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The Lord of the Rings trilogy truly catapulted New Zealand onto the global stage, with enthusiasts itching to get a taste of what this beautiful country has to offer. The next adaptation of The Hobbit further cemented Aotearoa's status as a breathtakingly beautiful tourist destination, with filming locations spread across both islands.
Take time out to explore the locations where these beloved movies were filmed, learning more about New Zealand, The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings while you do it. We promise you that the real New Zealand is untouched and enchantingly beautiful. Coming to New Zealand is akin to stepping back into Middle Earth except ‘real’ New Zealanders have had a pedicure!
Matamata - the heart of Hobbiton and location of the Movie Set and Farm Tours
Two hours south of Auckland is the Waikato township of Matamata which is the primary film location for both the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. The town came alive with the Lord of the Rings in 1999, and has been an incredibly popular tourist destination since then thanks to Hobbiton Movie Set and farm tours, only 20 minutes drive out of Matamata.
One of the main filming spots is on a private farm nestled amongst rolling green country side. The family who owns the farm and Russell Alexander have formed a joint venture allowing the rebuilt Hobbiton movie set to remain on site, made up of permanent materials so visitors can experience the Hobbiton they know from the films.
Take a two-hour guided tour through the movie set featuring Hobbit Holes, The Mill and along the double arched bridge, all of which you will remember from the films. Head to The Green Dragon Inn, a replica of the building from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, and enjoy a complimentary beverage from the Southfarthing range, crafted exclusively for the Movie set and farm tours. Get in touch with your inner hobbit and indulge in a beef and ale pie before heading to the Shire Store to stock up on some memorabilia.
See the ‘real’ New Zealand – stay with local Homestay hosts in Matamata
Hotels, motels and other backpacker accommodation in Matamata is often fully booked well in advance. So now many travelers are making the most of this enchanting location by booking holiday accommodation in Matamata with warm-hearted locals who are opening up their homes to accommodate guests exploring Hobbiton.
Take a look at Hobbiton Homestay and Brock's Place - Matamata to get you started. Or if you prefer being more independent, try staying in a lovely self-contained cottage (Kaimai Sunset) with your hosts nearby for hints and tips to help you explore “The Shire’. One of the advantages in staying with locals as that you'll benefit from local knowledge about Hot Pools in the area and other attractions (some of which are free).
For more filming locations for the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, check out our other blogs on Hobbit film locations or articles.
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