Having grown up with the Lord of the Rings books and then the movies, a trip to visit the Hobbiton movie set in New Zealand had been pretty high on my bucket list for years. When I visited in 2015, it lived up to all my (extremely high!) expectations. It’s a magical place.
I booked a day trip from Rotorua to the preserved set in Matamata, and as the coach bus pulled in and I caught my first glimpse of a few hobbit holes, I’ll admit it – I teared up. The tour itself was lovely and comprehensive, led by an enthusiastic guide who gave us plenty of time to snap photos with our favorite colorful round front doors and fencepost signs written by crotchety old hobbits. I was so impressed by the details: the rustic, aged look to everything; the well-tended gardens that would’ve done any self-respecting shireling proud. And it wasn’t terribly crowded, so if you looked in the right direction and squinted a little bit, you could almost imagine the other tourists were hobbits going about their daily business — gossiping about those strange Baggins and Tooks over puffs of pipeweed, perhaps.
After touring the hills dotted with all these hobbit holes of various sizes, we headed to the Green Dragon for a pint of beer. I sat by the fire and gazed out the window at the impossibly green hills, sipping my brew, and feeling lucky to be there. I may appreciate the hobbits’ love for the simple things and the outdoors, but I’m glad I’m more adventurous than most of them!
Points of interest
Hobbiton Movie Set
Wonderful tour of the Hobbiton movie set -- worth the money and time!