Is Hobbiton worth a visit if you’re not a Lord of the Rings fan?
Given the pricey entrance fee, I was seriously questioning this myself as I was planning our NZ road trip. I’ve seen the first movie, but I’m not especially a Lord of the Rings fan.
My sister on the other hand has watched all the movies and this was a must-visit spot on her New Zealand bucket list.
After visiting Hobbiton as a non-LOTR fan, I can tell you that YES you should absolutely go.
Hobbiton was incredible because I felt like I was entering an alternate reality, filled with mystique, charming houses and beautiful gardens. Each house more imaginative than the next.
Review of the Hobbiton Tour
We took an official tour of Hobbiton, which includes a guided walk around Hobbiton, and culminates with a drink at The Green Dragon.
The tour guide we had was very informative and good humored. I did have difficulty hearing him at times, and would have liked for the tour guides to have a mic.
Despite this, what I did hear about the filming process behind LOTR and the creation of Hobbiton was really interesting. I’ve always imagined, that if I were to start my career over again, it would be in the film or television industry, as I’m drawn to the escapism a good movie or TV show can provide. The behind the scenes information really appealed to me even as a non-fan.
While we were unlucky on the weather front, with rain drizzling on and off all day, that didn’t stop us from having an amazing time. I felt elated almost the entire tour, because the set is awe-inspiring. The amount of detail put into the huts paired with an epic backdrop, created a magical atmosphere that was palpable.
With the tour being 2 hours from start to finish, the timing of the tour is an area that needs to be improved. The walking tour sticks to a very tight schedule. It was crowded with a tour group right in front of us, and right behind us. This left a limited amount of time to take pictures in front of the huts, but we managed to snap more than enough. However, in order to take a few photos, we kept losing our tour group and missing information. Since taking pictures is to be expected by visitors on the tour, a reasonable amount of time for this should be built into the walking tour.
Tips for Hobbiton Tour:
- Wear layered clothing and be prepared for all types of weather. The weather can be very sporadic and you’ll want to be comfortable during the tour. We experienced bright sunshine, drizzling rain, and heavy wind all within the span of a few hours. They offer umbrellas on the tour – make sure to grab one, even if the weather is sunny when you arrive.
- Book your Hobbiton Tour far in advance. They only allow a limited number of tours per day, as Hobbiton was built on an active sheep farm that is still operating today.
- Try to book the first tour of the day. The earliest tour is at 8:30AM and you can get much better pictures without several tour groups in front of you, cluttering up the scenery.
How Much Does a Hobbiton Tour Cost?
The tour costs $79 currently, though it will increase to $84 in April 2018. Children ages 9 to 16 are offered a discounted rate of $39.50, which will increase to $42 in April 2018. Children younger than 9 years old will be admitted free with a full paying adult, but note that a reservation for them is still required.
How Long is the Hobbiton Tour?
The tour lasts around 2 hours in total, including transport to and from The Shire’s Rest.
Planning a Hobbiton Day Trip with a Tour Company:
Hobbiton is a 2 hour bus ride from Auckland and there are many companies offering day trips from this location. Day trips to Hobbiton from Rotorua, Hamilton, and Tauranga are also a common offering.
Road Trip to Hobbiton:
We made a pit stop to Hobbiton along our road trip, therefore we booked directly with www.HobbitonTours.com.
The meeting point was at The Shire’s Rest, where a bus picked us up and drove us to Hobbiton.
The Shire’s Rest
501 Buckland Rd,