Let me first say that I’m a fan of the Lord of the Rings. I’m not a fanboy that has seen the movies more than once, but I did enjoy it. Thus, we went to see Hobbiton when we went to New Zealand in early December 2015.
There are tours you can book from Auckland, but it takes about 3 hours to get there. I suggest you rent a car and drive down yourself or possibly stay at an AirBnBallin that is near there.
Booking the tours
You can book the tour here. I was a bit confused if this was a 3rd party or the actual site, but it is the actual site. We booked the tickets a week ahead of time, and we chose this entrance – “The Shire’s Rest 501 Buckland Road, Hinuera, Matamata.” While on the tour, our tour guide said the evening tour is the best, and it probably is true since you get the sunset. I hear you have to book that 3 months ahead of time, so don’t wait. Our tickets were $79 NZD per person when we went, so definitely not cheap.
Our tour started at 9AM, and we were supposed to be there at least 15 minutes to check-in. We got there late at 8:55AM. We were waiting for our AirBnB to print out the tickets, but she couldn’t do it. Thus, you do NOT need to print out your tickets beforehand although I’m sure it’s recommended.
What’s funny is the story behind Hobbiton. Apparently the owner of the land wanted Peter Jackson to remove everything when he was done with the first movie. Once he was done shooting, they were beginning to remove everything, but mid-way through, there were big storms that halted the destruction of it. That’s when the movie came out, and sure enough, the fans found out where it was and wanted to go see it. It got to be so popular that the owner wanted to keep it.
Once Peter Jackson wanted to do the Hobbit, the owner then told him he could use it again, but this time, he had to build it with materials that would last and leave everything as is. And that was how Hobbiton was born. There’s 30 something Hobbit holes remaining; almost all are a feet deep, so you can’t go into any of them. Only 1 is deep enough for you to step inside and take a picture.
I’ll leave you with some pictures. It doesn’t really do it justice; you have to be there yourself. The tour lasted about 2 hours I’d say, and they give you a free drink in the Green Dragon at the end.