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Visit Hobbiton: the famous Hobbit homes in New-Zealand

'Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit' fans are really spoiled for choice in New-Zealand! On these two islands you can find a great number of movie sets and locations of both trilogies.
There is however one location to rule them all and that’s of course Hobbiton: the Hobbit village from where Frodo and Bilbo Baggins leave on their magical adventure.
Even if you're not that familiar with the 'Lord of the Rings' books and movies, this spot is still one of the most fun places to visit in New-Zealand. Are you interested to know why? Definitely read on, then!

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Book tickets and tours to Hobbiton online

If you want to visit this tourist attraction, I advise you to book your tickets online and well in advance. Often these tickets are sold out a few days in advance, and it would be a shame if you’re in New Zealand and can’t visit these famous Hobbit holes.
I always use GetYourGuide to make my bookings, because they offer the same prices and you also get the possibility to cancel for free up to 24 hours in advance. You never know what might come along your way in New Zealand!
You of course can also book a tour starting from Auckland, but I personally recommend using your own transport. There’s a lot more to see in New Zealand besides this magical place!

 

visit Hobbiton

How to reach Hobbiton?

If you want to go from Auckland to Hobbiton, there are numerous Hobbiton movie set tours which you can book. They’ll pick you up at your accommodation and then conveniently drop you off at the visitor center of the Hobbiton Movie Set.

If you have your own car, it is however a lot cheaper to drive there yourself. I’d still strongly advise you to buy your tickets for the guided tour online in any case, because there’s limited availability.

It takes at least three hours to drive from Auckland to Hobbiton, so it’s definitely not a bad idea to continue your journey from here if you don’t need to be in Auckland anymore. Near Hobbiton you’ll by the way find the fairylike ‘Waitomo Glow worm caves’, a cave full of luminous glow-worms which are almost as magical as Tolkien’s books.

Hobbiton Movie set tour

This bus will take you to the Hobbiton Movie Set.

A visit to the Hobbiton movie set

In the visitor center of this Hobbit Village in New-Zealand you become incredibly curious about the further course of your visit straight away. After you’ve validated your ticket, you have to wait for the bus which will bring you to the actual Hobbiton movie set. Next, you journey along the hilly landscapes full of sheep, to the entrance of Hobbiton while being shown an entertaining video. In that movie Peter Jackson (the director of all Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies) will already tell you some fun anecdotes and you’ll also learn a little bit more about the history of this place. Don’t forget to look outside every now and then, because the green landscapes are truly breath-taking. No wonder Peter Jackson picked this very spot to house Tolkien’s magical Hobbits.

Peter Jackson knew already back in 1998 that New-Zealand’s landscapes would play a prominent role in his movies. During a reconnaissance flight over the North Island, the director fell in love head over heels with the Alexander Farm in Waikato. He went to visit the owner of this farm and told him that he was planning on turning the famous books of Tolkien into a movie. The owner, Russel Alexander, had no idea wat the Lord of The Rings was and just threw his set of keys to Jackson. “Go and take a look, but don’t bother me now because there’s rugby on TV!” was his reply.
I won’t comment on whether that was hospitable or not. One thing’s for sure though: Peter Jackson was hooked straight away and shortly after an agreement was made, they started the construction of Hobbiton.

Hobbit House New Zealand

One of the typical Hobbit houses in New-Zealand.

Hobbit Homes New Zealand

Hobbiton is surprisingly big! It could have been a real village without a problem.

Attention to detail and funny stories

The construction of the famous Hobbit Village in New-Zealand took more than two years to be completed and eventually they just filmed there for a couple of weeks before it was disbanded again. After the enormous success of the Lord of The Rings, they rebuilt the village for the Hobbit movies and this time they luckily remained intact so that nowadays curious tourists can visit this magical place.

During your Hobbiton movie set tour you get to see the entire village (which is surprisingly big!), but of course you get to hear a great number of fun, funny and amazing stories as well. That’s how it becomes clear from the start that director Peter Jackson paid an unbelievable amount of attention to details. I’d might even say too much, because they often worked incredibly hard on things which weren’t even shown in the movies.

In the Lord of The Rings books they for example mention a certain type of plum tree and this let the imagination of the director run wild. These plum trees however don’t grow in New-Zealand and to solve this problem, he had another type of tree planted (which doesn’t grow as high) whose leaves were picked one by one. Thereafter one of his assistants had to sew the leaves and plums of an actual plum tree to this tree using iron wire. A tremendous amount of work, and yet the shots of these plum trees were never used in the movies…Legend has it that the assistant is still roaming Middle Earth to sew leaves to trees.

