There lived a hobbit. That’s the opening line to JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit. And on our first full day in Auckland, I got to see those holes in the ground. The movie set of Hobbiton, used in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and now The Hobbit movies is located in Matamata, New Zealand. This is about a 2 hr drive from Auckland, so since Derrick had to work that day, I decided I had to get to Hobbiton. Luckily, a tour company in Auckland called Bush and Beach (I highly recommend them to anyone eve going to Auckland for any tour!) had just the tour for me. Pickup in Auckland at your hotel, drive out to the set, tour, lunch, $10 voucher for the gift shop, and a ride back to the hotel. Perfect.
So I got up, super excited…..and it was raining. Pouring, even. I was a little disheartened, but decided nothing would ruin my trip to the Shire. It was down to a drizzle by the time I got picked up, so I was thankful for that at least. As we drove, our tour guide talked a lot about Auckland, the Waikato region (the area we were in, big farming area for dairy and cattle), how the movie set came to be, and on and on. I learned a lot and really appreciated his knowledge. When you go to the set, you normally have to get on a large tour bus at the meeting point, The Shire’s Rest. But with our tour (of only 14 people), we got to pick up our own personal tour guide and drive down to the entrance to the set. The whole thing was breathtakingly awesome. I was nerding out pretty much the entire time (internally) because, well, Hobbits! The set was so detailed, which is why I think it comes across so beautifully in film. All the hobbit holes (there are 44 of them, by the way) have their own landscaping, own gardens, unique mailboxes, doors, etc. It really feels as though you should see hobbits wandering around. And by the time we had made it halfway up the hill, we had blue skies and the sun was shining! Anyway, too much talking about it, not enough pictures:
After you walk up to the top of the hill and see Bag End, you then go back down, hang out at the Party Tree, and then walk around by the mill, across the bridge, and to the Green Dragon Inn. At the Green Dragon, we had a delicious lunch along with a complimentary drink from the bar. I had South Farthing Cider. Yum!
Once we finished up lunch, our day in Hobbiton was over, so it was back to the bus and back to the Shire’s Rest for a trip to the gift shop, then the ride to Auckland.
Derrick got back to the hotel not too long after I did, so after a visit to the hotel fitness center, we struck out for the Harbour for dinner. We had our choice of several restaurants all right along the water with covered outdoor seating areas, so we chose one at random. I had lamb shank again since I felt like eating lamb in New Zealand was just right. We stopped for ice cream along our way back to the hotel and took a few pictures of the city at night.