The Entrancing Land of the Hobbits.

This is the story of a sleepy little country town, in the centre of the fertile dairy country of the Waikato, transformed into a tourist mecca and a number one “must see” attraction in New Zealand.

“It was a normal Saturday afternoon in 1998 on the Alexander family farm near Matamata, New Zealand, when there was a knock on the door that was to change lives forever.

The caller was a film location scout, and the tale of how he spotted this ideal setting for the Shire in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, amidst the Alexander’s sheep and beef farm in the rolling hills of the Waikato region, has been told many times. But the impact of that day 16 years ago and how this small chunk of farmland has become some of the most famous countryside in the world – in a life-changing moment of fate for its unassuming owners – is a story that continues to fascinate.” (Click here to read the rest of the fascinating story)

I have not read the Hobbit books or seen any of the films but, again, after reading about it in the on-flight magazine, I was intrigued to visit this pretty place. 

I-site the tourist information office

I-site the tourist information office

The scene was set by the I-site, a replica of an old English home in the style of the Hobbiton period. Stepping inside it was a hive of activity. Bus tours to the Hobbiton village site run every 45 minutes and a queue of international visitors were waiting to buy their $75 ticket.

Squatting in a corner this bemused character was over looking the proceedings

Hobbiton pc sx40 012_2715x3399

The main street of Matamata was buzzing, cafes busy with tourists having a coffee before catching the bus, or wandering up and down exploring the many craft shops, many of them with souvenirs of Hobbiton. We were lucky to find a bed for the night most hotels and motels were fully booked. I remember Matamata from the 1960’s when I milked cows in this area and back then just the locals came into town to do their weekly shopping.

So we booked what was possibly the last bed in town, bought our ticket and climbed aboard the 3-45pm bus to Hobbiton.

Matamata farm land

Matamata farm land

As we drove through the farm our enthusiastic tour guide told us the story of how this farm was chosen because it looked like England.  He asked for a show of hands as to how many of the passengers had seen the film or read the book, I sneaked a look around, we were the only ones that didn’t put up our hands.

Looking out through the windows this did not look like England to me, it looked like New Zealand in drought.

Then we arrived at Hobbiton.

The bus left us to walk through the gate and into the magical Middle Earth world of the Hobbits.

I was totally entrance, it was as though I had been transported back to a small corner of England. The grass was green, the gardens flourished with old-fashioned English flowers. The attention to detail was impressive and very photogenic. We had 3 hours to wander around and lose ourselves in this world of fantasy and I took almost 300 photos in those 3 hours.

Choosing what to show you was very difficult, I will not put all the 300 in, (phew I can hear you saying) I hope the ones I have chosen give you an idea of what this place felt like to me.

Pretty cottage gardens bloomed around all the houses

Pretty cottage gardens bloomed around all the houses

Oh shall we peep inside?

Oh shall we peep inside?

I think we can go in!!!

I think we can go in!!!

Notice the woven fence?

Notice the woven fence?

Bees love it here

Bees love it here

Gourds hanging out to dry

Gourds hanging out to dry

Country style chunky bread (but it was not real)

Country style chunky bread (but it was not real)

Maybe a witches broom?

Maybe a witches broom?

Another hand made wheel barrow

Another hand-made wheel barrow

I love this crazy paving

I love this crazy paving

Look at the detail in the window surround

Look at the detail in the window surround

Then we walked past the productive vegetable garden, guarded by a scare crow.

Notice how green this is compared to the part we passed on the bus.

Notice how green this is compared to the part we passed on the bus.

If you look carefully you may spot Jacks white hair in the distance as he walks along , past the ponds and along the path to the “Green Dragon Pub”. Also, can you see the washing on the line? It is all those details that make this such a fascinating and believable journey into Hobbit Land.

The tour ends at the “Green Dragon Pub” with  folk music playing gaily and setting the scene for a relaxed ale or two in big mugs, or maybe you prefer cider.

This tour was worth $75. Go here for details of booking a tour.

