It’s time to go back to New Zealand, shall we? And today I will maybe share the most clichée New Zealand experience with you – or shall I rather say Middle Earth experience? Now all of New Zealand truly feels like Middle Earth with its untouched nature, vast landscapes and rugged mountains. But there is one village that takes you right into the ‘Lord of the Rings’ – the cute little Hobbiton. So obviously I could not skip this pretty touristy must-see setting and not even the ongoing rain was holding me back from a little kitsch experience in Middle Earth!
Hobbiton is a beautifully preserved film set of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ movies and is located close to the town of Matamata in the central part of New Zealand’s North Island. And despite the hunch that it might be a tourist trap I must confess: it was really worth visiting! Yes, it is a very popular sight in New Zealand but the entire visitor process is reall well organized. The groups are not too big and each group has a personal guide who takes you on a little stroll through Hobbiton – not only visually but enriched with lots of fun and interestring trivia and stories from the movie making process, behind-the-camera events and fun take-outs. It makes the entire visit even more tangible and enjoyable. Little tip: Book your tickets online in advance as you have to pick a certain time slot for your visit.
Another fact I really enjoyed: the tour guides know that people really want to take pictures of their visit so they plan enough time for each of the group members to have a few photos taken without being rushed through the entire village on a minute cycle! You will go up- and downhill, wander through lush gardens full of veggies, stroll through orchards, peek into the baker’s home, the cheese monger’s hut, you will visit the home of Sam as well as Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. And yes, you will have the opportunity to actually peek into a few Hobbit holes and take fun pics! But don’t expect too much in there, after all it is only a film set and all the indoor filming was done in film studios in Wellington, not in the actual Hobbit holes. Hello reality!
The well preserved complex really manages to enchant the visitor despite the fact that you are not all alone there and instead of frolicking Hobbits you will see tourists with smartphones and cameras marching the pathways of Hobbiton. But still, the experience is magic and takes you into another world for a few minutes at least – provided that yoyu actually love the movies of course.
The tour eventually guides you downhill, past a little lake and over stone bridges, passing a water mill and onwards to the Green Dragon Inn – sit down and gulp down a pitcher of beer like a real Hobbit and then take off to your own Middle Earth adventure. After all, not only Hobbiton but all of New Zealand is truly Middle Earth!
Photography / iPhone Photography by Igor Josifovic