Nestled in New Zealand’s North Island’s rolling hills, lies the magic of Hobbiton.  It has captured the hearts of J.R.R Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” film and book fans all over the world.

It’s a place where visitors immerse themselves in the magical world of hobbits.  And experience stunning landscapes that served as backdrops for the blockbuster movies. From iconic Hobbit holes to the Green Dragon Inn, Hobbiton offers a unique glimpse into the fantastical world of Middle-Earth.

In this article, I’ll take you on a personal journey and share the magic of Hobbiton.  We’ll explore why it’s a must-visit destination for any fan of Tolkien’s works.  If you are seeking an enchanting and unforgettable travel experience, the magic of Hobbiton awaits you.

Hobbiton: A popular tourist destination in New Zealand

Hobbiton is a popular, picturesque tourist destination, located on a privately-owned farm near the town of Matamata.  It is must-visit place for fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” books and movies.

It features stunningly detailed and meticulously crafted hobbit holes, gardens, and other features that bring the fictional world of Middle Earth to life.

You’ll discover how the movies were made during your guided tour, including a few secrets.  Take time to enjoy a meal or a drink at the Green Dragon Inn – a must-visit place for movie and fantasy enthusiasts.

Overlooking Hobbiton and Middle Earth
Overlooking Hobbiton and Middle Earth
The magic of Hobbiton as a movie set and the surrounding countryside’s beauty.

Hobbiton is the movie set used in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies. Hobbiton’s allure lies in its stunning recreation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional world of Middle Earth.

The movie set is meticulously crafted.  With incredible attention to detail, it creates a sense of immersion that makes visitors feel they have stepped into Tolkien’s books.

The set includes 44 hobbit holes, a mill, a pub, a bridge, and even a replica of the famous Green Dragon Inn. Every aspect of the set is carefully designed to evoke the charm and whimsy of Hobbiton, from the colourful gardens to winding pathways.

Beyond the movie set, the surrounding countryside is equally stunning which helps create the magic of Hobbiton. The Waikato region’s rolling hills are dotted with lush green fields, sparkling streams, and towering trees.  They create a picturesque landscape that seems almost too beautiful to be real.

Visitors are guided through the set and surrounding countryside.  The experience includes a journey through the Alexander family’s farmlands.  They still own the land on which Hobbiton was built.

Hobbiton’s allure and surrounding countryside evokes a sense of wonder and the magic of Hobbiton. Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse yourself in a world of fantasy and adventure.

The countryside serves as the perfect backdrop for the meticulously crafted movie set.  Visitors are transported to another world which inspires a sense of awe and wonder.

The origins of Hobbiton as a movie set

The movie set was originally built in 1999 for the “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The set was designed to bring to life J.R.R. Tolkien’s vision of the Shire, the peaceful homeland of the hobbits.

Peter Jackson and his team discovered the location when they were scouting for filming locations.  They discovered a sheep farm owned by the Alexander family, which they believed was the perfect location for Hobbiton.

The area had rolling green hills, a beautiful lake, and a large tree.  Peter Jackson knew he could transform it into the iconic Party Tree in the Shire.

Construction began in March 1999 and took six months to build the set. The team built 37 hobbit holes, including Bag End, the home of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.  A bridge, gardens, and other features of the Shire were also added.

Hobbit holes in The Shire
Hobbit holes in The Shire

The set was designed to be as authentic as possible.  Real thatched roofs, vegetable gardens, and even laundry hanging out to dry were key inclusions.

After “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy was completed, the Hobbiton set was dismantled, and the area returned to its original state. However, Peter Jackson later decided to film “The Hobbit” trilogy in 2011.  Consequently, the set was rebuilt and expanded to include more hobbit holes and features.

Filming the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit trilogies

Filming The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies was a massive undertaking, spanning years of pre-production, filming, and post-production. Both trilogies were directed by New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson, who also co-wrote the screenplays with Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens.