 Hobbiton has totally changed the fortunes of Matamata, many of the locals were extras in the movie and hundreds of jobs were created in the building and now maintaining the village. 160 people still work as guides, bus drivers, gardeners etc. Our guide told us that on one day this January over 3,000 people visited.

It was an enchanting tour of Middle Earth and I now plan to take out the video and immerse myself in the story of  the Hobbits.

 

 

 

Advertisements
Categories: Hobbiton, Matamata, New Zealand, photos | Tags: , , , | 56 Comments

Post navigation

56 thoughts on “The Entrancing Land of the Hobbits.

  1. So beautiful and I now have a new dream ☺ maybe sometime I will get to see the place . Thank you.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Thursday Doors : Hobbiton… | Memories are made of this

  3. poppytump

    Nice to come back and have another at this post Pauline 🙂 Read The Hobbit at school .. LOTR a bit later but not quite sure if I finished the last one … DD grew up with her Daddy reading the whole story out aloud to her … We’ve all seen the films . I did love them .

    Like

    • Well now you are all Hobbit fanatics by the sound of it. It is a great story. My daughter has just been on a horse riding trek through another part of NZ used for the mountain wilderness parts of the movie.

      Like

  4. I read the books nearly forty years ago Pauline but i haven’t seen the films, This all looks rather prettier than the images i recall from reading!

    Like

  5. Pingback: Wish You Were Here. | jacksjottings

  6. what a kewl place 🙂

    Like

  7. Phoenix Tears Healed

    Thankyou for sharing your visit to this beautiful place; it is my idea of heaven too 🙂 and I would so love to live in a Hobbit house. I grew up reading the books, and cried when I first saw Bilbo in part 1 of ‘The lord of the rings’; the films are so true to the books, it is easy to see how much love and respect went into making them.

    Like

  8. that’s what I think heaven is like!

    Like

  9. poppytump

    Am sure you will enjoy the movies PP ! You’ve shown Hobbiton’s real picturesque qualities beautifully .. Glad you and Jack could quench your thirst(s) at The Green Dragon 😉

    Like

    • I’m reading the first book now Poppy, and enjoying it. Jack became quite talkative at the pub. Now I wonder why that was???? 😉

      Like

  10. Wow! what a wonderful place to visit… Yes I have seen the film, i didn’t read the book but my Son did.. And loved the little houses. I can just imagine a thirst had been worked up walking around and the Green Dragon Pub sounded just the ticket to end the tour…. Cheers! for sharing 🙂 x Sue

    Like

  11. The photos you chose are excellent, almost as good as a visit.
    The cider and the beer are both good brews. I tried them both.

    Like

    • Thanks Jack the pub was certainly a good place to finish the visit especially as we didn’t have far to drive home. 😉

      Like

  12. williamsjune1936@gmail.com

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

  13. What a wonderful place! My kids were thrilled by the book of Tolkien in the eighties and of course I had to read it to. The movies brought all the memories back. I should load it on my e-reader to read it again! Thank you!

    Like

    • The Hobbit holes are so interesting. I have just uploaded the first book onto my e-reader and as I read I can picture all the happenings in the village.

      Like

  14. I’ve not read these, or seen the movies. I love the rolling terrain. It’s hard to imagine the work that went into getting this ready.

    Like

    • I’m reading the first book now and can visualise the Hobbits going about their business in Hobbiton as I’m reading. Yes a lot of work is needed to keep it looking so green. They irrigate the area constantly to keep it green as NZ is in drought at the moment

      Like

  15. My kids and I just watched the Desolation of Smaug last night! NZ is so beautiful!! Fab fotos!

    Like

  16. Well, it certainly looks like a bit of English shire! I always thought Hobbiton was meant to be Oxfordsire/Worcestershire and as Jude says, the Black Mountains would have been Mordor… This Hobbiton does rather look as I imagined it in The Hobbit and LOTR, very impressive! I have never watched the films as I had my own idea of Gandalf, Aragorn et al, but as it’s years since I read the books, perhaps I will one day!

