened. We were so happy to be walking across the famous bridge – as seen in the films, to be faced with The Green Dragon. On entering we were offered a complimentary beverage – we chose ginger ale, which was delicious! We sat right by a wonderfully warm open fire (it was a pretty cold day!) and enjoyed our drinks. We also spent time exploring inside, looking at the fantastic attention to detail (the interior shots in the film were filmed at a studio in Wellington, but they have recreated the interior exactly here), and the area outside around the Green Dragon, which had also been beautifully and thoughtfully decorated. We had around 20 minutes here and really didn’t want to leave! It was unfortunately all too soon time for our tour to finish, so we left The Green Dragon and walked back to be picked up by our bus. We did get the opportunity for some more awesome photos looking across to Hobbiton as we left.
It really was an incredible tour – we loved every single second and it was a true highlight of our year over here in New Zealand on our amazing adventure.