Ultimate Guide For Visiting Hobbiton In New Zealand 2024

Ultimate Guide For Visiting Hobbiton In New Zealand 2024

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Latest Status: The Hobbiton Movie Set is currently open and operating normally in 2024. Tickets should be booked in advance due to popularity of the tours.

“Will you follow me one last time?”

If you are a fan of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, I don’t need to convince you to put a visit to the The Hobbit movie set at the top of your must-do list when visiting New Zealand’s North Island.

I remember picking up a copy of The Hobbit in 7th grade, introduced for the first time to this fantastical realm and joining Bilbo Baggins on his grand adventure. It was one of my favorite books growing up and seeing the world of Tolkien come to life when the Lord of the Rings came out was a true geek-out experience. When I decided to come to New Zealand, I treated it like coming to Middle Earth. And you can’t come to Middle Earth without a visit to the Shire.

My friend, Corey, and I saved this bit for the end of our grand camper van adventure exploring New Zealand. With a bit of luck, I was able to arrange access to a private walk-through of Hobbiton at sunrise to photograph the permanent set when there were no other visitors around. I didn’t want to waste the opportunity to be here and shoot when the sun was hanging high and harsh overhead. This bit of pre-planning and good fortune made my visit to the Hobbiton Movie Set an absolute highlight of my travels in the land of Kiwis.

I’ll walk you through my experience and share some of the magic of visiting this bucket list spot. Al the information you’ll need for visiting Hobbiton as well as the different types of tours and accommodations options will be below. Or you can use these quick links to jump straight to the information you need.

How To Get To Hobbiton | Where To Stay | Ticket Prices | Second Breakfast | Party Marquee Lunch | Evening Dinner

There And Back Again…In New Zealand

The morning of the shoot, I woke up well before dawn even though we had parked our camper van just 10 minutes away from Hobbiton. Empty memory card. Check. Spare batteries. Check. The elvish translation for OMGTHISISGOINGTOBEEPIC. Check. All set.

We met up with Henry, Hobbiton’s point person when it comes to promoting the location (as if it needed any extra promotion), at the Shire cafe and took a ride in his car to the set. Somehow I thought we’d be transported in via giant eagles or Gandalf’s carriage.

Hidden In The Hills

From the entrance across the street from the Cafe and ticket office, it looked so much like the same scenery we had been driving across for the last month. Endless rolling hills. And at least a handful of sheep. Henry tells us that one of the appeal of the location was that it was on a private land and Hobbiton itself could not be seen from any of the main roads in the area offering Jackson and the crew the privacy they needed to shoot.

Hobbiton Entrance Near Shires Rest Cafe

After about 20 minutes of driving, we pulled up to a plain parking lot with a small sign welcoming us to Hobbiton. The morning fog had blanketed the hills as we drove in and didn’t look to clear anytime soon so most of it was still hidden, further heightening my anticipation. As I walked down the stone path leading into the village, Henry pointed out that this was where Gandalf first rides into the Shire. Holy Galandriel, indeed it was.

Don’t Wake The Hobbits

The sizing and the fog threw me off at first, but we had officially entered Hobbiton. And then there it was. A real hobbit hole. And it looked exactly like it did in the movie. Better even, because it was right in front of me. Most of the time, movie sets are made of some light, cheap material and then painted to look realistic. This was not that, the gates were made of wood, the walls were laid with real solid bricks and even the vegetation and tools in the garden were real.

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour: Hobbit House Close-Up

Though the fog was still covering most of Hobbiton, I could make out the paths leading through the rest of the village. As we walked through, I found myself trying to stay quiet half-worrying that I would be waking up the hobbits still slumbering in their homes. It was just that realistic. Before we headed to the top of the Bag End, Henry took us to a small lake looking back towards the village. I was stunned.

When The Magic Happens

While Henry explained how the set was rebuilt to be a more permanent attraction when The Hobbit trilogy began filming, I took the time to capture a time lapse of this view as the fog was whipping across the scene. It’s a favorite of mine in my Time and Again video. I tried to get as clear a view as possible by getting as close to the lake as possible without falling in. Within minutes the fog was dramatically changing the landscape. Again, absolutely incredible.

And then the sun tried to peak through behind the fog. I turned around and captured this light flooding through the trees. No hobbits required for me to turn my attention away from the hobbit hill for this shot.

