All you need to know before you go to Hobbiton Movie Set with kids: how to book a visit, what to bring along, tips and tricks and much more.
While planning our trip to New Zealand in November 2017 one thing was set in stone – Hobbiton™ visit. Our daughter Olivia, 1.8 years old back than was coming along. So our goal was to make the visit to Hobbiton as convinient and enjoyeable for the whole family as possible.
Hobbiton – the only movie set which remained untouched
I don’t consider myself a “the Hobbit” or “Lord of the Rings” fan, but I do enjoy re-watching both trilogies, especially on Christmas. I just like the combination of a fairytale feeling and a picturesque set.
While working on the movies Peter Jackson transformed New Zealand into a huge filming stage. Therefore don’t be surprised when traveling around New Zeland you’d think “Hmm, this looks familiar”. In this part of the World Middle Earth is always nearby.
But after the movies were shot and actors went back home all the sets were removed due to copyright reasons. Only one remained and opened it’s doors to the public in 2002 – the Hobbiton™ Movie Set. And more than that – you’ll be lucky to see it in the same fantastic detail seen in the movies.
I’m not going to convince you whether you should visit the set or not – it’s up to you to decide. But let me share with you 8 things you need to know before planning your trip to Hobbiton™ Movie Set which may help you make up your mind.
You and your kids will enjoy Hobbiton even if your are not a Tolkien Fan
This is probably the best thing you should know before you and your kids go to Hobbiton – even if you are not into hobbits, goblins and Gandalf, you will still enjoy your visit!
The premises of the Hobbiton™ Movie Set and the whole area around it are simply gorgeous and consist of green rolling hills filled with cows and sheep, beautiful unique trees and sharp rocks.
It looks like a huge playground on a farm – for kids and for grownups.
How to get to Hobbiton
Hobbiton™ Movie Set is located about 20 minutes away by car from a little town of Matamata, North Island New Zealand. It is this part of the North Island which lacks mountains, but substitues them with greenery.
On the official page of the Hobbiton™ Movie Set you will find detailed description on which roads lead to Hobbiton.
There are also daily tours from Auckland, Rotorua and Tauranga, but again, consult the official Hobbiton™ Movie Set page for all the up to date information.
You can visit Hobbiton™ Movie Set premises ONLY on a tour
Want to be sure that you get in to Hobbiton? Traveling with kids you don’t want to have any uplanned surprises. So, book your tickets well in advance, especially during high season of New Zealand summer.
It can get very busy in this part of Middle Earth with buses full of visitors leaving every 30 min from the Shire’s Rest aka Hobbiton™ Visitors Center.
Those of you with little time can organise tours from major neighrouring cities: Matamata, Rotorua or Auckland for instance. Over here you can check all the tours available.
We had a “Hobbiton™ Movie Set” tour – the basic tour most visitors do. We thought it suitable for our little one.
What you should know before you go to Hobbiton is that you have to stick to your group
The area of and around movie set is private – owned by Alexander family. So there is no chance of sneaking inside – you won’t come further than a closed gate over the street from Shire’s Rest.
Sorry to dissapoint, but you can’t go inside a hobbit hole
Sorry for the spoiler here, but you can’t go inside hobbit holes.
Why? For one simple reason – there is nothing behind those cute doors, just earth and plywood.
All the scenes inside the holes were filmed at the Wellington Studios. There is just one hole where you can walk in and take a photo, but don’t expect to find anything pretty inside.
The facades of hobbit holes throughout the Hobbiton are full of details and are as adorable as hobbit holes can be.
You will not be the only visitor
The tour (we are talking about the standard tour most of the visitors take) lasts about 2 hours and even though it may seem long you will be surprised how fast the time flies.
When you come to Hobbiton with your kids, you need to know that tour groups are following one another, so there won’t be time to stop and appreciate a quiet moment. The tips we have learned form our visit:
- You don’t get a second chance for taking photos. Be fast and take them on the spot.
- If you want to hear stories and information from your guide, it is best to follow him around, otherwise the sound blurrs out.
- Another tip for taking photos – try to be the last one in the group, so you’ll be on the spot when everyone else has just finished taking photos and the new group hasn’t arrived yet.
- If you feel that this kind of visit is to crazy to deal with when traveling with a kid, there are also private tours available.
Dragon Inn is real
It is the only building in the whole Hobbiton™ which was properly built and left untouched. Dragon Inn also serves as a actual inn, where you can get a drink (one drink is included into ticket price).
You can even take photos in hobbit clothes there – just grab them from a hook. An Evening Banquet Tour also takes place inside the Dragon Inn.
Book your tickets in advance
I can’t repeat it often enough, the most important thing to know before you go to Hobbiton with or without kids is booking your tickets in advance!
Especially for the Evening Banquet Tour, which is held only twice per week. When we were visiting in the beginning of October 2017 banquet tour tickets for the year 2017 were sold out.
Leave your stroller in the car
If you are going to visit Hobbiton with kids, leave your stroller in the car. You can’t walk to the Hobbiton™ Movie Set . This said, all tour groups are brought to the premises by an organised bus tour.
All the tour buses have enough storage for strollers, but I still wouldn’t advise you to take one with you.
The struggle starts when you have to walk steps, climb narrow paths and squeeze in between people. At the end we were happy that we heard ur inner voice and left the stroller in the car.
Hobbiton visit is a busy experience and you want to concentrate on other things than sweaty climbs.
So if you can, don’t take a stroller with you on a tour. Instead bring along a sling or a backpack to carry your kid.
Oh, and I forgot to mention the most important thing – ENJOY!!!