To make the movies as realistic as possible, they also barely used fake props. Up to the present day the vegetables and fruit which you can see in the vegetable gardens of the Hobbits are all growing for real. The same applies to the dirty laundry which is hanging on the clotheslines: every day it is changed!

Of course you get to hear many more stories or fun facts during your Hobbiton movie set tour. Here are a couple which I found particularly interesting:

  • Everyone who’s a fan of the Peter Jackson movies, knows that this director loves a great sunset. He made no exception for The Hobbit trilogy. The entire Hobbit village is however oriented in the wrong way and to get some nice shots of a sunset, they filmed a sunrise which was then played in reverse order in the movie. And yes, also the actors had to do everything in the opposite direction! Luckily it didn’t involve any words…
  • In one of the movies Gandalf (played by Ian McKellen) bumps his head and starts to swear loudly. This however wasn’t in the original script! Because the Hobbit homes in New-Zealand are so small, the actor truly bumped his head. Peter Jackson thought this scene to perfectly show how little the Hobbits actually are and decided to keep this scene in the movie.
  • In total more than thirty different kinds of rings were made. Most props got lost or broken. One of them was even magnetic, so that the ring didn’t bounce and shows how heavy the magical ring really is.
  • All Hobbit homes are vacant. The interior scenes were recorded in a studio in Wellington. Luckily there’s one house where you can pose in the open door. If, however, you look a little bit further inside, you can see an empty space indeed!
  • Because Hobbits are so small, a great number of the extras were children. To keep them active during the scenes, they were continuously given candy and sugar. The adults who were partaking were given 1% alcohol. That way they thought they were getting drunk, but were also able to get inside their character again quickly and be an attentive extra.
  • As I’ve mentioned before, they worked on the famous Hobbit homes in New-Zealand for over two years. Peter Jackson and his friends couldn’t do this job by themselves, so they reached out to the New-Zealand navy for help. They lent a hand to dig out the Hobbit homes and constructed the road to the movie set.
  • The Green Dragon Inn wasn’t only lit on fire in the movie. It also went up in flames in real life!

visiting Hobbiton

If you visit Hobbiton you’re hardly able to take it all in!

Visit Hobbiton New Zealand

Hobbiton is really nice for everyone. Not just for LOTR fans!

Hobbiton Scarecrow

Scarecrows also feel perfectly at home in the gardens of Hobbiton.

A tour from Auckland to Hobbiton

If you don’t have your own car in New-Zealand (something I by the way do recommend), fortunately you can book a Hobbiton tour from Auckland. Don’t forget that Hobbiton is a three-hour ride away from this metropolis and it’s probably going to be a long day. If you choose for a Hobbiton tour from Auckland, it might be a nice bonus to make it a day trip combined with a visit to the Waitomo glow-worm caves. That’s how you immediately get to see two of the most magical places in New-Zealand in one day.

During such a day trip you’re being picked up at your accommodation. On the way you make a couple of (short) stops to stretch your legs and admire New-Zealand’s enchanting nature. Once you’ve arrived at the Hobbiton visitor center, you have to transfer to another bus which will bring you for a couple of minutes along the rolling grass landscapes while you get to see an orientation video. This is the perfect moment to jog your memory and become even more enthusiastic about your impending visit to Hobbiton.

Once you get off the bus, a guide will bring you close by the famous Hobbit Homes in New-Zealand and you’re given all the time you need to enjoy this magical place. Don’t hesitate to ask your supervisor to take some pictures. Who wouldn’t want to have something to remember the famous Hobbiton movie set?!

After your guided tour you have a moment of time to enjoy a (free) drink in the ‘Green Dragon’, the same inn which was also used in the ‘Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of The Rings’ movies. After your drink you can walk around for a bit in Hobbiton and afterwards they bring you back to the visitor center by bus. There you have the opportunity to buy some unique and fun souvenirs before you return by the other shuttle bus. It’s a long way, but luckily you get to see a great number of beautiful landscapes during the ride back to Auckland.

hobbiton tour from Auckland

During a Hobbiton tour from Auckland you’ll get to see these enchanting houses with your own eyes.

Hobbiton tickets

There are various possibilities to visit Hobbiton.

The normal Hobbiton tour tickets are the cheapest and cost about €50 per person. To make your magical experience complete, you can also combine the Hobbiton tour with a lunch buffet, for which you’ll pay €75 per person. You should definitely book this in advance, because these tickets sell out extremely quickly (and are only available twice a week).

