Hobbiton was the place we’ve been wanting to visit for years, so we were super excited when we drove into Matamata, New Zealand. Foolishly, we didn’t pre book our tour, and were heartbroken to find out the tours were sold out online! Unwilling to accept this unfortunate turn of events, we called first thing in the morning and were lucky enough to snag a last minute tour. So if you plan on visiting Hobbiton, make sure you book your tour a couple days in advance to avoid disappointment!
Visiting Hobbiton was a fantastic experience and definetly worth every penny, especially for Lord of the Rings fans. Our tour guide gave us a lot of fun facts and great information on how the movies were filmed.
There and Back Again
The contracts for every filming location for The Lord of the Rings required the land to be returned to how it was before. Hobbiton was almost completely demolished after Lord of the Rings filming wrapped up, but a storm prevented them from tearing the set down completely. Some people caught wind of what they were doing, and requested a tour before they finished demolishing the set entirely. When they rebuilt Hobbtion for the Hobbit triology, Alexander farm renegotiated the contract so the film makers would build the set out of permanent materials. Hobbiton is the only set left in New Zealand out of all the other filming locations. Now the movie set averages about 2,000 people per day during peak season!
Location is Everything
They chose the location for a couple reasons, mainly that it was out of sight from any roads, and it had both a lake and a symmetrical tree.
In order to have a scene with the sun setting over the shire, they filmed the sunrise and played it backwards since Hobbiton faces the wrong direction. The birds are actually flying backwards in the scene, which wasn’t caught until it played in theaters.
It’s All in The Details
The detail they put into the set in order to stay consistent over all the movies was mindblowing. The Oak tree above Bag End was one of the most expensive set props at the time. In order to make an exact replica of the tree they used in Lord or the Rings, they constructed a tree out of steel frame and thousands of leaves were hand sewn onto it.
The Green Dragon
We finished our tour at the Green Dragon Inn, where we were given a choice of 4 complimentary drinks made by the farm. The dark ale was the only drink that wasn’t for sale, because they can’t bottle it, so it’s not available anywhere else in the world. Of course we chose that as one of our drink options, and the other a delicious apple cider.
At the end of our tour, we ended up buying a bottle of ale to take back with us as a souvenir. Although our tour of Hobbiton was one of the most expensive things we have done on our trip, it was well worth it! We totally recommend it for all fans of the movies and books! If you visit New Zealand, would Hobbiton on your must see list?