Where to even begin?! Oh my goodness! What a day it was!
We were staying in Auckland and decided to drive to Matamata ourselves to visit Hobbiton. As we passed through the countryside, the excitement began to build. Our GPS decided to cause a little confusion by taking us on the scenic route, but it did mean that we were able to see some truly beautiful landscapes along the way!
As we drew closer to our destination, we passed a road sign which read “The Hobbiton Movie Set – 5km”. I got excited, so I jumped out of the car and ran up to the sign to take a photo.
Then it was back in the car for another few minutes until we arrived at Shire’s Rest, the closest that you can drive to the set.
After grabbing some lunch, we jumped on to one of the official shuttle buses (the only way to actually reach Hobbiton) and we were on our way!
Once we had driven through some of the behind-the-scenes zones and watched the introductory video, our guide, Kane, led us of the bus and through a little clearing. We then passed through Gandalf’s Pass, named so as it is where Gandalf and Frodo enter Hobbiton in the first Lord of the Rings film.
Kane asked if anyone knew what Bilbo Baggins had shouted as he ran through Gandalf’s Pass in The Hobbit, and I instantly responded: “We’re going on an adventure!”
Little did I know that it was a test! Kane smiled at me, cleared a path through our tour group and instructed me to recreate the scene. This was the result (plus me shouting very loudly):
Everyone politely applauded and we continued onwards, quite merry and excited.
Walking through Hobbiton was a surreal. Most of the fruit and vegetables in the gardens were real, and the fields and gardens were gorgeous.
We saw over 40 hobbit holes during the tour and were able to stop and take photos at various points.
One of the hobbit holes at which we stopped was that of Bilbo Baggins, complete with his pipe out the front. One of the more detailed of the hobbit holes, it was a wonderful sight to see.
We were also able to see the home of Sam Wise, and the field in which Gandalf’s birthday party is celebrated. Everything looked exactly as it did in the films – it was truly incredible!
Our final stop was the Green Dragon Inn. We walked over the bridge which reaches across the gorgeous lake and, inside the pub, were given a complimentary beer/cider brewed on site specifically for Hobbiton. We sat outside by the water, tired from the walk around the site, but refreshed by our drinks.
The whole experience was amazing. It went so quickly and even my father – who has never had any interest at all in The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit – thoroughly enjoyed himself! As we were leaving, he even told us that he wanted to watch the films!
It was certainly a wonderful day and a truly unique and fascinating experience!