I am a Lord of The Rings fans, so when I get the chance to visit NZ I immediately choose the north island of New Zealand. If you want to come to Hobbiton, it will be better if you to stay in Rotorua. It takes about 1 hour to get to Hobbiton from Rotorua. If you are going from Auckland it will take 3.5 hours drive, it is a waste of time if you go back and forth between Auckland and Hobbiton. You either rent a car to go there or join a tour. As what I did was, I joined a private tour that manages my transportation to go there. Hobbiton is located inside a large scale sheep farm, own by the Alexander family and the size of the movie set is around 12 acre.
I strongly suggest to booked online tickets to Hobbiton in advance. There are a lot of visitors that go there on daily basis. If you already booked the tickets, you don’t have to wait in line waiting to get in. Besides, if it could be fully booked when you come, and you had to wait for hours to get in or worse you cannot join the tour at all. The ticket includes the bus ride to go to the movie set location and a glass of beer. The tour duration is 2 hours. There is several options for the tour, the one with a meal and the one without a meal. I took regular the movie set tour without meal included. The opening hour is 9am to 3.30 pm.
The ticket fare for an adult is $84, for age 9-16 years is $42 and for a child age from 0-8 years is free entry. If you choose the tour and meal combo, you need to pay extra. You can book your ticket in their website https://www.hobbitontours.com/en/
Once you arrive, go to ticketing center below the Shire’s Rest to check in, you must arrive at least 15 minutes before your tour starts. You cannot go earlier or later at the specified time. Because the booking had an hourly option, when you choose at 11 am, then you must go at 11 am even though you arrive at 10 am. The Shire’s Rest is actually the name of the cafe in Hobbiton entrance where you can buy souvenirs, claim your tickets or have coffee while waiting for your turn.
All the people that booked the same hour will be in the same group that rides a bus together with one tour guide. It took about 10 minutes to go to the movie set. Along the way there is a huge farm surround the movie set. The view is divine.
The tour guide will accompany the group throughout the place. Explained how was the movie set build, how long it takes to build the hobbit houses, how the actors filming at that time. I was amazed by the meticulous movie set that looks so realistic and magical.
The detailed touch in every corner makes it look like there actually people were living there. The Hobbit house was awesome; every tourist wants to take pictures with it. There are 44 Hobbits holes in total. So if you are missing your chance to take pictures with the first 5 Hobbits holes, don’t worry there are still 39 Hobbit holes left.
And then there is The Dragon Inn, some kind of pub where you can grab a bite. After 1, 5 hours seeing the Hobbiton, the tour guide will take you to the Dragon Inn where you can grab your free beer or just to relax after a long walk. The tour guide will give you around 20 minutes to chill and enjoy your beer before heading back to the Shire’s Rest.
The only thing that missing was Frodo Baggins. Unfortunately, the tour does not include meeting the Hobbits. LOL. If you love Lord of The Rings movie like me, the 2 hours tour will pass by so fast. I wish I can stay there longer. Make sure to check out the souvenir shop in Shire’s Rest to get some cool Lord of The Rings merchandise.