You can visit plenty of locations where the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed in New Zealand, but none of them transports you to Middle Earth like Hobbiton does.
On the Hobbiton Movie Set you’ll find the lush rolling hills of The Shire where you can wander past Hobbit Holes and have a drink in the Green Dragon Inn.
You can only visit Hobbiton on a guided walking tour, but it’s fun and interesting, and you learn lots about the making of the films.
In 1998 Peter Jackson’s team of location scouts were searching New Zealand for the perfect location for Hobbiton, the village where the hobbits live, for the upcoming Lord of the Rings trilogy of movies.
While flying over the Alexander’s 1,250-acre sheep farm in Waikato, they noticed details of The Shire described in the JRR Tolkien novels: unspoilt green pastures, a rising hill (where Bag End would later sit), and a magnificent pine tree by a lake.
A temporary set was built on the farm and the filming of Lord of the Rings began in 1999 and took three months. Afterwards the set was demolished, but when the movies were released to enormous success, fans were keen to visit the site.
So when Peter Jackson returned to film The Hobbit trilogy in 2009, this time they decided to build a permanent set of 44 Hobbit Holes and the Green Dragon Inn.
In 2012 the Hobbiton Movie Set opened to the public for tours and became one of the most popular New Zealand tourist spots.