Hobbiton At Sunrise: Lord of the Rings Movie Set

We continued our walk back through the village giving me the chance to get some close-up of all the “props” of this set. Whether you come as a fan of the movie series or not, you can’t help but appreciate the attention to detail that Jackson’s team put in. Interesting factoid: the hobbit houses higher up on the hill are wealthier and so that is reflected in how their gardens were kept and maintained relative to the ones at the bottom of the hill.

Scarecrow In Hobbiton: Battle of the Five Armies Shire

Real Vegetable Gardens

The vegetables grown are seasonal so they change depending on when you come to visit. I’m sure they can replace a gourd or two with some of the plastic variety to save from having to have a team of gardeners maintain the place, but the fact that they don’t should be noted. And it’s not about keeping a static vision of Hobbiton. In the wintertime, the grapes wouldn’t be hanging off the vines, so in true fashion, it doesn’t when you come and visit during that time of year.

Hobbiton Movie Set: Matamata Hobbit Doors

Hobbiton Movie Set: Mailbox and Vegetables

Visiting Bag End

At the very top of the hill was Bilbo Baggins’ Bag End. Say that 10 times. We were first introduced to this place when Gandalf enters the gate with the now iconic “No Admittance Except On Party Business” sign and greets Bilbo at his front door only to be turned out before being recognized. Remember that scene?

Bilbo: “No thank you! We don’t want any more visitors, well-wishers or distant relations!”

Gandalf: “And what of old friends?”

It was so familiar, I felt like I was coming home. And THAT DOOR.

This part is off limits on the tour, so don’t be too disappointed if you can’t pose in front of the door. From here, we exited out the gate and wandered down the hill back towards the old mill next to the bridge that leads to the Green Dragon Inn.

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour: Mill and Bridge

Hobbiton Movie Set: Hobbit Stone Bridge

Having A Drink At The Green Dragon

The Green Dragon Inn is a real pub. With real beer, cider and ale. During the filming of Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, they brewed a beer specifically for the movie and the actors, with a lower than usual alcoholic content (you don’t expect the actors to have the same tolerance as hobbits and dwarves for all the multiple takes do you?). Take 2!

When they built out the full Green Dragon Inn for the Hobbit, they came up with a range of beers and cider just for Hobbiton. And it’s included with the tour. You can choose from an Amber Ale, a Stout Ale, an Apple Cider, or a Ginger Beer. I went for the Apple Cider. Who am I kidding? I went for all 4. Let’s get sloshed Hobbit-style. I wasn’t driving.

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour: Ginger Beer, Pale Ale, Apple Cider At The Green Dragon Inn

Dressing Up As A Hobbit

I finished my visit pretty happy at this point and I really should have been satisfied  having gotten some great photos. But I wasn’t. Secretly, I wanted to dress up as a hobbit and use Bilbo Baggin’s Bag End as a backdrop to film a quick scene for my New Zealand video. I had noticed earlier that there were some jackets hanging on the rack in the Green Dragon Inn. And they looked just my size.

Hobbit Clothes On The Set Of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Green Dragon Inn

Maybe it was that 4th drink, but I felt like I had nothing to lose so I rung up Henry after the tour and asked if I could come back around sunset to get more photos. Somehow, he agreed to my request. So after the last of the tours left, we returned to Hobbiton.

Coming Back For Sunset

Henry asked me what I wanted to shoot and I calmly explained my idea – to dress up as a hobbit. Confident and professional on the outside. A nervous wreck on the inside. His response? A quick “sure”. Wow. If only all requests were handled with such a quick and positive answer. The reputation Kiwis have for being really really nice and hospitable people. Absolutely true. So grabbing a vest, jacket and hat along with ridding myself of shoes (only time I wish I had hairy feet), this is what I looked like.

Kien Lam Dressed Up As a Hobbit At Hobbiton

“I’m going on an adventure!”

I spent about 10 minutes opening and closing that green door countless times filming what is hopefully the opening and closing sequence for my video. Immediately afterwards, I ran down the hill to capture another time lapse as the last light of day began to fade. Barefoot and barreling down the now familiar hobbit path, I nearly ran off an overhang into one of the hobbit’s front yard. Back down at the lake where I shot the morning sequence, I set up for the time lapse as Henry headed to the Green Dragon Inn for a little surprise.