Lord of the Rings:

Filming the Lord of the Rings trilogy began in October 1999 and lasted for over a year. The films were shot back-to-back in New Zealand, with many of the same locations used throughout the three films.

The trilogy was shot using Super 35 mm film.  It featured extensive use of digital effects to create the vast landscapes, creatures, and battle scenes.

The cast included a mix of established actors and relative newcomers.  Notable performances included Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins, Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee, Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn and Ian McKellen as Gandalf.

The films were praised for their attention to detail, faithful adaptation of the source material, and ground-breaking visual effects. The trilogy won 17 Academy Awards, including Best Picture for the final film, The Return of the King.

Bilbo Baggins' Home
Bilbo Baggins’ Home

Filming The Hobbit trilogy began in March 2011, also in New Zealand. Unlike the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) trilogy, the Hobbit films used digital 3D cameras.  The cameras had higher frame rates of 48 frames per second (compared to the standard 24 frames per second). This created a more immersive experience for viewers.

The cast included many of the same actors from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  New additions included Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield.

The Hobbit films were also praised for their visual effects and attention to detail.  Overall, both trilogies were massive undertakings.  They required several years of planning and collaboration from hundreds of talented individuals.

The end result was a series of films that have become beloved by fans around the world.

The decision to keep Hobbiton as a tourist attraction after filming was complete.

Peter Jackson and his team decided to keep Hobbiton as a tourist attraction after completing “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

They recognised the movie set’s unique beauty and charm.  They negotiated with the Alexander family to keep the set intact after filming finished.

The family agreed.  Hobbiton would become a tourist attraction and they worked with Jackson’s team to transform it into a permanent fixture. An expanded set and new structures create a fully immersive experience for visitors.

Hobbiton has 44 permanently constructed Hobbit Holes
Hobbiton has 44 permanently constructed Hobbit Holes

The decision proved to be a wise one.  Hobbiton has become one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist attractions, drawing visitors from all over the world.  Visitors now navigate the meticulously maintained set, exploring hobbit holes, gardens, and other iconic locations from the films.

The magic of Hobbiton tour experiences
Various tour options available to visitors.

Hobbiton offers various tour options to visitors who want to explore the movie set.  Here are the two most popular Hobbiton tour options available:

  • Hobbiton Movie Set Tour™: The standard tour takes visitors on a two-hour guided walk through the movie set. Visitors get to see 44 hobbit holes, the Mill, the Green Dragon Inn, and other iconic locations. The tour includes a complimentary drink at the Green Dragon Inn. Adults tickets are $89, and Youths (9 to 16 years old) are $44.  Children under 8 years of age are free but must be accompanied by an adult.  Family passes (includes 2x Adults and 2x Youth) are $225.
  • Evening Banquet Tour: This tour offers visitors a unique dining experience at the Green Dragon Inn. The tour starts with a guided walk through the movie set.  Guests then feast on traditional Hobbiton fare, including lamb shanks and apple pie, accompanied by locally brewed ale and cider. Adults tickets are $199, and Youths (9 to 16 years old) are $162 and children under 8 years of age are $104.

Prices and availability may vary depending on the season and any promotions or discounts available at the time of booking.  Book tickets in advance, especially during peak season, to avoid disappointment.

Peter Jackson asked his team to create unique designs for each of the hobbit holes to give them each their own personality.
Peter Jackson asked his team to create unique designs for each of the hobbit holes to give them each their own personality.
Exploring the magic of Hobbiton

Hobbiton is a fictional location from J.R.R Tolkien’s Middle-earth universe.  The movie set springs to to life in the real world as a tourist attraction in Matamata, New Zealand. Some of Hobbiton’s unique features include:

