January 16, 2024 | Allison Robertson

Here's Why You Have to Make it to Hobbiton Now


Hobbiton Movie Set

There are lots of places in New Zealand where scenes from the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed, but none of them quite immerses you in the world of Middle Earth like Hobbiton does.

The enchanting hobbit village has an incredible attention to detail, and is a must-visit destination for fans of "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" trilogies.

Let's find out more about this spectacular other-worldly experience that has easily become one of New Zealand's most popular tourist attractions

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Location

Hobbiton is a world-famous film set located on a picturesque farm near Matamata, New Zealand. It was created for Peter Jackson's film adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" series.

You can only visit Hobbiton on a guided walking tour, but it is said to be one of the best LOTR experiences for diehard fans.Movie set for the Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit - 2016Peter Gudella, Shutterstock

Background Story: Finding the Perfect Location

Back in 1998 Peter Jackson sent his team of location scouts to New Zealand in search of the perfect location for Hobbiton—the village where the hobbits live—for the upcoming Lord of the Rings trilogy of movies.

Sure enough, while flying over a 1,250-acre sheep farm in Waikato, they found a striking resemblance to scenes described in the JRR Tolkien novels, specifically perfect green pastures, a rising hill (where Bag End would later sit), and a stunning pine tree by a lake.

Peter Jackson attend the World Premiere - 2018WPA Pool, Getty Images

Background Story: Building the Set

In 1999, a temporary set was built and the filming began. Afterward, the set was demolished, which saddened fans who wanted to visit the site.

So, when Jackson returned to film The Hobbit trilogy a decade later, they decided to build a permanent set of 44 Hobbit Holes and the Green Dragon Inn.

Two years later, the Hobbiton Movie Set opened to the public for tours and instantly became one of the most popular tourist spots in New Zealand.

Landscape of the Hobbiton Movie Set (New Zealand) - 2018gg-foto, Shutterstock

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Guided Tours

Visitors to Hobbiton can only access the set through guided tours. Knowledgeable guides lead tours, sharing insights and stories about the filming process and the set's construction.

Your guide will take you on a shared walking tour around the movie set, showcasing the intricate details, pointing out the most famous locations and explaining how movie magic was made.

There are several tour options that can include meals and additional time on certain areas of the set.

Ticket to movie set from Lord of the rings, Hobbit movies - 2018Mike-Hubert.com, Shutterstock

Hobbit Holes

The Hobbit Holes in Hobbiton, New Zealand, are one of the most iconic and charming aspects of the film set.

There are 44 hobbit holes on the set, each with its unique design and details. Some are large enough to enter, while others are facades. The facades are incredibly detailed, featuring miniature gardens, colorful flowers, and decorative elements like round doors and windows. The attention to detail is remarkable.

Hobbiton, Lord of the Rings Film and movie set, New ZealandSophie Burgess, Shutterstock

Functional Interiors

Although only a few of the hobbit holes have fully-furnished interiors used for filming, some have functional interiors that can be physically explored during the guided tour.

They are decorated in a cozy and rustic style, with fireplaces, furniture, and other details that make them feel like real hobbit homes.

Visitors are able to touch the set—opening doors, sitting on steps, and posing for photos with whatever they find appealing.

The Hobbiton Movie Set - 2019Kolf, Shutterstock

Bag End

One of the hobbit holes, Bag End, is particularly famous.

Bag End is the home of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. It is perched at the top of the hill overlooking the village. It is instantly recognizable by its distinctive green color.

Visitors can get a close look at this iconic hobbit hole during the tour.

Hobbiton, Shire, Bag End, Rotorua, New ZealandElina Akselrud, Shutterstock

Bagshot Row

Bagshot Row is a lane with three Hobbit Holes in the hillside including Samwise Gamgee’s iconic yellow door. The tour explores these fully themed Hobbit Hole interiors cozy enough for a family of Hobbits. The tour offers an authentic glimpse into the charming homes of Hobbits going about daily life in the Shire.

Guests are welcome to touch and feel any props and theming while exploring.

Hobbit House of Samwise Gamgee in Hobbiton the Shire.djr-photography, Shutterstock

The Shire’s Rest Café

The Shire’s Rest Café is a place where visitors can relax with a cup of coffee and a classic country café meal. They offer a range of home cooked food, snacks and drinks in an authentic New Zealand surrounding.

