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June 19, 2019

Visit New Zealand: Hobbiton Movie Set Tour


Although I've watched a couple movies in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, visiting the Hobbiton Movie Set while in New Zealand was not something I was very interested in doing. But the tour turned out to be a highlight of our trip!

The guided tour begins on a bus, as it takes guests to The Shire.  Ole, our guide, explained to us how Sir Peter Jackson, director of The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, chose Alexander Farm as the site of The Shire.  The rolling hills bore a striking resemblance to The Shire, as was depicted in J.R.R. Tolkein's novels.

After the first movie, the set was demolished.  But after filming The Hobbit trilogy, it was realized that The Shire should be preserved, and all Hobbit Holes remain permanent, allowing fans from around the world to experience The Shire.

As if on cue, as soon we set foot into The Shire, butterflies started fluttering amongst vibrant flowers, and the scene was just magical.  It's no wonder that Sir Peter Jackson chose this location.  






The Shire, which sits on a working farm, was full of whimsy.  I expected Hobbits to pop through the doors at any second! 

The guided tour took us past the different Hobbit Holes, including Bag End, and Sam and Rosie's.



Ole gave us lots of interesting tidbits of information, such as how apple trees were painstakingly manipulated to become plum trees, and how a different type of sheep had to be used to fit in with the movie, since the hundreds of sheep already on the farm were too modern.

As you roam The Shire and look at all the different Hobbit Holes, you can try to figure out what each Hobbit did for a living based on the props (e.g. fishing, honey-making, baking, woodworking, etc.)



 The scene couldn't have been more perfect, with the blue skies and the lush landscape!



At the end of the tour, we went to The Green Dragon Inn, where all guests are treated to one of three types of beer or non-alcoholic ginger beer.

You can also grab a quick bite to eat at The Green Dragon Inn, or you can go to The Shire's Rest, where we had lunch:

Tuna Wrap
Egg Sandwich
Fish and Chips
Lamb Burger
Kids Hot Dog and Fries
Lolly Cake
Ole was a fantastic guide.  His enthusiasm was infectious!  He was very passionate and knowledgeable about The Shire and the movies.  You could tell he was a true fan.  

Even if you're not a fan, I would highly recommended a visit to The Shire.  It truly is magical!

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
501 Buckland Rd
Hinuera, Matamata 3472, New Zealand
 +64 7-888 1505

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