  • Perfectly manicured gardens: Hobbiton’s beautifully tended gardens create an idyllic landscape. Filled with vibrant flowers, lush greenery, and neatly trimmed hedges contribute to the village’s serene atmosphere.
  • Charming Hobbit holes: Hobbiton is home to a collection of whimsical hobbit holes, which are small, round homes that woven into the hillsides. Each hobbit hole is unique, with its own design and features.  Meticulously crafted, they resemble the cosy homes described in Tolkien’s books.
  • The Green Dragon Inn: The Green Dragon Inn is a central gathering place in Hobbiton.  Locals and visitors alike enjoy a pint of ale or a hearty meal. The inn, adorned with rustic décor, including wooden beams and a thatched roof, adds to its charm and authenticity.
  • The Party Tree: At the heart of Hobbiton, the Party Tree, a massive oak tree, serves as a gathering place for celebrations and festivities. Adorned with colourful lanterns and ribbons, it provides a shady spot for hobbits to relax and socialise.
  • The Mill: Another notable feature of Hobbiton, the large building continues to grind flour and other grains. Powered by a waterwheel, the mill adds to the village’s quaint, old-world feel.


Attention to detail.

The attention to detail in the Hobbiton set design is truly remarkable and testifies the design team’s skill and dedication.

Peter Jackson and his team created it for the film adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.  Built in Matamata, New Zealand, on a farm, he selected it for its rolling hills and beautiful countryside.

One of the most impressive aspects of the set design is the use of real-life props. The set designers incorporated many everyday items to make the world of Hobbiton feel authentic, such as old-fashioned tools, cooking utensils, and even laundry hanging on a clothesline.

They used real plants and flowers to create a lush and vibrant environment that felt like a real hobbit village.

In addition to the real-life props, the set designers included many intricate details that added to the overall feel of the world. For example, every hobbit hole had its own unique design.  Each one decorated with small, personalised touches such as garden gnomes, birdhouses, and tiny doors.

The attention to detail extended to the smallest elements of the set, such as the individual grains of sand on the pathways and the moss and lichen growing on the trees and rocks.

The attention to detail in the Hobbiton set design not only created a realistic and immersive world for the films but also made it a popular tourist destination in its own right.


Explore the hobbit holes and gardens, and enjoy a pint of ale at the Green Dragon Inn, which are key parts of the set. The Hobbiton set design is a stunning example of the power of attention to detail.  It creates an unforgettable experience for both filmgoers and visitors alike.

The beauty of the surrounding countryside, which serves as a backdrop to the movie set.

Hobbiton’s surrounding countryside is equally impressive, with its rolling hills, lush green fields, and tranquil waterways. The landscape is a perfect blend of natural beauty and human intervention, with picturesque farms and pastures dotted throughout the area.

As you approach Hobbiton, the first thing you notice is the stunning panoramic view of the Shire.  A patchwork of fields and hedgerows stretch out as far as the eye can see.

A lush carpet of grass and wildflowers cover gently sloping hills in the distance.  The occasional tree stands tall and proud, offering shade and shelter to the local wildlife.

Making your way through Hobbiton itself, each hobbit hole’s idyllic charm will captivate you.  Each one nestles into the hillside, surrounded by carefully tended gardens and meadows.

The lush greenery and colourful blooms provide a vivid contrast to the earthy tones of the hobbit houses.  They create a harmonious balance of colour and texture.


The nearby waterways are also a key feature of the landscape.  Tranquil streams and babbling brooks wind their way through the countryside.  Crystal-clear water reflects the surrounding foliage and creates a serene and peaceful atmosphere, adding to the overall sense of tranquillity and harmony.

In short, Hobbiton’s surrounding countryside is a true masterpiece of natural beauty.  Stunning vistas and rolling hills create charming pastoral scenes.  No wonder Peter Jackson chose this magical location for the backdrop for one of the most iconic movie sets of all time.

