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Hobbiton Movie Set in New Zealand – Information for Visitors

Hobbiton Movie Set in New Zealand – Information for Visitors

Photo: Shutterstock

Hobbiton takes you on the set of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit as you journey through iconic farmland and visit some of the most famous filming locations used in Peter Jackson’s epic fantasy adventure movies!

Hobbiton Movie Set is located in Matamata on the northern island of New Zealand in the Waikato region. Visitors are welcome to join a guided tour that takes you around the filming locations. 

Tickets and Tours

Tour Type Adult (17+) Youth (9-16 years) Child (0-8 years)
Hobbiton Movie Set Tour $84 $42 $0
Hobbiton Movie Set Tour + Lunch Combo $120 $78 $0
Evening Banquet Tour $195 $152.50 $100 (infants are free 0-4 years)

Note that the Hobbiton Movie Set Tour departs from three separate locations that vary in price. See the below table for a breakdown of costs:

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour Adult (17+) Youth (9-16 years) Child (0-8 years)
Departing from The Shire’s Rest $84 $42 $0
Departing from Matamata I-Site $84 $42 $0
Departing from Rotorua $119 $77 $35

Walking tours last 1.5 hours and can be booked between the hours of 8 am and 5:30 pm daily.

On your Hobbiton tour you’ll be fully guided around the 12-acre set; past Hobbit Holes, the Mill and into the world-famous Green Dragon Inn, where you will be presented with a complimentary, exclusive Hobbit Southfarthing beverage to conclude your own Middle-earth adventure.

Home of Bilbo Baggins and Frodo Baggins

Photo: Lodapon Wantaarawaiva / Shutterstock.com

History & Info

Hobbiton is the story of how a rural working sheep farm, located in the shadow of the Kaimai Range Mountains on New Zealand’s North Island, became one of the world’s most visited set locations.

The Hobbiton Movie Set location was first discovered in 1998 when Sir Peter Jackson and a team of local scouts were searching the country for a specific landscape. Jackson wanted rolling hills, lush green pastures, and an old oak tree to replicate Hobbiton from the J.R.R.Tolkin novels and he found just that at Alexander Farm, a working sheep farm in the heart of Waikato.

Hobbiton in New Zealand

Photo: Troy Wegman / Shutterstock.com

The crew set to building ‘The Shire’ from Tolkien’s books and filming started in 1999 after nine months of building temporary Hobbit Holes! However, after filming was finished the majority of the Hobbit Holes were deconstructed and only 17 bare abodes remained.

These remaining Hobbit Holes sparked the idea of Hobbiton and in 2002 tours of the set commenced. In 2009, Jackson returned to the set to film The Hobbit trilogy which re-vamped the Hobbiton Set to the standard you see today.

Today there are over 44 Hobbit Holes to visit along with the Green Dragon Inn! Guests now finish their Hobbiton Movie Set experience with a refreshing beverage from the Hobbit Southfarthing Range. There’s an abundance of movie magic nestled inside the fully operational farm.

Lord of the rings movie set

Photo: Bob Hilscher/Shutterstock

Points of Interest

Hobbit Holes

Multiple hobbit abodes are dotted around the set.  

Bag End

Bag End is the only hobbit hole to have a fully decorated interior.

The Oak Tree

Found high on the hill above Bag End.

The Green Dragon Inn

A fully functioning pub serving food and beverages.

The Green Dragon Inn

Photo: Robert CHG / Shutterstock.com

How to get to Hobbiton

From Auckland by Car

The drive from Auckland to the Hobbiton set should take just over 2-hours as your cruise south down Highway 1. Once you reach the town of Cambridge, the set is less than 30-minutes away and you should follow the Thermal Explorer Highway to State Highway 29 in Karapiro.

From here, follow State Highway 29 and Buckland Road to Matamata and the Hobbiton Set. Parking on-site is available at The Shire’s Rest and is suitable for campervans and large vehicles. There’s also parking close to the gift shop which includes a 5-minute bus transfer to the start of your tour.

Transfer

Hobbiton provides transfers from Auckland, Tauranga, and Hamilton for visitors who don’t have their own car.