Hobbiton At Dusk

All of a sudden, lights came on through the windows of the hobbit houses. Magic. And I refuse to believe anything else. Even if the explanation is that they had recently installed lights in all the hobbit houses to get ready for the launch of their evening dinner tours. I think people are going to love it when that happens.

Hobbiton At Sunset: Night Tours Of The Lord Of The Rings Movie Set In New Zealand

Quick Tip: The first and last tour of the day are usually the best and least crowded times to go. It’s also the best time to get photos with better lighting.

So that’s Hobbiton at dusk with the grand party tree in the background. And with that my day in the Shire came to an end. I was actually pretty bummed I had to return the clothes. Sadly, it fit all too well. If you are looking for something to place on your New Zealand Must Do Activity list, this is an absolute can’t miss. It just doesn’t exist anywhere else. Check out Middle Earth and the Shire’s appearance in my around the world time lapse.

The New Venture Beyond The Door Experience

As of 2024, all tours include a visit inside a hobbit hole home. For the first time, you can visit Bagshot Row and set into one of the charming dwellings designed and crafted by the creative teams behind the movies.

How To Get To Hobbiton In New Zealand

The movie set is located in Matamata about 2 hours south of Auckland, 45 minutes north west of Rotorua, 1.5 hours north of Taupo and 1.5 hours north east of Waitomo. If you don’t have your own vehicle, there’s an option to get to Hobbiton with a pick-up from Auckland with also includes a festive lunch at the Party Marquee and special entry into one of the hobbit holes.

If you are already in Matamata, you can also book the tour ahead of time with a free bus transfer from Matamata for the same price.

In Matamata, you go south on Hineura Rd and then turn right onto Buckland Rd until you see the signs for Hobbiton Movie Set.

From the East, you go west on Highway and connect with Buckland Rd. From the South and West, you head north on Highway 1, connect north to Highway 29 and then turn left onto Buckland Rd.

Where  To Stay In Hobbiton: Matamata or Karapiro

While Matamata is the closest town to the Hobbiton Movie Set and they also do pick-ups from there, Cambridge and Karapiro is also another option since it’s only a bit more of a drive than Matamata. Both are good options. I would suggest Karapiro if you also want to couple a visit with staying along the Waikato River.

Below are a list of some recommended hotels and apartments, especially if you’re traveling as a group or a family.

Where to Stay In Matamata?

First off is Hills Vista Lodge. This is as close to Hobbiton as you can stay and it’s probably the best option if you’re traveling as a large group or a big family. This place has 3 bedrooms with 7 beds, so it can house quite a few people if necessary. Breakfast is also included. There’s only one Hills Vista Lodge, so book ahead if you can. This is a great option if you’re also doing the evening tour and don’t want to do the longer drive back to Matamata at night.

The next closest option is Cosy Country Stay B&B, which is right in the middle between Hobbiton and Matamata. The queen bed rooms are just for 1-2 people. In Matamata, I would recommend checking out these accommodations:

HOH – Chalet Frodo

Mill Corner Studio

Nights on Broadway – The House

Where To Stay In Karapiro, New Zealand

Personally, I think if you can find a hotel or apartment near Karapiro, you get more value for your money as far as accommodations. They are gorgeous and generally cost less than what you get in Matamata. The downside is that a lot of these properties are booked ahead of times.

Memory Lane Country Cottage

Maungatautari Outlook

Karapiro Blackbox

Lakeside Karapiro Downstairs Apartment

Conach House

Lakeview Lodge Karapiro

Above The River Karapiro

Kauri Lodge Karapiro

200 on Lake View

How Much Are Hobbiton Entry Tickets in 2024?

Whether you come as a fan or not, you will enjoy the tour. Dwarves honor. They offer daily tours leaving from Matamata or Hobbiton and a Dinner Evening Tour on certain evenings where you can experience Hobbiton after sunset.

A tour of the set along with a visit to the Dragon’s Inn with a complimentary beverage and a special visit into a hobbit hole:

120 NZD ($71 USD) for Adults.

60 NZD ($36 USD) for Youth 9-16 years

306 NZD ($183 USD) for a Family Pass (2 Adults and 2 Youths).

You can book tickets here with Get Your Guide as well for the same price, but with a 10% discount code if it’s your first time using the site.

The Second Breakfast Tour

This is your normal movie tour along with a second breakfast served in the Millhouse. The prices are as follows:

180 NZD ($108 USD) for Adults.

114 NZD ($68 USD) for Youth 11-17

64 NZD ($38 USD) for children 5-10

Free for Infants 0-4.

