There is so much to do on the North Island of New Zealand. But one of the absolute highlights from my travels there is the Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata.
This place is any Middle Earth fans dream. I actually shed a few tears when I stood at the gate to Bag End, it was so surreal.
They have so many cool behind the scenes secrets that they share with you on the tour (which I'm not going to give away, because what would be the fun of that?!)
I've done the Hobbiton Movie Set Tour a grand total of three times - two of those were on the same day! - and I absolutely will go back again at some point.
It's just that good.
You enter through that famous pathway through which Bilbo runs out of the Shire yelling "I'M GOING ON AN ADVENTURE" following the dwarves and Gandalf - and yes you can recreate this moment, 100% recommend. You then walk into the base of the Shire and are met with the views you see in the movie, exactly as they look in the film. It's incredible.
You then wander through the Shire, looking at a whole number of different Hobbit holes (you can even go INSIDE one. Yep. Although *spoilers*, it's just a dirt floor, walls and roof...), see all the intricate details of the set dressings, and learning little secrets from your fabulous Tour Guide.
I would absolutely recommend doing the Tour that includes the Banquet in the Green Dragon - it was the greatest thing ever. The food was INCREDIBLE. Plus you get to walk through Hobbiton TWICE on that tour - first, as the sun is setting and you'll be met with the below incredible view...
... and second, after your banquet meal in the Green Dragon Inn. They give you lanterns and you get to walk along the waterfront Hobbit holes in the dark while the Shire is lit up. You then get to go ONTO the Party Field with your lanterns. INCREDIBLE.
It's simply one of the most brilliant places. It's just like the movies - lush, green and magical.
You can easily base yourself in a number of nearby towns that are only a short drive away:
- Rotorua (where there are HEAPS of other things to do - another blog coming on this!) is a 51 minute drive
- Hamilton (I loved Hamilton, both the hit musical AND the town.) is also a 51 minute drive
- Tauranga (I haven't been here but it's on my list!) is only a 47 minutes drive
But seriously, if you were on the fence about going, it's worth every cent. You should check out the magical Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, NZ. You won't regret it.
11/10 (Yep, it's that good.)
**All photos are my own and were taken by me in 2017.