The set is located right outside the city of Matamata.
There is also The Shire’s Rest cafe located at the entrance to Hobbiton which is clearly where we chose to eat and then browse the gift shop the next morning.
“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
We stayed at the Horse & Jockey Inn for a budget option. There was parking and it was located downtown which was nice. Very basic but did the trick.
It is not possible to visit the set without a guided tour. It is strongly recommended you make reservations in advance, but not required (pre Covid). Many times it is offered as a tour from Auckland, Rotorua and surrounding cities or you can book directly as well. There are also some additional experiences if you’re looking for a little more than just the standard tour.
The website also has FAQs and further information about booking. Groups are broken down into around 20 and a group leaves every 5 minutes making it a slightly crowded experience.
If you are as big a fan as we were though, there is truly only one way to experience Hobbiton – and that is on International Hobbit Day.
International Hobbit Day
International Hobbit Day occurs every year on September 22 (Frodo and Bilbo’s birthday). While it can be celebrated around the world, Hobbiton is the place to be. For those massive LotR fans this is a CAN’T MISS life experience. You get the regular tour of Hobbiton (but with much fewer people) as well as an entire party in Hobbiton complete with music, dancing, unlimited food and drinks, games and a costume contest. THAT’S RIGHT. There is nothing that makes Middle Earth come to life more than being surrounded by hobbits, dwarves, wizards and elves. Tickets cost a pretty penny but are worth every single cent.
Staying and Going
For those just doing the regular tour, a half day is fine. Many do it as a half day trip from surrounding areas or paid tours even go from as far away as Auckland. Those coming for International Hobbit Day can arrive on the morning of September 22nd but will need to at least stay the night.
Visit the New Zealand travel page for more information on general travel around the country such as Covid updates, visas, and more.
More Lord of the Rings
Haven’t got your LotR fix yet? Us either. For another epic LotR themed tour on the North Island check out Hairy Feet Waitomo. It takes you around to various filming locations from The Hobbit with great detail and stories from the owner of the land who also happens to be a huge fan, making it even cooler.
You can also go see Mount Doom and hike into Mordor in nearby Taupo.
There are additional things to do on the South Island but we didn’t have the time to make it all the way down there this trip.