My all-time favorite travel movie is the Lord of the Rings trilogy. These movies spoke to my wandering soul long before I even knew I was a traveler.
Therefore, you are probably not surprised to hear that visiting the emerald fields and rolling hills of Hobbit shire in New Zealand had been on my bucket list since I first started traveling the world.
Last summer, I finally visited the well-known shire and felt a sense of joy and accomplishment as I crossed it off my list. It was such a good experience that I would love to take each and every one of you on a personal tour.
While I might not be able to make that happen,I invite you to come, join me for a few brief moments on a virtual journey through Hobbiton.
We enter Hobbiton along a winding stone path that slopes through gently rolling hills. As fans of the movie, we quickly recognize it as the place where Bilbo declares, “I’m going on an adventure!” Looking to our left, we notice a golden hobbit house built into a tiny knoll.
The overgrown grass slightly hangs over the round door. A hobbit-sized rocking chair half covered with a comfy blanket sits on the front porch selling the illusion that a hobbit just recently scurried inside to munch down his second breakfast.
Venturing further up the path through the hills, we pass several other hobbit holes, each one having its unique shape, size, and personality. Every hobbit hole has a rustic, live-in feel about it. Little hobbit sized outfits hang blowing in the wind on the clotheslines.
Tiny wheel barrels full of fruits and vegetables sit near neatly kept gardens and small buckets lay at the edge of the pond.
Your imagination takes over. It is easy to get lost in this world. In fact, we have to resist the urge to open every hobbit hole door. Most are locked. However, we are lucky and find a few doors that have been left a jarred. Of course, this means we can’t help but sneak inside to get a few photos.
I love the one of you peeking out one of the front doors. It almost looks like you belong there.
As we continue our climb towards Bag End, we stop for a few moments to take in the wonderful view of the shire. We peer out over the horizon and see distance smoke bellowing out of the chimmy of the Green Dragon.
There is a special feeling in the air, almost like visiting an old, close friend. We continue on.
As we near our destination, we recognize the gate guarding the entrance to Bag End, Bilbo’s home!
A sign nailed to the gate reads, “No Admittance Expection Party Business”.
We smile at each other as we recognize it from The Fellowship Of The Ring.
We look up to see the familiar beautifully crafted tree towering above us. As we push the gate open and make our way through the grounds, we find it cozy and inviting. I almost expect Bilbo to walk around the corner and warmly greet us.
Make sure you check the mailbox at Bag End check the mail box.
On my previous tour, there was a letter stuffed inside which read,
“ Dear Visitor, Cool that you are looking in the mailbox! I did the same but there wasn’t a letter. So now I am writing this one! I love Lord of the Rings! I hope you have a good day. Cheers, Marit ( The Netherlands)”
Bag End gives an awesome view of the shire and we can’t help but feel the magic as we take in the Party Tree, the surrounding hobbit holes, and the Green Dragon.
We make our way back down the hill and into the green field where Bilbo celebrated his 111th birthday.
The Party Tree is enormous and we stop, relive the memory, and relax in the shadow of the it. As we peer up the hill, we notice what many believe is the best view of Bag End.
Isn’t the shire stunning?
Tucked away in a cluster of a few other hobbit holes, we notice and appreciate one in particular. It is arrayed with colorful flowers lining the door. This is the house of Samwise Gamgee, the Brave. Our time in the shire is almost through but not before we head across the bridge and into the Green Dragon.
It is just like what we expect a hobbit pub to be and as we push the hardwood door open, we are greeted with a free pint (yes, it comes in pints) and a smoky smell that’s very fitting to the atmosphere.
We sink into the deep leather chairs that are nestled in the corner by a crackling fire and wait for our order of hobbit pies….errrr I mean hobbit themed pies, not pies with actual hobbits in them.
Personally, I would have loved to stay there all evening, drinking pints, smoking a pipe, and playing checkers with hobbits but everything in this world must come to an end, so we finish our meal, swallow our last swig, and meander on down the stone lane back to reality.
The whole time you have a guide, and in reality, it’s not me.
You have no choice but to do a guided tour and you learn many facts about Hobbiton as well as the Lord of the Rings films. Being a Lord of the Rings nerd, I knew some of these facts but, I was surprised by how much I didn’t know.
The guide shared many things about middle-earth that a person would only know if they were part of the film or Hobbiton crew.
What is the cost of visiting Hobbiton?
Hobbiton isn’t the cheapest place in the world to visit. The easiest way to get to Hobbiton is from the town of Matamata.
From Matamata, you can catch a one-hour bus.
The ticket fee includes the bus trip, entrance into Hobbiton, a two hour guided tour through the shire, and a free pint at the Green Dragon. Grand total is $90.
I guess that doesn’t sound too bad, but having never paid $90 to see anything, I gulped, took the cash out of my wallet, paid the fare, and started down the lane as poor as a hobbit.
Anyway, I knew I was getting ready to jump out of a perfectly good plane, and would regret not seeing Hobbiton before I died.
What is the cost of visiting Hobbiton on your own?
If you want to make your own way to Hobitton, you can. This reduces the ticket to $75. What do you think of Hobbtion? Is the magic of the shire worth the price of admission? When they rebuilt this movie set for the Hobbit, they built it to last, and they paid attention to every detail.
You honestly feel as if you have been transported to Middle Earth for two magical hours.
It is peaceful and serene and you get the feeling that if the wee folk actually lived here, their lives would move at a much slower pace than our own. It is an experience like none other and for any Lord of the Ring fan, one that can’t be missed. Only one thing could make it better – seeing Frodo and Sam leisurely strolling down the path towards the Green Dragon.