Explore Hobbiton and experience its magic
Students in New Zealand should make the most of their time in this beautiful country. One of the most famous locations that is highly recommended is Hobbiton. Created with attention to detail, it's hard for anyone to resist its beauty.
How did it all begin?
In 1988, an aerial search led Sir Peter Jackson's team of location scouts to the Alexander farm. The stunning 1,250-acre sheep farm stood out as it resembled The Shire™, as described by J.R.R. Tolkien.
In March 1999 the crew worked their magic to create Hobbiton with the help of the New Zealand army. After nine months, filming began in December 1999.
The original Shire was made of polystyrene and plywood. Unfortunately, once filming was completed the set was completely torn down. Even though there was nothing left to see, it was still a popular tourist spot. People were still eager to see Hobbiton.
So, when Peter Jackson decided to use the Alexander farm again for the Hobbit trilogy, they rebuilt the set using permanent materials so that tourists could visit after filming was over.
The shire is now made up of 44 unique Hobbit Holes™, a mill, a double arched bridge, and the famous Party Tree. It's a must-see tourist attraction for film fans and tourist, drawing in more than 350,000 visitors a year.
Did you know?
- They were 13,500 sheep on the farm but none of them were featured in the film. Peter Jackson preferred the dark faces and legs of the Suffolk sheep and brought them in for filming.
- Every six months a team from Weta Digital visit the set to give it a touch-up. The props need to be maintained regularly to ensure they look as authentic as they did in the movies.
- The iconic tree above Bag End is fake. It's made from fibreglass and has silk leaves imported from Taiwan. These leaves were painted and attached by hand.
- Most hobbit homes are facades, they are empty except for one, Bilbo's house. It's the only house open for tourists. Inside, there's a beautiful foyer but only a small bit of the inside is decorated.
- There's a small man-made pond in the middle of The Shire. Some frogs made it their new home, but their stay was short as they were too loud. Actors were unable to hear each other so they relocated the frogs. They returned the frogs to the pond once filming ended.
- A person walks between the clotheslines at the Hobbit houses to make the track look well worn.
- The first book of The Lord of the Rings describes children playing under plum trees. Peter Jackson had apple trees and pear trees planted instead because plum trees would be too big.
- The Green Dragon Inn is the latest addition to Hobbiton. Constructed in 2012, it's an operational pub with food and drinks. If you book a tour, consider The Evening Banquet Tour. It ends at The Green Dragon™ Inn with a complimentary beverage and a banquet feast fit for a Hobbit.
- The crew maintained the length of the grass throughout filming by having sheep eat it.
- Hobbiton employs seven to eight gardeners to maintain the grounds.
How to get there?
Distance from Matamata = 20km
Hamilton = 43km
Rotorua = 74km
Auckland = 180km
We recommend using public transit to get to Hobbiton as it can be an affordable, viable, and more relaxing way to see the area. There are several Hobbiton transportation options for visitors relying on public transport. If you prefer to drive or join a tour, connect now to get more info on routes, transfers, tour options and safe driving tips.
Photo credit: Sara Orme
Video credit: @palmshapemovies