Everyone knows the legendary “Lord of the Rings” films by Peter Jackson. It set the standard for storytelling and computer-generated imagery, so much that we are transported into the fictional world of elves, dwarves, and wizards. While a lot of the locations are awe-inspiring, nothing beats the laid back and relaxing Hobbiton, where we got to meet Frodo, Bilbo, and the rest of the Hobbits.
It’s one of those magical places that just makes you want to enjoy a simple life, right? But what if I told you that it actually exists? Yup, you read that right! It’s a very real location that you can visit, and a must-see attraction at that in New Zealand!
Matamata, the Host Location
Everyone, welcome to Matamata, a small rural town in the Waikato region of New Zealand’s North Island. Before it became the chosen location for Hobbiton, it was a thriving farming area and is primarily known for breeding thoroughbred horses. It is a town near the base of Kaimai Ranges, which further adds to the rustic and rejuvenating feel of the place.
It was a beautiful town for what it is, but when it became the chosen place for “Lord of the Rings,” it proudly carried the moniker and is now known for being Hobbiton. The set became a permanent attraction, drawing in tourists everywhere. Considering how Matamata is and how Hobbiton is described, it definitely is the real-world version, and fans of the franchise should definitely go and see it!
What to do in Hobbiton
There are tons to do in Hobbiton, and it’s a real treat for those who visit it. Here are some of the things that you can do while you are here.
The Green Dragon Inn
- For those who have watched the films religiously, you’ll know the Green Dragon Inn as a meeting place for the Hobbits where they share great food and great ale. In here, you will be able to see the magnificent architecture and detail invested in every nook and cranny.
Enjoy the Evening Sights
- Some sights are best seen in the dark, and this is why there is an evening tour of the area. With a lamp on your hand, you are able to marvel at the gorgeous scenery that the place has to offer, and a tour guide can also help you get the most out of the experience.
Taste the Iconic Brews
- One of the things that was probably enticing from the film is how the Hobbits enjoyed delicious alcoholic beverages. And you can, too! Brews such as Amber Ale, Apple Cider, and Frogmorton Ginger Beer are just waiting for you. They are all traditionally made for your enjoyment.
Have your Fill at the Party Marquee
- Have you ever wondered how yummy Hobbit food is? Well you won’t have to imagine anymore as the Party Marquee allows you to dig in. All of the delicacies are just drool-worthy, and it is something that you must try, especially for foodies.
Indulge in Great Food at the Shire’s Rest Cafe
- There is no shortage of delectable food at Hobbiton, and they realise that breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. The Shire’s Rest Cafe menu is filled with snacks and all-day delicacies that will leave you wanting more.
Bring Home a Piece of the Experience
- While you can’t stay forever in Hobbiton, you can bring home a piece of the experience. A souvenir shop at Shire’s Rest provides you with trinkets and memorabilia, ensuring that you’ll be able to continue living the Hobbiton life.
A Full Movie Set Tour
- You won’t have to worry about your itinerary, because there are different tours at Hobbiton. From the different Hobbit holes and the magnificent structures, various packages will ensure you get a full experience.
Other Attractions in Matamata
Of course, there are other things Matamata can offer you aside from the “Lord of the Rings”-themed tour. Some of the attractions you shouldn’t miss include:
Matamata Heritage Trail
- This one-hour and forty-minute circuit allows you to discover all historical sites
Kaimai Cheese Factory
- Marvel at the cheese-making process and try it out as well
- The breathtaking view of the falls will leave an enchanting mark on you
- The sprawling garden allows you to enjoy the scenery and the greenery
Hot Spring Experience
- Soak in the relaxing waters and wash the stress away
How to Get There
The great thing about Matamata and Hobbiton is that it is easily accessible anywhere! Here are the common routes and how long it will take you to get to the spot:
- From Auckland: 2-hour drive
- From Hamilton: 45-minute drive
- From Rotorua: 45-minute drive
- From Taupo: 1 ½ hour drive
- From Tauranga: 45-minute drive
- From Waitomo: 1 ½ hour drive
So, are you ready to visit the area? I don’t know about you, but I am now packing my bags and clearing my schedule! Nothing will tell me, “You shall not pass!” Not even Gandalf!