Naturally, when you are living in New Zealand for a year, Hobbiton is a must. Just a 2.5 hours away from Auckland, surrounded by green rolling hills (surrounded of course by sheep) as far as the eye can see lies only one out of 150 sets from the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” series.
You can go to Matamata, the nearest town to Hobbiton and purchase tickets, leave your car at the free parking lot and let the tour do the rest. There are two cafes serving 4 beverages that can only be found in Hobbiton, they own the rights to it and I tried the nonalcoholic drink which I liked, it’s like Ginger Ale only sweeter.
What I found most surprising is that 40% of people who take the tour have not read any of the books or seen the films. They come to tag along to a fan (like me, though I have seen all three of the Lord of the Rings) or to make their friends jealous.
All the hobbit holes aka their homes are 1-2 meters deep inside. Bilbo and Frodo’s hobbit hole is the largest and can fit 40 people in, this was built for the cameras, crew members, etc. There was a fake tree on the top to fit the book. Originally they were going to film over a pine tree and pick out all the pines but realized it would not be worth it. They moved the home to the next hill and built a tree out of scratch. Every once in a while, the fake leaves will fall off because of wind and the workers must put them back on.
The Green Tavern where you are given a free drink and can get some food is used for functions, weddings, etc which before the event, the participants go through the tour ahead of time. It would have been nice to have the New Zealand Youth Conference held here!
All in all, it was beautiful, so many photographs not just for the fans but also for the scenery. I only offered a few tidbits, there are plenty of trivia of behind the scenes but you will just have to take the tour to find them out!