So, because I am late to the blogging game I feel like I need to back track a bit as far as our adventures go. Our last overseas posting was Wellington, New Zealand. We were fortunate enough to spend two years in New Zealand and got to see a lot of this beautiful country. I highly recommend visiting if you ever have the opportunity. Being in the Southern Hemisphere, summer begins right around Christmas. Not that there aren’t places that would be nice to visit in the June, July, August range, but January is definitely the time to visit if you want sunshine and warm (or hot) temps.
I know that this sounds nerdy, but it was amazing to be in Middle Earth. I absolutely loved Tolkien’s books and was so happy when they were brought to life in film. It was especially cool to have the opportunity to go to the WETA Workshop and see how they created all of the details in that went into some of my favorite movies. But, my absolute favorite thing that we did was going to Hobbiton.
Exactly two years ago (and I mean exactly, like it came up on my Facebook Timehop this week) we visited Hobbiton.
Hobbiton is located just outside of the small town of Matamata in the Waikato region of the North Island. Matamata itself is a cute, little town. It has lots of restaurants and a few shops and parks. There is an i-Site or visitor’s center there that is helpful when you need tickets or a bus ride over to the movie set.
We opted to drive our own vehicle to Hobbiton instead of taking the bus from town. Once you arrive at Hobbiton, there are a lot of people milling about waiting for their time of departure. At the Shire’s Rest there’s a cafe that has some pretty yummy food, including “elevensies” on the menu. The gift shop here is much bigger than the one at the i-site and has much better items. My personal keepsakes were some books and the “Party Business” sign. It hangs on the playroom door.
You have to take a short bus ride with your timed ticket from the Shire’s Rest to the actual movie set. You will also have a tour guide during your visit and you must stay with your group. For the most part, that’s ok. You may have to waiting extra few minutes to get your photo or listen to a dumb question, but it is so worth it to see this fantastic place.
As you walk into Hobbiton, you are instantly immersed in magic. The vibrant color, the plant life, the Hobbit holes. It really is just like walking into the book (or movie). Exploring the Hobbit village, seeing all of the familiar places, and hearing the explanation of how they made all the magic was so fun for me. The attention to detail here is just incredible. Bilbao’s house and the party tree were my personal favorites.
Towards the end of the tour, we got to go to the Green Dragon and enjoy an ale & cider. Your ticket comes with one free serving. You can purchase more on site. The tavern has a few pastries and other bites for purchase to go along with your drink. You can sit by the fire or take your drink outside and sit near the water. It’s all very enjoyable and a nice end to the experience.
I was so sad to leave Hobbiton at the end of the day. I would have gone back again and again, but there were so many other incredible things to see during our time in New Zealand. Like I said, it was my favorite and I highly recommend a visit if you are ever in that part of the world.