You can also book the Hobbiton Movie Set Tour with round-trip bus transfer. From Rotorua you have to cough up about €75 per person, from Auckland it will set you back around €120 per person. If you’re in the general area, it’s definitely not a bad idea to combine the Hobbiton Movie Set with a visit to the Waitomo Glowworm caves. With transportation from Auckland included this combination trip costs €180 per person. Do you also want to experience the festive lunch in the Green Dragon during the latter tour? Then you’ll pay €215 per person for the entire experience.

 

Good to know during your visit to Hobbiton

  • You can only visit the Lord of The Rings movie set with a guided tour. Visiting it on your own isn’t allowed and no exceptions are made.
  • You can visit the famous Hobbit houses in New-Zealand every day from 9 AM to 3:30 PM.
    From September 1 to April 30 additional tours are provided until 4:30 PM and from December 27 up until February 28 you can book tours until 5:30 PM. There’s a tour every half hour.
  • The guided tour takes at least two hours, but often even a little bit longer.
  • You’re not allowed to mount a tripod on your camera. On one hand it’s to guarantee the safety of other visitors, on the other hand it takes too much time to prepare the tripod with the camera. Besides, you’re not the only person on a Hobbiton tour so it’s a little bit inappropriate to have a photo shoot during your tour… Don’t hesitate however to ask your guide to take your picture.
  • Book your tickets in advance. Especially when combining your tour with the festive lunch buffet (which is only organized twice a week). I had to purchase my tickets already a couple of weeks beforehand, because otherwise they would have been sold out.
  • Traveling with children? Leave your stroller in the visitor center or in your car. The paths in Hobbiton are quite bumpy and there are quite a bit of pretty steep parts or stairs which you have to climb.
  • For the same reason I strongly advise you to wear comfortable shoes. 

Hobbiton Tour

The attention spent to details in Hobbiton is truly impressive.

green dragon inn Hobbiton

Inside the Green Dragon Inn.

Other movie tours in New-Zealand

The landscapes of New-Zealand became world-famous through movies such as Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, and of course there are many more movie locations (Narnia amongst others!) to be discovered in this magnificent country.
There are (guided) movie tours on both the North Island as the South Island. But of course you can also explore quite a few movie locations on your own. These are the ones I recommend:

  1. Castle Hill –Gigantic rocks are scattered around in a green landscape along the fantastic Arthur’s Pass. This land was used for the first Chronicles of Narnia movie.
  2. Mount Taranaki –This gorgeous mountain strongly resembles Mount Fuji. No wonder the Last Samurai was shot nearby.
  3. Cathedral Cove – Also for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, New-Zealand was thought of. From the fantastic Cathedral Cove on the Coromandel peninsula a famous scene was shot.
  4. Tongario National Park –The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is considered by many to be the best day hike in the world. In this national park you can see the astonishing landscapes which are used for Mordor and Mount Doom in the Lord of The Ring movies and The Hobbit trilogy.
  5. Shelly Bay and Lyall Bay – On the North Island you can also find some movie locations from both King Kong movies (the 1933 and 2005 one). Not far off Wellington this location was used as Skull Island.

There are dozens of other locations which you can discover in New-Zealand. Curious? Take a look at the movie tours in New-Zealand which you can book through GetYourGuide:

 

Is the Hobbiton tour worth it?

Yes, well, at least for me.

The guided tour definitely isn’t cheap (around €50 per person), but it makes sense if you consider the fact that you’re being lugged around for two hours through a meticulously maintained movie set.

I’m not a die-hard fan of the Lord of The Rings or The Hobbit, but still I found a visit to Hobbiton to be definitely worth the money. Even if you’re not really familiar with Frodo’s and Bilbo’s stories, this remains a magical experience. During your guided tour you get to hear a great number of fun stories after all and you also find out what it was like on such a big movie set. It seems like you’re being taken to a fantasy world and the landscapes you get to see are truly breath-taking. I do advise to watch the movies in advance (or after your visit), because this truly adds the magic touch to the Hobbiton tour experience.

Still in doubt? First make a list of all the sights in New-Zealand you want to see for sure and check if you still have time for or feel like exploring Hobbiton as well.

hobbit village new zealand

Visiting Hobbiton was for me one the most fun things to in New-Zealand.

lord of the rings movie set hobbiton

Have you already been to Hobbiton? Share your experience in the comment section below!

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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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