The Shire’s Rest building is also where all of the tours depart from. You do not need to book a tour to visit The Shire’s Rest. You are free to enjoy the café and souvenir shop without committing to a tour.

The dragon pub in movie set from Lord of the rings, Hobbit movies - 2018Mike-Hubert.com, Shutterstock

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The Green Dragon Inn

The Green Dragon Inn was the meeting place for all residents of Hobbiton. The interior of the Inn has been fully reconstructed to appear as it did in the films. Enjoy a complimentary beverage which includes two traditional ales, an apple cider or non-alcoholic ginger beer, all handcrafted and exclusive to Hobbiton Movie Set.  

The Green Dragon Inn offers guests comfortable seating by a roaring fire, as well as seating outside in the Brew Garden overlooking the enchanting village.

 The Green Dragon Inn is only accessible as part of a tour, but can also be booked for private functions. The Green Dragon pub is only accessible as part of a tour of Hobbiton - 2017Boyloso, Shutterstock

Tour Details

Tours are typically 2-4 hours long, and group sizes can reach up to 40 guests depending on the tour.

There are a range of tours available, some including meals and beverages. Private tours can be booked for an additional fee.

Hobbiton also offers night tours where the guide uses the soft glow of lantern light. This provides a magical and romantic atmosphere, which gives a different perspective of the village.

The waitress serving the traditional brewing beer in the Green Dragon an iconic pub of Hobbiton Movie Set. - 2017Boyloso, Shutterstock

Tours With Meals

The Hobbiton Movie Set Tour + Meal Combo includes a full set tour followed by a delicious lunch served inside the festive Party Marquee. The meal is served buffet style from a specially themed table, bursting with hobbit fare.

The Hobbiton Evening Banquet Tour includes a full set tour followed by a banquet feast fit for a Hobbit served inside The Green Dragon Inn. The tour begins at dusk, and ends with a traditional Hobbit meal where second helpings are encouraged.

The Hobbiton Second Breakfast Tour includes a full set tour followed by a hearty breakfast spread served inside the Millhouse. The breakfast includes a range of fresh fruit, breads and pastries, cold meats, and Hobbit breakfast staples including fluffy scrambled eggs, streaky bacon, potatoes, grilled sausages and rosemary mushrooms.

Hobbiton movie set for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies. Ornately carved bar in the Green Dragon Inn. - 2015Steve Todd, Shutterstock

International Hobbit Day

Hobbiton’s biggest party of the year celebrates International Hobbit Day, marking the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.

This extremely popular celebration includes:

  • A fully guided tour of Hobbiton Movie Set
  • Hobbit Southfarthing beverages on tap throughout the evening
  • A range of wines available
  • Interactive marketplace with games, music and entertainment
  • Supper and dessert served from The Green Dragon Inn and the Party Marquee
  • Best dressed, raffle and Hobbiton game prizes
  • An optional 15-minute evening walk through the Shire

The celebration lasts about 5 and a half hours, and is approximately $300 per person to attend.

The green dragon pub in movie set from Lord of the rings, Hobbit movies - 2018Mike-Hubert.com, Shutterstock

Private Functions

Private functions can be held at Hobbiton's venue, The Millhouse, which boasts an inviting atmosphere similar to that of The Dragon Inn but with a more intimate dining experience. 

The venue can accommodate small weddings and corporate functions for up to 32 guests, and boasts rustic, exposed wooden beam ceilings, crackling fire place and themed decor. 

Private functions can also be held at a newer building on set called The Hub, which includes two conjoining rooms that can accommodate up to 130 guests.

The Party Marquee is a fully themed, spacious location for larger groups. It can hold up to 350 people and includes a fully licensed bar and catering is tailored to the event.

Mill house on the lake - Hobbiton movie set - 2016baby_666, Shutterstock

Final Thoughts

The hobbit holes of Hobbiton are a central attraction and proof of the incredible craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into creating this iconic film set.

Hobbiton truly captures the charm of Tolkien's fictional world, making it a must-visit destination for fans of "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" trilogies.

Be sure to wear sensible shoes and weather appropriate attire, and don’t forget your camera!

The woman in the Shire at the entrance to the hobbit house. A copy of the scene of the film Lord of the Ringsfrantic00, Shutterstock