When I was planning my New Zealand trip, high up on the list of places I wanted to see was the Hobbiton movie set. Now, full disclosure........ I've never seen any of the movies! I had to suffer through The Hobbit as a class novel when I was in Year 7, and I disliked it immensely! And it gave me a lifelong dislike of Tolkien books! That passed onto not wanting to see the movies, but I have seen quite a few youtube travel vlogs on New Zealand and they all included Hobbiton. I have youtube to blame for wanting to see it!
I'm living proof that you don't need to have read the books, seen the movie to enjoy Hobbiton. I loved it all, it was incredibly quaint and the attention to detail was amazing.
The attention to detail begins with the vegetable plots, the gardeners grow the actual vegetables. The day I was there it rained, it was a challenge taking photos! You can't just wander around on your own, the tours are all timed with a tour guide leading each group. It does work well and there's plenty of time at each spot to look around, take it in and take your photos.
There were themed displayed as well, to do with living in Hobbiton. Baked goods sale.
Jars of honey, at least I thought it was honey, rather than jam.
This house had cheese on display/sale and through the window..
This is the attention to detail that amazed me!
This tree isn't real, it's a prop. There was no oak tree on the property and one was needed for a scene. So an oak tree was cut down and transported from a nearby property, and then fake leaves were attached and handpainted. Up close you can see the fakeness of the tree, but from a distance and on camera it looks real!
More of the attention to detail, the steps that you find in the UK when rambling to get over fences.
This was the detail in the window from this particular house.
The waterwheel (mill?) and the stone bridge which I think was a major location in the film. At least that's what I got from the other people in my group who went into raptures at the words 'There's the stone bridge'!!
The Green Dragon Inn, this was built later (in 2012) as the movie scenes from the inn were all filmed in a studio location. At the end of the tour you go inside and have a drink, alcoholic or non alcoholic you can choose. Since the day was cold and wet they also had a roaring fire which was lovely.
Really loved all the attention to detail!
The hobbit houses going up the hillside.
The Hobbiton Movie Set is on the Alexander farm near Hinuera. The Alexander family still farm the property and we were driven past paddocks of sheep and cows, we were warned about the electric fences as well! According to the information pamphlet, Peter Jackson found the property as he was flying over in a helicopter scouting for locations. After the Lord of the Rings movies, the set was mainly dismantled and then rebuilt in 2009 for the Hobbit movies. What you see know are those preserved sets and props. They were the outdoor locations only, the interiors were filmed in a studio, so the hobbit houses are just frontages, nothing inside.
You can book tours to take you out to Hobbiton, I had a car (and most importantly a GPS!) and drove out to The Shire, which is where the ticket office and cafe is located and where the Hobbiton tours begin. The Shire is a converted woolshed, and I really appreciated the hot food in the cafe as it was freezing outside!!! From The Shire you board a Hobbiton bus with your group (all the tickets are timed) and you're taken onto the farm and the driver points out where the animals were kept during filming, the catering trucks and trailers were parked and a few other interesting bits and pieces.
Once the tour is over, you have your drink at The Green Dragon Inn, have a bit of time to wander around by the inn and then board your bus back to The Shire. It all takes about 2 hours so it's not a rushed experience at all, considering the amount of people going through.
Well worth seeing even if you've not seen the movies or a fan of the whole hobbit universe. I loved it all and even the miserable weather didn't spoil the experience.