The obvious place to start for Hobbit lovers is Hobbiton, otherwise known as the Alexander Farm, near Matamata.
The story goes that Peter Jackson discovered the perfect home for his Hobbits while on an aerial search for locations back in the late 90s. While the Alexander sheep and dairy farm had all the natural attributes Jackson was looking for, a heap of work was required to convert Waikato farmland into the Hobbiton described in Tolkein’s epic novel.
These days you can hop on a bus in Matamata or Rotorua and take a tour of the site and sets rebuilt to look as they did in the films.
A lot of the filming for The Lord of the Rings trilogy took place on land administered by the Department of Conservation. DOC has very kindly made it easy for people to visit locations by providing a handy guide on their website.
The guide provides GPS coordinates for spots throughout New Zealand, along with a brief explanation of what was filmed at each location. For example, Ithilien, Mangawhero River, Gollum catches a fish. Check out the DOC website for plenty more locations to plan a trip around New Zealand. You can even sit and enjoy a coffee beside our floor-to-ceiling panoramic mural of 'The Road to Paradise" on board the M.V Straitsman as you cross Cook Strait with us. Peter Jackson chose Paradise to film scenes depicting Lothlórien and Isengard.
For an almost-behind-the-scenes experience you can visit the Weta Cave in Miramar, Wellington. Located next to the Weta studios where the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films were created, the Weta Cave offers video interviews with Weta co-founders Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, Tania Rodger and Jamie Selkirk.
A mini-museum brings you face to face with the characters, props and displays from your favourite movies and an awesome insight into the creativity and imagination behind the art of Weta.
Entry to the Weta Cave is free but true fans won’t be able to resist the souvenirs and collector pieces for sale.