After leaving Waitomo, we headed to Rotorua. But hold on a minute! The title clearly states Hobbiton, that’s right dear reader, we’re dedicating today’s post to our trip to Hobbiton and then our following post will cover the bushwalk we did before leaving Waitomo and also what we got up to in Rotorua. We cool? Good.
The set is the one built for The Hobbit series in 2011 and consists of 44 unique hobbit holes, the Green Dragon Pub, mill, double arched bridge and the Party Tree.
Sadly all of the hobbit holes are just facades so you aren’t able to move yourself in, although we did hear stories of people who have tried. There are a couple that you are able to step inside for photo purposes but you don’t get to explore the interiors you see in the movies, they were all created on stages and, we suspect, have been long since dismantled.
The Kiwi bus dropped us off at The Shires Rest and we checked ourselves in for our tour. We had a little time before we were collected to have a look round the store which sells mementos from the most avid enthusiast to the general lay person. We didn’t think the store was overpriced but we didn’t indulge simply because we didn’t have the room in our bags to be able to tote around Hobbit-y mementos.
Unfortunately you aren’t able to tour the site by yourself, you are driven to and from the site and walked round by a guide. In some respects this is nice as you get to hear insider information regarding the filming as well as how the set was built to reflect Tolkien’s descriptions. However, you do tend to get herded from hobbit hole to hobbit hole and we found ourselves falling behind as we tried to get the photos we wanted. Private tours are available and we imagine would be done at a slower rate but we were always conscious that there were other groups following us and didn’t want to get overtaken.
Having said that, we had a lovely day and it was a truly wonderful experience to be able to see everything in real life.
We also enjoyed sampling the locally made beverages at the Green Dragon Pub. Anthony had sampled the amber ale, Girdley Fine Grain, and the stout, Oatbarton Brew. Kelly stuck to the non-alcoholic Frogmorton Ginger Beer. They also offered a cider but we didn’t have time to sample another one! All the drinks were delicious, it’s such a shame they aren’t available elsewhere.
That pretty much covers our visit. If you’d like to see us touring the set, be sure to check out our video here.
Finally, here are a few of our favourite photos.