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There and back again: a visit to Hobbiton

NEW ZEALAND | Friday, 1 March 2013 | Views [1057]

The Baggins residence in Hobbiton

The Baggins residence in Hobbiton

This journey starts with a car ride down to Matamata, where the Hobbiton movie set is located. Passing through lovely rolling hills made tan by drought and summer, spotted with sheep and cows grazing lazily in the sun, we found ourselves in a parking lot full of tourist buses.

My friends and I headed into the gift shop and bought our tickets: $75 each which included a quick bus ride to the set and one free drink at the Green Dragon Pub.

Alas, lunchtime touristing meant that we had to wait an hour for the next not-ridiculously full tour. Grabbing some snacks at the cafe located above the gift shop we settled in for the wait while munching fries (not chips, apparently) and some ginger beer enjoying the mildly warm weather.

When the tour bus finally made its way back offloading the previous group we filed in and made our way down a twisty road as our driver mentioned details of the set along the way. Arriving at the entrance we were separated into a couple of more manageable groups with a tour guide. Passing through the fence and foliage suddenly there was Hobbiton! We walked down a gravel path dotted with charmingly rustic hobbit holes of varying sizes and colors that had details down to the painted functional mail-boxes and mini-clothes racks. It was quite adorable! Some of the homes were truly hobbit-sized and meant for background shots while others had human-sized doors. There was even one propped open so you could grab a photo walking out.

All of these homes were situated on a hill and initially they were made as temporary structures which, with storm, were worn down with time and nature’s temperament. With The Hobbit movies happening the crew decided to build more permanent structures which is what the tour groups now view. I thought an interesting lesser known fact about the set was the large oak tree above the Baggins’ residence was actually a fake. But from far away it looked real enough to fool me.

All of our sightseeing out of the way, we headed to The Green Dragon Pub for a well-deserved drink. Apparently the interior was added in later so all the scenes in the movie were taken down in Wellington but arriving inside it looked just like a regular pub with rustic touches. They brew their own beer, cider, and ginger beer, too, which I thought was great. I only had a chance to try the hard cider but I found it to be very good and would definitely buy it if I could nab some at a retail store. Sitting outside over a glass of cider in lovely summer weather with good people was definitely a highlight of the day!

So that is my experience of Hobbiton. I thought the price was a bit steep but well-worth it in the end.

 

More info can be found here: http://www.hobbitontours.com/

 

Happy travels!

Tags: hobbiton, matamata, new zealand, the hobbit

 

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