We visited Hobbiton (the Shire in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films) almost exactly 3 years ago. That time it poured with rain, really poured. So we decided this time that if the weather was fine as we passed by then we would try again. Luckily as we drove from Piha to Tauranga, a 3 hour journey, the weather was OK and we decided to stop off.
As soon as we arrived at the booking office and departure point we realised it was busy – loads of visitors, and the distinctive green buses were flying around. Luckily, we managed to book a tour giving us an hour to grab lunch in the café by the booking office. There’s also a cute shop selling all sorts of Lord of the Rings merchandise. Entry is fairly expensive at $79.00 for adults and $39.50 for youths (9-16 years) but well worth it in our view. The tour lasted 2 hours.
You leave the booking centre in a coach which takes you the mile or so to the centre of the Shire. The bus driver gave us a running commentary on the history of the farm and how Peter Jackson found the location.
One of the tour guides then walked us around the site. The guides are invariably American or British backpacker types who are working there for a season or so. However, they are very knowledgeable and give you a lot of context around which locations are used in which film.
It really feels as if you are really in Hobbiton, which of course you are. They work really hard to make it feel like the real thing. The chimneys are smoking and it has a good atmosphere about it. It even smells like the real thing. Of course the only thing missing are the Hobbits themselves!
There are lots of opportunities to take photos, and to pose in front of hobbit holes.
Well worth a visit, it’s recommended to book if you visit at busy times, and the Evening Banquet looks worthwhile to give you more time in the wonderful Green Dragon Inn.
Click on any photo for a bigger view.