Only a 2 hour drive from Auckland is Hobbiton. One of New Zealand’s most iconic tourist attractions. The question is: Is it worth the visit?
Recently, news broke out that Air New Zealand has decided to open flights to Manila direct from New Zealand. This is, in addition, to the newly opened Philippine Airlines route to Auckland just last December, 2015. New Zealand, as you all may know, is one of the most isolated places on earth, so to be able to fly direct from Manila to Auckland opens up a lot of opportunities for convenience and travel to this Middle Earth wonder.
New Zealand is actually divided into two islands: the north island and the south island. Auckland, is the biggest and most populated city in the North island, making it a good base for those travelling to Hobbition, which is located in Matamata roughly 2 hours drive from Auckland.
In my last post about Milford Sound, I highlighted how beautiful this place is in the South Island, but if you’re just traveling in the North Island, then Hobbiton must be one of the highlights of the trip, especially if you are a fan of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies. However, for those not fans of the Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit, the question would always be “Is it worth it?” By worth it, meaning is it worth paying 79 NZD (2,500 pesos) to see the Hobbiton?
To give you a background, Hobbiton was actually once just a farm owned by the Alexander’s in Matamata, New Zealand. Peter Jackson, the director of The Lord of The Rings, did an aerial search and found this hidden farm as the best possible location to set up the movie set for The Lord of The Rings trilogy. The set was rebuilt in 2011 for the feature films “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again”. It is now a permanent attraction complete with hobbit holes, gardens, bridge, Mill and The Green Dragon Inn.
Well, personally, I am not a big fan of both LOTR and The Hobbit trilogies, but I did watch the movies. But for me, if you’re visiting Hobbiton, make sure that the WEATHER is sunny and clear. This is the only way you’ll get your money’s worth by being able to take amazing photos and appreciate the Shire at it’s finest. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to be in The Shire when it’s raining since it would be really muddy and the grass wouldn’t be as golden as you would expect. But, if the weather is clear and sunny, I think Hobbiton should be worth the visit.
How to get there?
There are many options on how to get to The Hobbiton Movie Set. First of which is to drive to the Shire on your own. In New Zealand, all you need is a car and a GPS and you’re on your way.
However, a more convenient way would be to book a tour that would pick you up in Rotorua or in Matamata iSite, where a tour bus would pick you up and bring you straight to the movie set for your tour. The tour lasts about 1.5 hours taking you back to the footsteps of Frodo, Gandalf, and Bilbo as the tour guide tours you through The Shire.
For more information you can always check out The Hobbiton Site: http://www.hobbitontours.com/OurTours/tabid/99/Default.aspx
Is it worth it or not? Well, here are some photos that I took during my trip to Hobbiton last September, 2015.
All photos taken by my Fuji XE-2.