Hobbiton is the movie set for an imaginary place where we find ‘The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings’ it is the oldest village of The Shire, and it was where the protagonist Bilbo Bolson and later his nephew Frode Bolson lived.
Most of the exterior movie sets for the film The Lord of The Rings and the Hobbit were filmed in New-Zealand and here we found ourselves in a little Hobbit’s village in the Shire. To see the movie set for the film Hobbiton and for feeling like a Hobbit you have to go to Matamata, on The North Island, two hours south of Auckland, where between hills and ponds, they did recreate this small village born of the imagination of the great Tolkien.
If you want to see it, be prepared to pay not less than 75 NZD (aprox 70 USD) for each person, it is the price to be part of a fairy tale, otherwise it is impossible to get close to it. The place is surrounded by roads and mountains, impossible to find a spot where you wouldn’t have to pay to enter. A private lot, the fields in the surrounding area for feeding sheep, and where there is a farm where we could possibly access by a road, it is very well protected from cheap skates.
Once the bitter pill for the entrance fee has been swallowed (we were an hour thinking, do we go in or not?) we get ready to enjoy, to feel like a child and be stunned by the perfect workmanship, the details how they recreated the Hobbit’s village at the Hobbit’s size and where everything is perfect to the millimeter. If you are lucky, you would have a beautiful sunny day… we enjoyed few hours before the rain send us for scuttling for shelter, but we managed to have some sunrays lighting the delicate houses.
The set for the first three films were build of papier-mâché and only few hobbit’s houses were build, including Bilbo Bolson’s house, the Green Dragon’s Inn and the Ceremonial Field. It was natural area and they did want to return to it in its natural state. With the filming of The Hobbit everything turnout to be more permanent and with a lot more details. We believe the land owner where he had only sheep on his hills, he had a divine inspiration, as he was to receive a percentage of the ticket sale for the use of his land plus the amount he was paid for the use of his property for the making of the film. From a humble farmer to a millionaire all of sudden!!! They say, he is still lives ‘humbly’ with his family on the other side of Hobbiton… So they say!
The visit is possible only with a guided tour, they tell you some anecdotes about the shooting of the film. One of them is the how Gandalf knocked his head when he entered Bilbo Bolson’s house. It was not in the script, but it was a keeper. Another curious thing is the Bilbo’s house is build inside at a human scale and in the film you have the impression that it is at a hobbit size, specially, when Gandalf who look like a giant when he is speaking with the minuscule Bilbo, but it is an optical illusion. Some houses were small to film Gandalf and everything seems small but lot of other houses are build a normal size for filming the everyday life easily.
They let you visit a few houses, but you want to know it is not very much, a little more than a hole in front of a wall. Sorry but you can’t visit any furnished houses with lot of space inside. The only one you can enter is Bilbo’s house and only if you book a private party, not for the ordinary tour. They are suckers!!! We had to resign ourselves to see it from the outside…no other choice…
From the Ceremonial Party place near the creek, where hobbits used to celebrate their festivities and enjoy food and drinks. At the Green Dragon tavern, at the end of the tour you can enter, admire the interior, sit beside a warm wood fire, gossiping by the windows, and enjoy a Hobbit’s beer, included in the price… It would be nice to have for free that kind of thing that hobbits used to smoke and that makes them so happy too!! hahaha. (Not included sorry)
For us it was something special to be there, the price is exorbitant for sure, but it was worth it…
“The adventures will never finish? I suppose not. So somebody has to go forward with the story.” – Bilbo
Our ADVENTURES go on, we head for Coromandel Peninsula.
How get there, tips and expenses:
Hobbiton, the people of the Hobbits (Lord of the Rings) it’s near the town of Matamata (North Island of New Zealand, two hours south of Auckland)
you can only visit Hobbiton with a guided tour and no chance of seeing anything from elsewhere to meet Hill shoot well cordoned off and away from roads or other points of view.
To reserve tickets you can do it directly in Matamata, in the I-Site or reach Hobbiton (15 minutes from Matamata) and book there.
The official website is http://hobbiton.centaman-apac01.net/OurTours/tabid/99/Default.aspx
The tour lasts approximately a two hour and a half.
Special thanks to Vivian and Adam for the translation of this post.