Hobbiton movie set

Photo: purwanto lim/Shutterstock

Nearby Attractions

Hobbiton is located on a rural sheep farm just outside the small town of Matamata. As such, there’s only a handful of things in the nearby area to-do. For more activities, consider heading west to Cambridge or north to Auckland. Nearby attractions include:

  • Wairere Falls
  • Firth Tower Museum
  • Matamata i-SITE Visitor Information Center

Best time to visit

In the summer, opt for a morning tour to avoid the heat of the midday sun and try to avoid school holidays. Alternatively, the late afternoon light is great for pictures and most large tour groups will have departed for the day by then.

Hobbit House

Photo: Nikolay 007/Shutterstock

Facts about Hobbiton

  1. Hobbiton is located on an operating farm. The family operating the farm didn’t know who Sir Peter Jackson was, and they had never heard of The Lord of the Rings books, but they agreed that their farm could be used as a filming location.
  2. When searching for the right filming location, Jackson was looking for a tall tree near a lake/pond that could live up to the Party Tree described in the books. He found it on the Alexander farm. Today, the real-life Party Tree stands 70 to 80 meters tall.
  3. The farm is home to 13,500 sheep but Peter Jackson chose not to use them in filming. He preferred the dark faces of Suffolk sheep and used them instead.
  4. The Shire was torn down after filming wrapped on The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The set was made mostly of polystyrene and plywood, which was dismantled when filming was complete. Filmmakers had to rebuild the set for The Hobbit movies.
  5. When rebuilding Hobbiton, it was designed as a permanent fixture using wood, concrete, and bricks that had been artificially aged and weathered. It took 70 set builders to complete the work.  
  6. The oak tree on the hill above Bag End is fake. It’s made from fiberglass and silk imported from Taiwan.
  7. During production, frogs in the frog pond were so loud that actors couldn’t hear each other. As such, the frogs had to be re-located!
  8. The Green Dragon Inn is a fully operational pub serving food and drinks and was added to Hobbiton in 2012.
  9. The set covers 4.8 hectares and features 44 hobbit holes. The holes used by actors playing hobbits were built at 90 percent scale, while the holes used by Gandalf were built at 60 percent scale to make him look larger.   The majority of the hobbit homes are just facades covering empty holes. All of the interior shots were filmed in a studio in Wellington so there was no need to build interiors on the set.
  10. The majority of the hobbit homes are just facades covering empty holes. All of the interior shots were filmed in a studio in Wellington so there was no need to build interiors on the set.
  11. Bag End is the only hobbit hole with any interior design, which is just a segment of a wall to give the illusion of interiors within when the door is propped open.
  12. There are between 30 and 200 plants around each hobbit hole. Hobbiton employs seven to eight gardeners (five through the winter) to maintain the grounds.
  13. Production crews regulated the length of the grass before and during filming by having sheep eat it.
  14. There’s a scene in the movie where Bilbo and Gandalf are watching the sunset from inside Bilbo’s house. As Bag End faces east, the crew had to get up and film sunrise instead and play the footage backward. It took them seven attempts to get this perfect.
  15. More than 300,000 people from around the world visit Hobbiton every year. In March 2015, the set welcomed its one-millionth visitor.
Green dragon Hobbiton

Photo: Ivo Antonie de Rooij / Shutterstock.com

FAQ’s (Things to know before you go)

Where in New Zealand is Hobbiton?

It is located in Matamata, in the Waikato region, about 2 hours drive from Auckland.

What is the difference between the Hobbiton Movie Set Tour departing from The Shire’s Rest, Matamata, and Rotorua?

There’s no difference in the tour itself. The difference is where you begin your tour.

Do I need to book tickets in advance?

It’s strongly recommended that you book your place on a Hobbiton tour well in advance due to the popularity of the attraction.

Can you see Hobbiton without a tour?

While it’s possible to drive here on your own, it is not possible to visit the Hobbiton movie set without a guide. 

Can I bring my camera and take photos?

Visitors are allowed to take pictures while touring the Hobbiton movie set. 

Is the Hobbiton movie set wheelchair accessible?

Unfortunately, the Movie Set is not wheelchair friendly, but there are some options available to those who can not complete the walking tour. For more information, contact the booking team.


Do you have more questions before visiting Hobbiton Movie Set? Leave a comment below!

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