With the excitement of the release of The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug, I wanted to share the magic of Middle Earths the Shire. I was lucky enough to have made the journey to Hobbiton in gorgeous New Zealand.
Our adventure starts in MataMata aka Hobbiton which is about a two and a half hour drive south of Auckland. The town is adorable with store fronts decorated in Hobbit themes and a Visitors Centre which proudly displays a must see Gollum statue. The town has a variety of accommodation but the farmstays are a must! The town is filled with gorgeous cafes and bars. The Redoubt Bar & Eatery is the place to eat, with Hobbit themed pizza’s. The locals are what make this town super special; they are amazingly friendly and super accommodating.
From Matamata we travel to The Hobbiton Movie Set Tour’s which is an easy 20 minute drive. It’s located on a farm owned by the Alexander family.
Peter Jackson found this location for the beloved Shire when doing a aerial view for Lord of the Rings film sites. Then in 2008 Peter Jackson decided to make The Hobbit so he went back and asked the Alexander family if they could use the site again for the Hobbit films. They agreed as long as the sets were rebuilt out of permanent materials. the set was then completely rebuilt for the Hobbit.
The Hobbiton Movie Set Tour is a magical 2 hour guided tour. The tour guides are fun and full of wonderful information. There are 44 Hobbit holes that are aesthetically pleasing, and there are many photo opportunities and chances to get up close and personal with some of the Hobbit holes. And yes, you do get to visit the fabulous home of Mr Bilbo and Mr Frodo Baggins, “Bag End”. Due to restrictions set out by the Movie Production, you are not permitted past Bilbo’s front gate, but this does not take any of the magic away, it is beyond spectacular and everything you imagine. (There is talk of Bilbo’s home being open to the public after the release of the 3rd Hobbit film).
During the tour you will also experience the beauty of the Shire, its landscape, the mill, the gardens, the Party tree and field, and relive many of your favourite memories of the beloved Tolkien universe.
The tour finishes with a visit and drinks in the famous Green Dragon Inn. Sit back and relax while having a drink from the exclusive range of beverages only available at the Inn. There are so many wonders inside, so take time to explore, sit by the fire, read a map, look out to the view of the shire or even pat the resident cat, Pickles. (There is even rumours that Pickles will make an appearance during the final Hobbit film).
After you wave goodbye to the shire, be sure visit the Shire’s Rest and Store for a second breakfast and exclusive merchandise including products from the Weta workshop.
From Dragons, Elves, Wizards to Hobbit’s, be sure to make the trip to New Zealand to experience the beautiful and inspiring locations of Middle Earth.
“The world is not in your books and maps. It’s out there” – Gandalf
For more information see the following links:
– Hobbiton Movie Set tours – www.hobbitontours.com
– Farmstays – www.hobbitontours.com/FarmStay/tabid/119/Default.aspx and De Preaux Lodge
– Tourism New Zealand – www.newzealand.com/au/home-of-middle-earth/
– Lord of the Ring Tours – www.lordoftheringstours.co.nz/