A Magical Visit to Hobbiton in New Zealand – A Must for Hobbit Fans

Spread the love

Who would have thought we would walk the same paths as Sam, Froto, and Baggins?! A visit to one of the movie sets for the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit Trilogies made us feel like we were part of the fictional world of the Lord of the Rings written by J. R. R. Tolkien back in 1954. And even if you didn’t recognize these names, you can enjoy a delightful visit to their fictional home.

Photo by Burt Davis

In February, 2023, we boarded a Viking Cruise entitled Australia and New Zealand Tour leaving from Auckland, New Zealand. With our ship the Viking Orion docked in Tauranga, we boarded a comfortable bus for an hour and a half bus ride through the rich rolling country side populated by sheep, sheep, and – sheep. Our charming driver/guide Murray talked about his community and country as we enjoyed the lush scenery.

Photo by Dianne Davis

We arrived at the make-believe world where imaginary little people known as Hobbits carried on their lives in colorful little homes built on the side of the hill. Our excursion was called “Experience Hobbiton: Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit”.

The property is just outside of Matamata in New Zealand — the Alexanders’ incredible 1250 acre sheep and beef farm. A perfect setting for the massive outdoor movie sets.

Photo by Burt Davis

Our guide Eric was a wealth of information. From the moment he hopped on to our bus, he shared the background of how this evolved. He told us that Sir Peter Jackson, the director, screenwriter, and producer of The Lord of The Rings and Hobbit trilogies had a vision of what the Hobbit’s village should look like.

In 1998, an aerial search led him to the Anderson farm. There was a negotiation process that included non-disclosure clauses that prevented the Andersons from sharing any information with their curious neighbors. Things were surely happening! Jackson was even somehow able to arrange for the military to build the roads needed for this massive undertaking.

Photo by Burt Davis

Sir Peter intentionally built a movie set for the ages. “If you build it, they will come” certainly is the case here. They currently welcome 1500 – 2500 visitors daily.

Photo by Dianne Davis

We weren’t able to explore the interiors of the homes because – well, this is a movie set. There were no interiors there. They were done in the studios in Wellington, New Zealand. The landscaping, the facades of the homes, the clothes hanging on clotheslines, the flowers, the benches – It all made you believe.

The actor playing Gandolf the Grey was over six feet tall and the Hobbit actors were all well over five feet. Eric explained how they compensated so that Gandolf would look so much larger than the Hobbits.

Photo by Burt Davis

Eric led us around the 12 acre set, past Hobbit Holes, the Millhouse and at the conclusion of the tour, the world famous Green Dragon Inn where we enjoyed an appropriate beverage to conclude our Middle earth adventure before returning to the Viking Orion. If you are a fan of the Hobbits and Lord of the Rings, than this optional activity offered through Viking Cruises is for you for sure. And even if you’ve never even seen the movies, it is enjoyable time well spent. And then, you just might be intrigued enough to read the trilogy.

The Green Dragon Inn Photo by Dianne Davis

Article by Dianne Davis and Burt Davis


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.