A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to visit The Hobbiton Movie Set in New Zealand. As a huge Lord of the Rings fan it was the first thing on my list when my partner and I decided were going to go to overseas this year. He had previously been to the set when there was nothing but green pastures left there, so it was a whole new experience for both of us and one of the major highlights of our trip.
It was a beautiful sunny Wednesday morning when we arrived at The Shire’s Rest which was only a five minute drive away from our Air BnB. We arrived half an hour before our tour bus was to depart so we decided to have a look at the gift shop first. It was a little disappointing. Everything I wanted was far too expensive and far too hard to cart back to Australia.
I settled on adding a cute little enamel pin to my collection and my partner decided to purchase Kili’s Rune Stone. (We had just watched The Desolation of Smaug before we left).
We piled on the bus at 10:30am. From there it was an incredibly short trip to the set. There was a video introduction and a chance to get a first glimpse at the set where we were able to see rolling green hills and the beautiful stone bridge leading to The Green Dragon Inn. The gardeners do an amazing job here as the farmland surrounding the set currently all brown from a hot summer and from drought.
The tour begins near the infamous spot where Bilbo waves around his contract and shouts ‘I’m Going on an Adventure!’ There was a really brief opportunity to take photos around some of the hobbit holes here where I promptly decided that the one with the yellow door was ‘my house’. The detail put into the little hobbit holes was one of the first things I noticed here. The gardens looked just has they had in the film and some incredibly detailed props which our tour guide later told us gave an indication about what job the hobbit living in that particular hole might have had. So there were holes with all sorts of things outside them, bread, cheese, honey, fish and even a little house with piles of wood.
The tour reached its height when finished the climb up the hill to the best hobbit hole in all of Hobbiton – Bag End. The set was as amazing in real life as it was on screen. Built to full human scale it towers over most of Hobbiton. There wasn’t near enough time to take in all the details of Bag End. Though our tour guide did share some interesting behind information about how they filmed some of the scenes in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
After a quick picture it was time to meander back down the hill and over that little stone bridge we saw at the beginning to The Green Dragon Inn. This was by far my favourite part of The Hobbiton Movie set. It’s a full size Inn with all the classic Hobbit comforts, including cosy bay windows, wooden seats with cute cushions and a large open fire place. As part of the tour we were able to choose a beer to drink at the Inn. (The beer was delicious). My only gripe was that we were allowed to spend only 20 minutes at The Green Dragon Inn. It was scarce enough time to enjoy the beer, take some pictures and scarf down a scone.
The tour was over all too quickly and we were soon piled pack on the bus and taken to The Shires Rest. Despite the brevity of this tour, it’s sure to be an experience I will never forget. If you’re a fan of Lord of the Rings this is something you simply must have on your bucket list.