For any Lord of the Rings fan, visiting Hobbiton in New Zealand is an absolute must! Here’s everything you need to know about the Hobbiton Movie Set Tour…
How to Visit the Hobbiton Lord of the Rings Movie Set in New Zealand
New Zealand is a mecca for Lord of the Rings fans. It took us five years to ride our motorcycles from the UK to New Zealand. Landing on its shores marked the halfway point of our round the world ride – it was a big deal for us, but, to be honest we were more excited about nerding out on LOTR more than anything else!
Our plan was to scout out filming locations as we rode around the country, but at the top of our list was the Weta Workshop (more on this at the end of the article) and Hobbiton – and Hobbiton turned out to be the absolute highlight!
This guide will help you plan your visit there, figure out what to expect and get the most out of your tour.
What is Hobbiton?
Hobbiton is the village in the Shire where the hobbits live in Lord of the Rings. Location scouts found a sheep farm in Waikato, North Island of New Zealand in 1998, got in touch with the owner and Hobbiton was born – and then demolished.
The initial set build was for the trilogy, but was knocked down once filming was complete. However, when it came time to film the next trilogy (The Hobbit), the production team built a permanent set, which is what you can now visit today.
What will I find at Hobbiton?
You’ll find a surprisingly large and incredibly well looked after movie set. It doesn’t feel like a movie set though due to the sheer scale. There are 44 hobbit holes and the Green Dragon Inn, which serves drinks.
You’ll start the tour from Shire’s Rest. This is where you park your car and buy tickets. You’ll find a gift shop, bar and café with awesome views there too.
How do I visit Hobbiton?
To visit Hobbiton, you must join an organised tour. You can not drive there and walk around on your own.
Make your way to Shire’s Rest and park up (there’s a large car park there). You then go in and either buy your tickets there or show them the tickets you’ve bought online. You’ll then be asked to queue with your allotted group for your designated tour bus and will then be driven to the set.
What happens on the Hobbiton tour?
Your tour starts the second you get on the bus. Expect the entire tour to last two hours. Your guide welcomes the group and explains the process. You’ll then watch a little intro on a TV at the front of the bus.
After a ten-minute drive you’ll be dropped off and your tour will start.
The groups can be large, but it doesn’t feel rushed, so there’s plenty of time to get the snaps you want.
Your guide will chat about the films, sets, hobbit holes and more as you’re led around the set. You can peer into the hobbit holes but there’s nothing inside. All of the interior scenes were filmed in Weta Workshop (more on that at the end of this article).
However, they are working on building interiors, so guests may be able to go inside from early 2024. On the outside though, the attention to detail is phenomenal.
Once you’ve walked through the entire set you’ll be taken to the Green Dragon Inn. It’s a proper pub! And you’ll be given a complimentary drink with a choice of real beer, cider, ale or a soft drink like ginger beer. You’re then given plenty of time to sit in front of the fire, buy some snacks, wonder around and chill out.
Once you’ve finished, you’ll be taken back to the bus and returned to Shire’s Rest.
How do I book tickets for the tour?
We recommend using Viator to book your tickets. You can book your tour tickets for Hobbiton, and also find some pretty good combo deals. For example, you’ll find deals that also include a driver and pick-up or additional Lord of the Rings sights and stops along the way.
How much does it cost?
Expect tickets to cost around £55-£60 per person for a standard tour. There are discounts for youths, children and family passes.
What do I need to take with me?
Take the appropriate clothing for the time of year you’re travelling, comfortable trainers, sunglasses and sun cream. You may want to carry a bottle of water too as there’s no drinks until the end of the tour at the Inn. And most importantly – don’t forget your camera!
What about food and drink?
There is an excellent café at the Shire’s Rest serving great food and drink. There’s also a very cool gift shop too. There is drink available at the end of the walking tour at the Inn where you will be given a free beer or cider. You can also buy snacks and extra drinks here.
When to visit Hobbiton?
The summer months in New Zealand are from December to February, but the staff on site keep the grass and flowers watered so everything looks lush all year round. We visited in May and the weather was a little drizzly in the morning, but perfect for the rest of the day.
How do I get to Hobbiton?
Hobbiton is in Matamata. Put directions into the Shire’s Rest in Google if you’re driving yourself there as this is the car park. You’ll see signs for the Hobbiton Movie Set as you get nearer. Here’s a Google Map link below.
Where to stay when visiting Hobbiton
Hobbiton is easily accessible from nearby towns. We would recommend staying in lovely Hamilton or Matamata itself.
To help, check out the below Booking.com map. It’s pin pointed on Hobbiton, so you can move the map around and easily see the types and prices of nearby accommodation.
What else can you do at Hobbiton?
The Dinner Banquet Tour
You’ll still get to tour the movie set (and still get your beer at the Dragon’s Inn), but will also be treated to an evening feast! After you’ve eaten, you’ll get another walking tour through Hobbiton at night.
Second Breakfast Tour
This one is just as posh. Enjoy a second breakfast in the Millhouse followed by a walking tour.
Hobbiton can also cater for private events and functions. You’ll find more info on this on their website.
We can’t talk about Hobbiton without mentioning the incredible Weta Workshop! Weta are the guys who made all the props and costumes for the Lord of the Rings films. You can tour their studio and learn about how they make everything at their studio in Wellington or their Weta Workshop – Unleashed experience in Auckland.
More Lord of the Rings tours
If visiting the Hobbiton movie set tour and checking out Weta Workshop still hasn’t quenched your Lord of the Rings thirst, then luckily for you there’s loads more tours you can do around New Zealand. If you don’t have your own vehicle, or want a guide who really knows their stuff, we recommend joining an organised filming location tour.
The best way to book onto one of these is again to check out Viator, because you’ll find loads of examples with reviews and current prices on one page. Here’s the link to the tours: viator.com/lordoftheringstours
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Are you planning on visiting Hobbiton in New Zealand? Do you have any questions, tips or suggestions? Let us know in the comments below.