The Hobbiton film set

A visit to the Hobbiton Film Set

During our road trip through New Zealand in our rented camper van, we reached a point in our journey that we had been eagerly anticipating: visiting Hobbiton, the film set of the world-famous “Lord of the Rings” movies. Despite some reluctance from my family members, my enthusiasm for the universe of Tolkien could not be dampened. The opportunity to witness the visual masterpieces of Peter Jackson in real life was simply too tempting to ignore. Although our adventure seemed at risk of being overshadowed by tales of high entrance fees and mass tourism, we decided to embrace this part of Middle-earth with open arms. The question, however, lingered in our minds: could we experience the magic of the films without being distracted by the touristy aspect? Ultimately, the crowds were not overwhelming as only one tour bus goes to the film set at a time, ensuring that the number of people exploring Hobbiton never exceeds the group from one bus. As we approached our destination, our sense of adventure quickly took over. Our welcome did not come from hobbits, but from a curious-looking sheep at the entrance gate, which made us smile immediately and made us realize that we were about to enter a different world.

Welcome to Hobbiton

Curious sheep
A curious sheep welcomes us

Upon arrival, it was the bus ride to the set that served as a transitional ritual from our world to that of the hobbits. The driver, who entertained us with anecdotes about how the set was initially dismantled after the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and later permanently rebuilt for the “Hobbit” films, further piqued our curiosity.

The Green Dragon Inn

the green dragon inn
The Green Dragon Inn is open 7 days a week

As the Hobbiton settlement unfolded before our eyes with The Green Dragon Inn in the foreground, it felt like we were literally taking a step back in time. The lushness of the landscape, combined with the authentic architecture of the pub, the mill, and the old bridge, formed the perfect backdrop for our adventure.

With every step we took during the guided tour of Hobbiton, our awe for the incredible attention to detail grew. The hobbit holes, each unique in design and character, were surrounded by vibrant gardens, seeming to tell their own story. It was clear that no effort was spared to make this place as lifelike as possible. It’s as if the Hobbits actually live here, there is even smoke coming out of the chimneys! It’s as if all the Hobbits had simply hidden away, perhaps having lunch at the Green Dragon or working in the fields, and as soon as we leave, they would continue with their daily lives. Hobbiton.

BAG END

bag end hobbiton
Bag End is the hole home of the Hobbits Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.
One of the absolute highlights was, of course, Bag End, the home of Bilbo and Frodo. The guide gave us plenty of time to take in this moment and imagine how the hobbits lived here, complete with the appropriate sign No admittance except on party business. This made us smile and reminded us of the warm and inviting atmosphere that is so characteristic of the hobbits. As we continued our way along the picturesque paths and bridges, a new fascinating detail emerged at every turn, making our visit increasingly special with each moment. The vitality of Hobbiton was not only visible in the meticulously maintained gardens or the hobbit holes themselves, but also in the stories shared by our guide. Each story contributed to bringing this place to life, making us truly feel a part of Tolkien’s world.
Hobbit grot interieur
The cozy kitchen of a hobbit hole home

Since December 2023, it is not only possible to view the exterior of the hobbit holes, but you can also step inside to see the interior up close. This new addition lasts about 15 minutes and is part of the overall tour, which takes about 2.5 hours in total. This has made the visit even more special!

The Green Dragon Tavern

the dragons inn fire place
Enjoying a cozy atmosphere at the Green Dragon

Our visit ended at The Green Dragon Inn, where we reflected on our experience over a drink. The inn was perfectly recreated down to the smallest detail, making us feel like real residents of the Shire for a moment. Gathering with my family and other visitors in the warmth of the pub was a moment that would stay with us for a long time.

As we returned to reality, there was a unanimous feeling of gratitude among us. Hobbiton had offered more than we could have dreamed of. This place, in New Zealand, not only brought the stories of “Lord of the Rings” to life but also allowed us to experience the power of imagination and community.

For anyone considering a visit to Hobbiton, let this story be an encouragement. It is not just a tourist attraction, but a meaningful experience that blurs the boundaries between film and reality.

Where is the film set of Hobbiton located?

map noord eiland hobbiton
The route to Hobbiton from Rotorua in Campervans
The Hobbiton Film Set is located on the extensive Alexander Farm in the Waikato region of New Zealand, near the charming town of Matamata. This beautiful landscape is located approximately a 1.5-hour drive from our Rotorua Campervans depot, and only 1 hour from Rotorua making it ideal for anyone who wants to visit Hobbiton at the beginning or end of their camper road trip through New Zealand. Visitors usually go to Hobbiton with their camper, enjoying the good roads and the beautiful views of New Zealand along the way. If you don’t want to drive yourself and prefer to enjoy the Hobbit landscape, there are plenty of companies that offer tours to Hobbiton from major cities like Auckland, Hamilton, and Rotorua. These tours often include the entrance fees and a guided tour, making it easy to travel to the Shire without worries. You are often picked up and dropped off at the campsite.

Best Time to Visit

Every season in New Zealand has its own charm, so when is the best time to visit Hobbiton really depends on what you personally enjoy. The summer months from December to February are warm and the landscape is in full bloom, making everything look even more beautiful, although it is also the busiest time. If you want to avoid the crowds but still enjoy good weather, try visiting in the spring (September to November) or fall (March to May). The winter months from June to August are quieter, and Hobbiton has a mysterious atmosphere with fewer visitors and sometimes mist, which fits well with the Middle-earth ambiance.

Costs

Admission to the Hobbiton Film Set does come at a cost, but it is definitely worth it for big fans and those who are simply curious. Prices vary depending on the type of tour. The standard tour, including a drink at The Green Dragon Inn, is the most popular. There are also evening tours with dinner available, providing an unforgettable experience. For the most recent ticket prices and options, it is best to check the official website of Hobbiton or contact them directly. Also look out for any family packages or discounts for groups.

Tips & Practical Information

  • Book in Advance: Make sure to secure your spot by booking well in advance, especially during busy holiday periods.
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes: You will be doing quite a bit of walking, often on uneven paths, so wear shoes that are comfortable for walking.
  • Be Prepared for Any Weather: The weather in New Zealand can change quickly. Bring clothing for both rain and sun, as the tours almost always proceed regardless of the weather.
  • Bring Your Camera: You are allowed to take photos, and you will surely see beautiful things that you will want to capture. Leave your drone at home unless you have special permission.
  • Stay Nearby: To truly make the most of your visit and perhaps even catch a beautiful sunrise or sunset, consider staying in Matamata or in your camper in the area.

In conclusion

A visit to Hobbiton is like a step into another world, a place full of imagination, love, and a deep respect for the stories that inspired it. Whether you have been a fan of Tolkien for years or are just looking for a unique experience, the beautiful landscapes and cozy hobbit holes of the Shire are ready to take you to a world full of wonder and magic.

Namarie!

Jeroen and Lorraine
Rotorua Campervans

More than 27 years of experience traveling by campervan in New Zealand and 16 years of experience renting Campers In New Zealand

Our service, facilities and expert directions will make your trip an adventure to remember. Make your dream adventure a reality at Rotorua Camper Vans.