New Zealand Memories: Hobbiton

Anyone who’s read any of my stuff would have realised I’m besotted with film sets and locations, so while in the north island of New Zealand I couldn’t miss out on Hobbiton, the location used for The Shire in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ movies.

We left the bus that had taken us through the farm belonging to the Alexander family and entered through the gateway. All around us were bumpy hills, colourful doors slotted into their sides, chimneys and little latticed windows popping from their crowns.

There are 44 hobbit holes in all.   

A hobbit terrace

I was able to go behind this door.

It was dark and cool and all outside noise disappeared. ‘You could sleep in here,’ said the woman I’d followed in, ‘there’s just enough room for a mattress.’ I lingered for awhile, breathing in the soft earthiness, until the door was opened by a large man and I had to get out of the way.

I love this photo. I was able to talk these two non-English-speaking boys into posing for me.

The vegetable garden in the dell

At the very top of the hill is Bilbo’s house. It’s a bit more upmarket than the rest, more of a hobbit mansion, Bilbo being the original hero of the piece.

Looking across the lake to The Green Dragon Inn
The mill and stone bridge leading across the lake to the inn.

The Green Dragon Inn is an actual pub and a free drink was part of the tour. I ordered a ginger beer and sat at a carved wooden table. Light filtered through pretty latticed windows onto the grey slate floor. Lanterns hung from beams, and the doors and openings between rooms were circular, mirroring the hobbit doors. 

Geoff, our lovely New Zealand tour guide, wandered past.

‘Was this area in the film,’ I asked.

‘No,’ he said, ‘the interiors were all done in Wellington. This is a copy but bigger … made for the tourists.’ There was a load of information on the tour about the making of the movies. If you’re into that sort of thing, you’d be over the moon.

I strolled out into the sunshine, thinking how refreshing ginger beer is. I’ve been drinking it ever since.

A nice little spot at The Green Dragon Inn

I couldn’t have asked for a better day, sunshine, a light breeze, for my foray into another time, a Medieval time, a Hobbits and Wizards time. Highly recommended.

Lovely New Zealand guide


17 thoughts on “New Zealand Memories: Hobbiton

    1. You can only do it as a guided tour because it’s part of a private farm. You can get on a bus tour at the town of Matamata but it’s expensive and it’s just as easy to drive there. There’s a good car park and restaurant where a bus picks you up and takes you through the paddocks to the gateway. From then onwards there’s a tour guide but there’s a lot of freedom. You can wander around as you like but the guide was terrific. Lots of info on the making of the movies. Cheers.


  1. I drove myself around, first the south island in 2010, then the north in 2014. It’s easy to drive around, the roads are good, there’s plenty of good accommodation. Driving through the Alps on the south island to Milford Sound fiord was a serious challenge for me with my fear of heights (worth it, though) but other than that, no problem. My favourite part was the west coast of the south island for the mountains, lakes, fiords and glaciers. There’s a train from Christchurch across and you can hire a car from there or drive down from the north, something I will be doing in the future. The north island is great too for its volcanic thermal areas, lovely scenery around the coast and its Maori history. I hope this is useful. Cheers, Coral.


  2. Although I’ve read the books and seen parts of the movies, I’m not a huge LOTRs fan. I knew the movies were filmed in New Zealand, but was Hobbiton built specifically for the movie?

    From your photos it looks rather ‘magical’ – but I am a big fan of rounded architectural features so I’d be swooning over those round doorways 🙂


    1. Yes, Joanne. Hobbiton was made specifically for LOTR. It was supposed to have been torn down afterwards but when Peter Jackson wanted to do The Hobbit as well, the owner of the farmland realised he was onto a good thing and so it was made more permanent. It’s just a lovely place for that part of you that’s still a child to go (I found, anyway).

      Liked by 1 person

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