You can check for the schedule to see if there’s availability on the day you want to visit. This one is a more intimate experience than the Lunch that’s offered below.

Second Breakfast Menu

  • A selection from the pastry basket : Freshly baked scones, sweet danish pastries, muffins, whipped cream, jams and butter
  • Fresh seasonal fruit DF/GF/VGN
  • A selection of sliced cold meats GF
  • Local breakfast cheeses : with crackers and bread
  • Preserves and pickles
  • Fresh orange and fruit juice
  • Coffee and tea
  • Fluffy scrambled eggs DF/GF
  • Grilled tomato relish DF/GF/VGN
  • Sautéed potatoes with fried onion and herbs DF/GF/VGN
  • Grilled lamb sausage DF/GF
  • Streaky bacon DF/GF
  • Rosemary mushrooms DF/GF/VGN

The Movie Set Tour + Lunch Combo

Three set tour starting at 10:10 am, 11:10 am and 11:40 pm include the option of a festive lunch at the Party Marquee. It’s a buffet style lunch and costs the following:

158 NZD ($95 USD) for Adults

98 NZD ($59 USD) for Youth 11-17

Free for children 0-10.

Think of this as a tour followed by a hobbit themed buffet lunch. The menu’s below. Like the Second Breakfast Tour, you will need check the schedule to see the days they are doing it and if there are availability.

Lunch Menu

  • Slow roasted beef rump DF/GF
  • Marinated chicken DF/GF
  • Minted lamb casserole DF/GF
  • Battered fish with a tartare sauce
  • Creamy Pesto Pasta
  • Tomato and coconut vegetable curry DF/GF/VGN
  • Chefs choice of seasonal vegetables DF/GF/VGN
  • Herb roasted gourmet potatoes DF/GF/V
  • Bulgur wheat salad DF
  • Garden fresh green salad DF/GF/VGN
  • Hobbit Slaw DF/GF/VGN
  • Steamed rice DF/GF/VGN
  • A selection from the Green Dragon dessert kitchen including sweet slices and cakes
  • Seasonal fruit salad DF/GF/VGN
  • Baked apple crumble DF/GF/VGN

The Dinner Banquet Tour

Hobbiton offers a unique experience in the evening that combines a tour of the Hobbiton movie set with a dinner banquet. If you have an appetite, you will enjoy their massive selection of food fit for a Hobbit.

The tours start at 5:45 pm with a tour of the set, followed by a drink at the Dragon’s Inn before moving on to a 2 course banquet feast. After dinner, you get a special moonlight walking tour to digest and take in Hobbiton at night.

Evening Banquet Menu


  • Selection of homemade breads and condiments
  • Golden roast chicken
  • House smoked salmon fillet
  • Beef and ale casserole
  • Slow cooked lamb shanks on bubble and squeak with gravy
  • Cumberland sausages with tomato relish
  • Selection of roast vegetables
  • Garlic and thyme roasted potatoes
  • Kumara mash
  • Garlic and butter braised mushrooms
  • Roast pumpkin stuffed with chargrilled succotash
  • Fresh green salad


  • Kiwi pavlova with fresh cream and strawberry coulis
  • Bakewell tarts
  • Sticky Date Pudding
  • Seasonal fresh fruit slices
  • Baked apple crumble
  • Butterscotch sauce
  • Honey and cinnamon yogurt
  • Vanilla custard

Evening Banquet Tickets and Booking

Evening banquet prices are as follows:

230 NZD ($137 USD) for Adults

177 NZD ($106 USD) for Youth (9-16 years)

119 NZD ($71 USD) for Children (5-8 years).

Reservations are often made in advance so book early if you want to ensure a spot for you and your family on a specific date.

So nice to get this thing checked off my list of New Zealand experiences. What’s on yours? If you need some ideas, check out my bucket list and go out there and have an adventure.

Updated on April 10, 2024


1 Comment

  • […] For fans of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, this is a dream come true. The village of Hobbiton that was used in the movies was turned into a permanent set near Hamilton, New Zealand. In the early morning, when the fog rolls through and the lights are flickering from the hobbit holes, you almost feel like you have to be quiet to keep from waking the hobbits. The set is surprisingly realistic. The gardens and vegetables are all real and you can even enter some of the hobbit holes. To see more from Hobbiton, check out my post on That Time I Was A Hobbit. […]

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