In honour of Hobbit Day, the Birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, I’ve decided to tell you a bit about my experience of visiting the Hobbiton movie set in Matamata, New Zealand in 2009.
After spending a month in Auckland, attending a language school, it was finally happening. My first stop after Auckland was Rotorua and there I booked my Hobbiton tour. I’m no longer able to remember our tour guide’s name, but he was a funny, informative, and all-around great guy. When we arrived at the Alexander Farm, where Hobbiton is located at, we switched to another car and tour guide. Again, I’m no longer able to tell this tour guides name as well, but just as the first one, the second tour guide was funny, informative, and full of enthusiasm. I’ll be honest, I was grinning like the biggest goofball as soon as we reached the actual set. Back in early 2009, the set was still nothing but a few hobbit holes with white wood fronts. A few months later, the hobbiton set was re-build for the Hobbit movie trilogy and looks nowadays exactly like in the movies. Still, I was excited.
Beware of the Weresheep
Before my trip to New Zealand, I’ve watched the NZ horror comedy Black Sheep. In short, it is a movie about genetically manipulated sheep that suddenly, only god know why, have a lust for blood, run berserk, and turn those ‘lucky ones’ that don’t die immediately into weresheep. A hilarious movie only NZ could come up with. Why I’m telling you this? Well, the Alexander Farm is a sheep farm and on the day of our visit, sheep were out on the grass in Hobbiton. You’d never think you could be frightened of sheep, and I’m not (I swear), but still, I was glad when I could keep them at a distance. But in all seriousness, it was somewhat eerie to see all those sheep grazing among those desolate hobbit holes.
So as we were exploring the movie set, our tour guide made sure we had an amazing time. Eventually, we reached the party tree. Suddenly, our tour guide turns to two visitors and asked whether they’ve bought their tickets directly in Matamata which they confirmed. Then our tour guide goes “oh well, then you know it is among the terms and conditions of your tickets that you have to dance across this Hobbit party area, otherwise you are not allowed to proceed further”. We all laughed, but our tour guide continued: “no, no, I’m serious, look at the back of your tickets”. They did, and sure enough, there it was among the terms and conditions. All except those two visitor laughed even more. Thankfully, all were able to proceed without any dance interludes haha. You know, lovely details like these turn a visit into a truly magical experience.
No hobbits were harmed in the process of creating a second breakfast
Towards the end of our visit, we were driven to the Shires Rest Café and enjoyed a second breakfast, consisting of, well, hobbits. In Germany, we have these awesome cookies called (and I kid you not) ’Hobbits’. They are named this way for I don’t know how long and of course I’ve took some with me to Hobbiton, posing with them in my ‘I love Orcs’ shirt. At the Shires Rest Café I’ve shared them with the other visitors and was surprised to find out that the tour guides haven’t heard of these cookies before. Apparently, I was the first to bring them all the way from Germany to Hobbiton.
Even though Hobbiton looks these days a hundred per cent more magical than it did in 2009, I still treasure the experience of my trip. Now, if you’re thinking of booking your trip to hobbiton, make sure to check out hobbitontours.com.
(Click to enlarge)
Happy Hobbit Day, everyone!