Tips for visiting Hobbiton

Here are some tips to help make your experience even better:

  • Book your tickets in advance: Hobbiton is a popular tourist destination, so book your tickets online in advance to secure your spot.
  • Dress comfortably: Hobbiton is outdoors. Dress comfortably and wear sturdy shoes suitable for walking on uneven terrain.
  • Bring a camera: Hobbiton is picturesque, so don’t forget your camera to capture those perfect Instagram moments.
  • Take a guided tour: The best way to explore Hobbiton is to take a guided tour. The knowledgeable guides provide interesting facts and stories about the set and the filming process.
  • Don’t touch anything: Hobbiton’s movie set is a work of art.  So it’s important not to touch anything, including the props and the hobbit holes.
  • Try the Hobbit-themed food and drink: Hobbiton offers a variety of Hobbit-themed food and drink, including ale, cider, and pies.  Be sure to try some while you’re there.
  • Visit at different times of the year: Hobbiton is beautiful all year round. But different seasons bring different colours and weather conditions.  It’s worth visiting at different times of the year to see the changing scenery.
  • Respect the environment: Hobbiton is a protected natural environment. Respect the surroundings and dispose of any rubbish responsibly.
The best time of year to visit Hobbiton.

The best time of year to visit Hobbiton would be during the summer months from December to February. During this time, expect warm and pleasant weather, and Hobbiton will be lush and green.

However, this is also the busiest time of year.  Book your tickets well in advance to secure your preferred date and time.


If you prefer to avoid the crowds, visit Hobbiton during the shoulder seasons of spring (September to November) or autumn (March to May). The weather is still mild, and crowds are generally smaller. However, the set may not be as green and lush as during the summer months.

Winter (June to August) is the least busy time of year.  It can be much cooler and rainy, so may not be the best time to fully enjoy the magic of Hobbiton set’s outdoor attractions.

Advice on booking tickets in advance and navigating Hobbiton.

Book tickets in advance if you plan on visiting Hobbiton.  It’s a very popular attraction and tickets often sell out quickly. Here are some tips for booking tickets and navigating the Hobbiton movie set:

  • Book your tickets in advance: As mentioned, tickets for Hobbiton can sell out quickly, especially during peak tourist season. Therefore, it’s best to book your tickets in advance to ensure you don’t miss out. Book tickets online through the Hobbiton website or through a travel agent.
  • Choose your tour: Hobbiton offers a range of tours, including standard tours, private tours, and evening tours. Consider which tour would suit you best and make sure to book in advance.
  • Arrive early: Hobbiton is popular and often crowded. To make the most of your experience, arrive early so you can avoid the crowds.
  • Wear comfortable shoes: The movie set sprawls out over a large area.  Expect to walk around for up to two hours. Wear comfortable shoes to enjoy the experience without any discomfort.
  • Follow the guide: Listen to your guide and follow their instructions. They will provide you with all the information you need to fully appreciate the movie set.
  • Take plenty of photos: Hobbiton is a beautiful and unique attraction, so make sure to take plenty of photos to remember your visit. However, be respectful of other visitors and don’t block their view or disrupt the tour.
Conclusion: The allure of Hobbiton as a must-see destination in New Zealand

Hobbiton is enchanting and captivating. It has captured the hearts of millions of fans around the world.  It continues to attract visitors seeking a unique and magical experience.

From lush green landscapes to quaint hobbit holes and intricate details, the magic of Hobbiton is a place like no other. Whether you’re a die-hard LOTR fan or simply appreciate nature’s beauty, it will leave a lasting impression.

But don’t just take my word for it.  Come see it for yourself! Imagine strolling down the same paths as Frodo and Sam.  Explore the cosy interiors of Bilbo’s home.  Enjoy a pint of ale at the famous Green Dragon Inn.

With warm Kiwi hospitality, Hobbiton is a must-visit destination for any fan of fantasy, nature, or simply good old-fashioned fun.  Create memories that will last a lifetime.  Come and explore the magic of Hobbiton!


  1. I have always been a big fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books. I hope to visit Hobbiton one day, and I can imagine strolling through the green hills and walking past the round doors of the hobbit holes, feeling like I am in a completely different world. It would be a wonderful experience, and I hope to make it there someday soon.

    • Never stop dreaming Gayatri. With a willing mind and sense of adventure, travel is always possible. Please let me know when you visit.


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