The only reason why we included Matamata on our route was for the same reason everyone else does….HOBBITON!
The day we arrived at Matamata the weather was dreadful, rain and mist covered the region, so we decided to take our chances and waited to visit Hobbiton the next morning, hoping for clear skies. We spent the afternoon in a cosy hobbit themed pub, Redoubt Bar & Eatery, having tea and coffee and using wifi, something we didn’t have on the road. We camped in a freedom park just 2km away where you pay a donation and only has a toilet available.
The Magical World of Hobbiton
mata mata - hobbiton
What can I say about the Middle Earth apart from it being the most magical place I have ever been to and it just seems like your in a fantasy world. One of New Zealand’s top attractions, Hobbiton is the only movie set that has remained and even though they had to burn down one of the buildings for the movie, it was reconstructed as the property owner had negotiated for this, having in mind that Hobbiton could be kept as a tourist attraction and he was certainly correct, having around 2,000 visitors a day! Our guided tour included a free bus to and from the attraction for $75 pp.
Twenty minutes after we left the town, passing charming farmland filled with sheep, we arrived and met our guide in a group of about twenty. We began the tour strolling through Gandalfs Path, where the scene of Gandalf and Frodo on the cart is filmed. The guide explained how they positioned Frodo further back to appear smaller than Gandalf. At the end of the path we arrived at the set, a lush green hill featuring 39 adorable wooden hobbit holes all with different coloured round doors and different props arranged outside the hobbit hole depending on the hobbits trade. The fish monger had fish hanging from a rope, the gardener had many flowered pots and so on.
Hobbit Max :)
There were many photo opportunities posing in front of the hobbit holes, however, there wasone chance to take photos standing inside. Unfortunately everyone wishes they had all the time in the world to wander around The Shire at their own leisurely pace but due to the large influx of visitors daily it felt a bit rushed.
At the top of the hill was the most important hobbit hole of all, located beneath a large tree with artificial leaves wired on, Bilbo Baggins’ home. It was the one with the best view of the Shire, reaching out to the lake, the Green Dragon Inn and the hills.
Bilbo Baggins’ very own hobbit hole Bilbo Baggins’ mail box…adorable
The landscape was stunning, not only for a Lord Of The Rings fan but for anyone who appreciated beautiful scenery. The grass so green and fresh, the lake blue as ever and the Shire props all made it one complete picture. It was because of the giant tree, lake and background hills that Sir Peter Jackson, director of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”, chose this location and transformed this quiet town in to a town tourists cannot leave NZ without visiting.
Lush green landscape with Green Dragon in the distance
We ended the tour walking through the small forest, over the bridge passed the Mill, to the Green Dragon Inn where we were offered a complimentary drink from their exclusive Southfarthing beverage range (two traditional ales, an apple cider or a non-alcoholic ginger beer) made only in Hobbiton.
Cosy Green Dragon There were fun dress up props.
Meet Hobbit Max and Hobbit Lou :)
Having a quick stop at the souvenir shop the bus drove us back to the town. The exit from the Shire was also beautiful with green rolling hills covered with grazing sheep.