New Zealand: The Road to Middle-Earth

In New Zealand, Travel Guides
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Hobbiton Movie Set

It’s been 6 months since my husband and I arrived in New Zealand. And up to this moment, still we remain astonished by the incredible beauty of this country. It is a great place to live and definitely a backpacker’s wonderland. There is so much to explore!

One of the reasons why I love New Zealand is because of the fact that my favorite fantasy epic was filmed here. So for our first Wedding Anniversary, we have decided to celebrate our very special event at Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, Waikato in the North Island of New Zealand. Being a super fan of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit movies, you can just imagine how excited and happy I was to embark on an unexpected journey to The Shire.

And so the road trip begins…

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The starting point of the tour is at the Matamata I-site which you cannot miss because it was designed to look like a huge hobbit-hole. Since we booked online, we just went to the counter and claim our actual tickets.

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This is where we met my precious pal Smeagol a.k.a Gollum.

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Off to Hobbiton Movie Set. I’m so excited!

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It took us around 15-20 minutes from the I-site to the Alexander farm. You will certainly enjoy the ride not only because of the informative tour guide but also because of the breathtaking scenery. There are many agricultural lands along the way and i just loved to watch out the window and be in awe of the stunning countryside. Now I know why Peter Jackson have chosen New Zealand as a venue for this Blockbuster Hit.

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Greetings from the Shire!

THE SHIRE-FOLK

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“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

It’s a dream come true! I never thought that I’ll be able to experience the real Middle-Earth. The Movie-Set was incredible and there were thirty-nine Hobbit Holes in the Alexander farm. When you examine each Hobbit Holes, you’ll be fascinated by the beautiful decorations and round doors painted in bright colors. Also, one can identify the different lifestyles and status of the Hobbits who lived in this place. As Tolkien described them in the books, Hobbits are unadventurous and home loving.  They love spending time with their fellow ‘Halflings’ through simple gatherings, socializing with their famous pipe-weeds and of course eating together.

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Hobbit clothes hanging on clothes line.

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You’ll find Hobbit-holes near the banks and on the hillsides.

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It gets pretty hot during the day most especially in summer vacation. It is best to equip yourself with sunblock, comfortable walking shoes, sunglasses, hats and bring your trusty water bottle in this 2-hour tour.

BAG END

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Welcome to Bag End! Situated at the end of Bagshot Row, over looking the whole village is the home of the respectable Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. In the books, it’s said that Bilbo inherited Bag End from his parents: Bungo and Belladonna Baggins. The Bagginses are well-to-do, since they’re inhabiting the topmost location in the Shire they are considered to be the richest Hobbits in the land.

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THE PARTY FIELD

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This is the Party Field where Bilbo Baggins celebrated his 111th Farewell Birthday Party. He and Frodo actually shared a common birthday. According to our guide, Frodo turned 33 that time which is the coming of age for a Hobbit. Around 144 Halflings were invited in this grand party.

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The Party Tree is the main attraction of the Party Field at the Shire. This is the exact location where Merry and Pippin lit up Gandalf’s fireworks in the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring movie.

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Near the Party Field is Samwise Gamgee’s hobbit-hole. Another interesting fact is that Sean Astin’s real-life daughter played the role of Eleanor Gamgee, his on-screen daughter in the third movie, The Return of the King.

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A little further and you’ll spot the old water-mill of the Sandyman family.

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THE GREEN DRAGON INN

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My favorite part of the tour is when we visited the Green Dragon Inn which is the usual hangout spot of Frodo Baggins and his awesome Hobbit Friends: Sam Gamgee, Peregrin Took and Meriadoc Brandybuck. When we went in the pub I was amazed and it felt like we’re part of the film. Cool!

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For your information, Hobbits have BIG appetites. They can eat up to 6 meals a day and they are always looking forward to either join or prepare a good old feast. In less than 10 NZD you can enjoy a yummy hobbit-style treat.

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Claim your free drink at the Green Dragon Pub during the tour break. It’s wonderful to just roam around take pictures and savor the moment while sitting near the fireplace. As for myself, I am enjoying my Fine Grain Amber Ale. This is a beer lover’s dream. Cheers!

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After that, your tour guide will lead you to a location where you can capture great photos of the setting. Here’s an image of the double arch bridge that connects the Mill and the Green Dragon Inn. This place is beautiful!

THE SHIRES REST

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At the end of the tour, the shuttle will transport you to the Shires Rest where you can eat at the cafe, freshen up or shop for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit souvenirs.

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You’ll go crazy over these adorable mementos. From Middle-Earth maps, books, pipe-weeds, mugs, tumblers, key chains, post cards, magnets, shirts, puzzles, board games and so much more.

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After 10 minutes, you will be asked to board the bus again and this time it will take you back to the Matamata I-site.

AN EXTRAORDINARY EXPEDITION

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We had an awesome time in Hobbiton. We are able to relive the fantasy stories of J.R.R. Tolkien and we have learned so much. Since we visited on a peak season, I felt that we’re somewhat in a rush during the tour and we do not have enough time to take photos on other interesting sites. But overall, it was a pleasant trip and Hobbiton Movie Set is definitely worth visiting. Even those who are not die hard fans of ‘The Lord of the Rings Trilogy’ and ‘The Hobbit’ adventures or those people who have not seen any of the movies will surely appreciate this delightful tour to Middle-Earth.

We’re probably going to head off soon to check out the Weta Cave in Miramar, Wellington as well as the other film locations.

Well you know, just like what Tolkien said, “The road goes ever on and on”.

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