    Like

  17. Loved the books, love all the movies, but I wouldn’t pay $75 to visit Hobbiton despite how pretty it looks from your lovely photos PP. Although it is an impressive film set.Fortunately it looks like that all around here (and I always believed the Shire was this part of the country with the Black Mountains of Wales being the ‘Dark Side’. Tolkien did in fact spend a lot of his childhood in Worcestershire.) with cute houses and cottage gardens and rolling green hills, A bit short of round doors and windows though 😀

    Like

    • You live in a lovely part of UK Jude but I think the weather was the deciding factor to use over here. I was a bit reluctant to part with $75 hard earned dollars at first but I enjoyed the experience and it was a great photo shoot….
      I talked to some of the other people that had seen the movie and they said it enhanced there perception of the films

      Like

      • Your photos ARE lovely – great windows!! I suppose when I watch the movies I think of the landscape here – there’s even a place called Bagginswood not far from me. But I suppose if your’e not familiar with this part of the country then Hobbiton would be what you imagine it to look like.

        Like

        • That’s why books are usually better than the movies as you have this image in your mind that is some times spoilt by the movie version

          Like

  18. Hi, this is the best set of photos i’ve seen to get a feel for the place. I shall be visiting this August so very excited. Could you please tell how the tour works once you leave the bus – are you free to wonder round on your own and how to do you return. Thank you for the wonderful information.

    Like

    • Hi Victoria please you called by and left a comment. Once you get off the bus you follow round with your guide who stops and tells stories every now and again. It is a fairly loose group in that you can take as much time as you like taking photos and I tended to be at the back waiting till most people were out of the shots I wanted to take, but because the groups were going round every 45 minutes you had to keep with your group. I found I had plenty of time to have a good look at every thing and of course if you wanted your ale or cider (they did also serve lemonade) you had to arrive at the Green Dragon with your group. Your bus was waiting at the pub to take you back to Matamata.

      I’m sure you will enjoy your tour through Middle Earth

      Like

  19. I am sure you won’t be disappointed, I loved Bilbo Baggins and all his adventures, including the scary ones … but Hobbiton looks very picturesque, your photos reveal it’s charms so well, I would love to see it too if we are ever nearby!

    Like

    • It was really one of those unexpected delights that you stumble across when you are travelling. It was one of the highlights of our NZ trip

      Like

  20. What a wonderful boost for that town and a great story 😀

    Like

    • I’m now looking forward to seeing the movies and picking out the little houses and the pub we visited. Have you read the books Dianne?

      Like

      • Yes – I’ve read the books but never seen the movies. I must get around to watching them one day and I’ll check out your pictures of the town at the same time 😉

        Like

  21. Wow – would so love to visit here one day! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Like

  22. Doris

    beautiful photos I would love to visit the books are really good and the movies too

    Like

I love to receive comments, maybe we could start a conversation.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Lucid Gypsy

Come away with the raggle taggle gypsy-o

Tish Farrell

Writer on the Edge

Postcards from Ian and Margaret

We are a couple of retirees, I started this blog as record of our caravan trips. However I have expanded it to include other travel adventures.

Zeebra Designs & Destinations

An Artist's Eyes Never Rest

suesilver

poems, commentary and photography

The Sacred Cave

Slowing down to notice the present moment...

Igor Bilek

"Life is an adventure, not a package tour" ~ Eckhart Tolle ~

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

Where's my backpack?

Romancing the planet; a love affair with travel.

fulltimelayabout

Photos of my home town

Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast

Birthplace of James Madison and Southern Plantation

ishooteditnblog

Every picture has a story to tell

Memories are made of this

I need photos to keep my memories alive

soitgoes1

Just another WordPress.com site

the vibes

Dreams of a Free Spirit

livingforcreativity

Living a life of creativity, via music, books and films.

In My View

The world as I see it -- by R C Norman

endeavor

my journal of creative expression

%d bloggers like this: