The fascinating history behind 'hobbit tourism' in New Zealand (2023)

It all started – officially anyway – quite far from the set and the Shire. December 10, 2001 was a typical winter evening in London. cold proposal as the cast of The Fellowship of the Ring gathered for the premiere in Leicester Square. This was to be the first of three long-awaited film adaptations of JRR Tolkien's fantasy epic, The Lord of the Rings. Director Peter Jackson spoke of paying tribute to his genius by staging the first public screening in the author's country – and the actors who brought it to life on camera did their best to add some star quality to the cold air.

Liv Tyler (half-elf princess Arwen) was charming personified in a red dress. Elijah Wood (protagonist Frodo Baggins) has traded in his cute Hobbit suit for a sharp purple one. Christopher Lee (the corrupt wizard Saruman) similarly ditched his clothes for a stylish coat. So did wizard Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf), fondly recalling the event on his blog, writing of "thousands of fans surrounding Leicester Square behind police barriers" and "barrages of blinding torches and TV cameras". For one night, London became Middle Earth.

11,000 miles away, in the heart of things, New Zealand still didn't understand what was happening. I will soon. The Lord of the Rings film series would be an incredible success. Chapters two and three will follow the first within two years - The Two Towers in 2002. The Return of the King in 2003. Together they will be one of the most expensive cinematic endeavors ever made - but will more than pay off the investment, earning a worldwide gross of £2.258 billion for an initial outlay of £212m. He would go on to be nominated for a total of 30 Oscars, winning 17 of them - The Return of the King alone collected all 11 categories in which his name is mentioned (including Best Picture and Best Director). It was an absolute triumph, an absolute extravagance - and everything pointed to a small country at the end of the world.

The books, published in 1954 and 1955 while Tolkien was at Oxford University, may have been English in concept – a quasi-medieval tale of a group of adventurers on a journey to destroy a ring of dark magic in the face of evil forces – but Jackson's adaptation was transformed into a gigantic, a great poster of his native New Zealand. It was filmed during 14 intense months (October 1999 - December 2000) in more than 150 locations with a crew of 2,400 members. The response to this attention to detail has been significant. By 2006, inbound tourism to New Zealand had grown 40 percent over 2001 figures. On the fifth anniversary of the first film's release, Bruce Lahood, of the National Tourism Board, would again marvel at the numbers, telling USA Today that "The Lord rings is the best unpaid advertisement New Zealand has ever had."

After 15 years, this rating is still good. New Zealand may have been closed to visitors for nearly two years, but the version of the country that shines through Jackson's lens has lost none of its visual power. How could he? The director captured large swaths of the landscape – from the glacial waters of Milford Sound and Lake Te Anau in the South Island to the charred volcanic hotspots of Tongariro National Park in the north. Fascination with the epic does not belong to the past either. With a new Amazon-produced TV series coming this September, that mission has its ways.

Of course, looks can be deceiving. Despite its grand scale, much of the project was filmed in a short stretch of landscape in north-east Wellington - at a number of different locations along State Highway 2 (which connects the capital to Auckland in more than 600 miles of winding line). Some of these places are idyllic. Remote side (, a 1920s country estate 40 miles from the city (near Featherston), was used as part of the elven enclave of Lothlórien - Lady Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) is seen waving to the Fellowship from a bridge over its lake. Kaitoke Regional Park, 10 miles back, used its tropical trails to simulate another elven range, Rivendell. The other options were decidedly less romantic. On page and screen, Helm's Abyss is a steep valley that witnesses the decisive battle for the two towers. Tolkien supposedly based it on the limestone curves of Cheddar Gorge. In his alternate reality, he is the Belmont Quarry, an active mining site half an hour from the Wellington Harbor Basin.

(Video) Hobbiton Movie Set Tour from Rotorua, New Zealand

This condensed geography is explained by Jackson's relationship with the region. He was born in Wellington (1961) and grew up in the town of Pukerua Bay, 20 miles away on the west coast of the North Island. He called his trilogy "the greatest domestic film in the world".

(Video) 10 Best Places to Visit in New Zealand

But looking up from his teenage playground, he did so to incredible effect, drawing on examples from New Zealand at his most dramatic moment. Queenstown and its ally Lake Wakatipu are there. As well as a lesser known part of the South Island, Ashburton Lakes. Like the Rangipo Desert, a rare high-altitude zone on the eastern side of Tongariro National Park, which provided the harsh hellscape for the climactic Battle of the Black Gate.

But then, Tongariro is the real star of the movie. Every Lord of the Rings encapsulation needs a Dark Realm. Hans Mordor. Tolkien found his later, seeing the Italian volcano Stromboli on a Mediterranean cruise in 1966 and remarking that he "never saw anything higher than Mount Doom". Jackson needed two volcanoes to duplicate the mouth of evil into which Frodo finally dumps his heavy load.

Both are located in the most spectacular protected area of ​​the North Island. Mount Ngauruhoe will always be a contender - a distinct, conical kraken rising in an open crater that has erupted 45 times in the 20th century (last time in 1977). But its peak could not be used for filming - Maori consider it sacred - so neighboring Mount Ruapehu was also called into the scene in what could be considered an exercise in geological method acting. Ruapehu is the largest active volcano in New Zealand and the highest peak in the North Island (9177 feet). Its Maori name translates as "noisy pit" or "explosion pit".

It's dangerous at times. Although not prone to lava eruptions, the caldera lake is a regular source of "lahars" - flows of water, mud and rock debris, which are pushed downhill by underground volcanic activity and are extremely destructive. Ruapehu is responsible for one of the most shocking accidents in New Zealand's history - the Tangiwai disaster of 1953, when a lahar flowing south from the top of the mountain broke a support column on a bridge over the Whangaehu River minutes before an express train was due to depart. because of the speed on it. 151 passengers died in the accident.

(Video) How HOBBITON Was Built For Real | The Scouting of the Shire

With such untouched nature, one had to be careful. This was not always the case. In December 2005, earthworks contractors were hired to remove all evidence of the manufacturing heritage from the Ruapehu site, which the locals called "The Way of the Orca". Other rooted characters were preferred. Elsewhere in the North Island, 30 miles from Hamilton, the set created for Hobbiton survives as a fine attraction. Intended to be temporary, it was extended in time for Jackson to begin filming The Hobbit trilogy in 2011. Tourists can explore the cinematic echo ( with 44 "hobbit holes" a place that, as the first in front of the camera in the entire Lord of the Rings series, had to be convincing. "I knew that Hobbiton had to be warm, comfortable and livable," Jackson later explained. "By letting weeds grow through the cracks and creating hedges and small gardens a year before filming, we got an incredibly real location - not just a film set."

Ultimately though, the success of The Lord of the Rings is based on the beauty of New Zealand. And versatility. It is able to create the pastoral peace and rustic beauty befitting a Hobbit home in the Shire. It also has a sense of menace and fiery menace about its rougher edges.

A brief exchange between Frodo and the exiled King Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) – still disguised as Knight Strider – as the Fellowship heads east to Rivendell says it all.

"Where are you taking us?" - asks the hobbit nervously. "In nature", is the answer.

Six holidays for hobbit lovers

Ski Mount Doom

Despite its tectonic turmoil, Mt Ruapehu is one of New Zealand's best options for a day on the slopes. In fact, the volcano is home to three separate ski resorts. Whakapapa, on the north side (, has 67 trails – as well as Happy Valley, a separate area where beginners can take lessons. Turoa (, on the southwest side, offers challenging routes in its upper part. Tukino(, on the east side, is the smallest of the three, but is often the least crowded. The season usually lasts from June to October. This matches the classic 13-night North Island tour sold by Discover The World (01737 214250;, which can be taken all year round from £2,430 per person (including flights). Local ski expert New Zealand (00 64 3443 0812; offers a five-day ski holiday to Ruapehu from £525pp.

Cross of Mordor

A visual link between Tongariro National Park (, and the rugged terrain of Mordor is perhaps best seen from its busier path. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing takes a challenging 12-mile route along Mt Tongariro and the eastern foothills of Mt Ngauruhoe, passing through craters and climbing steep slopes. It is part of Walking NewZealand: North to SouthIsland Explorer - a comprehensive 19-day group tour organized by KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; From £6,825 per head, including flights. Next edition November 4, 2022.

Walk through the gardens of Isengard

The map of Middle-earth places Isengard - the fortress from which Saruman unleashes his evil plans - in Wizard's Vale, in the shadow of the Misty Mountains. This was another setting where Jackson used his knowledge of the Wellington area and asked Harcourt Park to provide suitable foliage for an early scene where Gandalf walks with his former friend in the castle gardens. At a distance of 25 miles from the city there is a park ( can be combined with Fernside (Lothlórien) and Kaitoke Regional Park (Rivendell) on a day trip from the capital. The 14-day New Zealand Highlighter group tour is sold by APT (0800 012 6683; allows such excursions. From £4,395 per person (plus flights). The next departure is on September 10, 2022.

Walk through Lothlórien

The South Island also helped recreate what, according to Tolkien's prose, is the most beautiful of all kingdoms. The upper part of Lake Wakatipu, where the real River Dart descends from the Centaur Peaks, was developed as part of Lothlórien where the fictional River Anduin flows past the Misty Mountains. This is a mostly rural corner of Otago, all cattle farms and peace, where you can head to the shores of Diamond Lake in the aptly named Paradise Valley (or add a bit more to your explorations via Paradise Ziplines) The area is a 30-mile lakeside drive from Queenstown – a comparative step entirely doable via the 15-day SouthIsland Wanderer tour sold by Austravel (020 8106 2405; from £2,499 per person, flights extra. And if you're going to spend two nights on the town, you can also head to nearby Arrowtown - where River Arrow played Rivendell's Ford of Bruinen.

(Video) Hobbiton New Zealand | Movie Set Tour

A journey into the heart of Rohan

Go even deeper into the mountains of the South Island and you'll find another amazing area. Scenes set in Rohan – home of the meadow of the Rohirrim riders that proved decisive in the final battle of the Pelennor Fields against Mordor and its dark lord Sauron – were shot on the Ashburton Lakes. Specifically, where the Rangitata River slipped past Mount Sunday. This is a remote area, but not inaccessible. New Zealand travel agency Pukekohe Travel (0800 785386; is selling an eight-day Inland Canterbury - Mountains, Lakes and Valleys tour, which takes in the entire region, from £2040 per person (excluding international flights). Alternatively, Mount Potts Lodge ( has rooms from £56 – located just below the peak of the same name.

Cruise the paths of the dead

The forces of good are also aided by Dunharrow's dead at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields - but only after Aragorn embarks on a perilous journey to seek their help. On screen, the paths of the dead he travels are the Putangirua Peaks, a cluster of pillars in Mount Aorangi at the bottom of the North Island. They are offered as an excursion by Celebrity Cruises (0344 493 2043;, and can be reached via a 12-night New Zealand cruise scheduled for 26 January 2023. From £1,979pp, flight extra.

Travel to New Zealand in 2022

No country has had tighter travel restrictions due to the pandemic than New Zealand, but last month brought the long-awaited news that borders will reopen to international tourists on April 30. There are inevitable caveats. Guests must be fully vaccinated, tested for Covid before departure and upon arrival - and must self-isolate in their own accommodation (but not in a quarantine hotel) for seven days. The latest requirement certainly means many would-be travelers are still being turned away, but further easing of the rules could follow later this year. More information

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What is special about Hobbiton New Zealand? ›

Only One Hobbit Hole Has Interior

You can explore the Hobbit holes only from the exterior side. Forty-four hobbit holes were spread in the 4.8 hectares area of Alexander farm. The whole of Hobbiton New Zealand was constructed over the private property of the Alexander family.

How did Lord of the Rings affect New Zealand tourism? ›

Economic effects

The annual tourist influx to New Zealand grew 40%, from 1.7 million in 2000 to 2.4 million in 2006, which some have attributed to be to a large degree due to The Lord of the Rings phenomenon. 6% of international visitors cited the film as a reason for traveling to the country.

Can you visit The Hobbit holes in New Zealand? ›

501 Buckland Road, Matamata, New Zealand. For your own Middle‑earth™ adventure, daily tours are available to visit the original Hobbiton Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy and The Hobbit films.

Why is New Zealand famous for Lord of the Rings? ›

New Zealand's mountain ranges, wild rivers and grassy fields provided the perfect setting for the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. Here is where you can find Middle‑earth™ for yourself. Whether or not you're a Tolkien fan, you'll find it almost impossible not to compare New Zealand to Middle‑earth™.

What are the facts about The Hobbit hole? ›

The holes used by actors playing hobbits were built at 90 per cent scale, while the holes used by Gandalf were built at 60 per cent scale to make him look larger. 7. The large oak on top of Bag End is completely fake and was constructed specifically for the movie.

How expensive is it to stay at the Hobbiton? ›

How to book a stay in Hobbiton. There are just three overnight stays (of two nights each) available for booking. They cost 10 New Zealand dollars (just over US$6) per night—in honor of the 10th anniversary of the first movie in The Hobbit trilogy.

What surprised American tourists about New Zealand attraction? ›

“Even on a weekday lots of people are there.” The American was also surprised at the activities and facilities available at shopping centres in New Zealand. "All the ones we've wandered through are clean, have a variety of shops, some have playgrounds and almost all have food courts," she said.

What cultural influences did Lord of the Rings have? ›

Influences. The Lord of the Rings began as a personal exploration by Tolkien of his interests in philology, religion (particularly Roman Catholicism), fairy tales, as well as Norse and Celtic mythology, but it was also crucially influenced by the effects of his military service during World War I.

How much money has New Zealand made from Lord of the Rings? ›

In terms of tourism bucks alone, Tourism New Zealand conservatively estimates that travellers who visited the islands just to see Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit locations have brought in $620million since December 19, 2001.

Are The Hobbit houses still in New Zealand? ›

Two hours south of Auckland lies the lush farmland of Hobbiton Movie Set(opens in new window); it has more than 44 unique hobbit holes, including Bag End (Bilbo's house). As you wander through the heart of the Shire, you'll get to hear the fascinating commentary about how it was all created.

What is The Hobbit thing in New Zealand? ›

Hobbiton and The Shire are located in Matamata on the North Island. To visit you'll need your own vehicle or you can take a tour from Rotorua or Auckland. The drive from Auckland to Hobbiton takes 2.5 hours.

How much of The Hobbit was filmed in New Zealand? ›

The Hobbit Trilogy was filmed entirely in New Zealand, throughout locations in both the North and South Islands.

Can you visit The Lord of the Rings set in New Zealand? ›

In the heart of the Mighty Waikato region, you can explore the lush pastures of the Shire™ with a guided walking tour of Hobbiton™, as featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies.

Why did NZ lose Lord of the Rings? ›

The decision “aligns with the studio's strategy of expanding its production footprint and investing in studio space across the U.K., with many of Amazon Studios' tentpole series and films already calling the U.K. home,” according to an Amazon statement.

Can you visit Lord of the Rings in New Zealand? ›

A Lord of the Rings Tour is a popular option for visitors to New Zealand. There are many Lord of the Rings Tours to explore. The most popular tour locations include the Hobbiton Movie Set. This is located in Matamata on the North Island.

Can you visit a hobbit hole? ›

In other words, you can explore the real film set used for the charming village of Hobbiton on the Hobbiton Movie Set Tour. However, most of these hobbit holes are facades only, and the few doors that open have just a small space inside. The interior of Bag End was filmed at a studio, not at the Hobbiton Movie Set.

What is the hobbit hole quote? ›

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort."

Where is the real-life hobbit hole? ›

Located near Tomich, Scotland, adventurous Stuart Grant constructed his own real-life hobbit house. Built in the 1980s, the property has had time to age gracefully and is given its authentic look by its moss-covered exterior with a round door.

What movies were filmed at Hobbiton? ›

The Hobbiton Movie Set is a significant location used for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and The Hobbit film trilogy.

Can you walk around Hobbiton yourself? ›

Do I have to go on a tour or can I go by myself? To ensure all our guests have the complete experience the only way to access the Hobbiton Movie Set is with a fully guided walking tour.

Who owns Hobbiton? ›

Hobbiton Movie Set ceo and Co-founder Russell Alexander says the project will take the experience to the next level.

Is New Zealand friendly to Americans? ›

New Zealand is a strong, steadfast partner and friend of the United States. The U.S. diplomatic presence in New Zealand dates back to the commissioning of the first U.S. Consul in 1838.

What is the most famous thing about New Zealand? ›

New Zealand is one of the most unique destinations on Earth, where scenes of sweeping, verdant landscapes and pristine wilderness abound. In addition to its endless natural attractions, New Zealand is also known for its rich culture, friendly locals, and excellent food and wine.

Where in the US is most like New Zealand? ›

  • Hawai'i. ...
  • Around Seattle in Washington with the mountains and Puget Sounds is scenically very like our South Island. ...
  • In terms of food, avant-garde culture, art, music, and respect for native heritage - Seattle.
  • I have been to 45 of the 50 states and these two are closest to NZ.

What religion is LOTR based on? ›

J. R. R. Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic from boyhood, and he described The Lord of the Rings in particular as a "fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision". While he insisted it was not an allegory, it contains numerous themes from Christian theology.

What culture inspired hobbits? ›

Small hairy feet will be back on screen again as The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies marches into cinemas worldwide next week. While the film trilogy, along with the previous Lord of the Rings adaptation, were shot in New Zealand, the books' author JRR Tolkien drew inspiration mainly from the English landscape.

What religion is LOTR? ›

Even so, Tolkien's Catholic Christian worldview not only stands behind the saga of the Ring in its prehistory, but surrounds and suffuses it in its overarching themes and imaginative structures. His faith is not the only aspect of Tolkien's inner life or personal experiences that bears upon the story.

Was Amazon Lord of the Rings filmed in New Zealand? ›

Other scenes were put together digitally, at the WETA Workshop in Wellington, as well as at soundstages in Wellington and Queenstown. What is this? A new Lord of the Rings TV series has also been announced by Amazon, and this will also be filmed in New Zealand, with production and filming commencing in 2019/20.

Which LOTR film location is the most visited in New Zealand? ›

Mount Ngauruhoe

The mountain is located in Tongariro National Park on the north island, which itself was depicted as Sauron's land, Mordor, in the films. One of the most recognisable filming locations from The Lord of the Rings in New Zealand, Mount Ngauruhoe, like the fictional Mount Doom, is an active volcano.

How many New Zealanders worked on Lord of the Rings? ›

More than 1200 New Zealanders worked on the series, and it was shot across 38 locations – 15 of those in Auckland, with others including Coromandel, Central Otago, Kahurangi National Park, and Queenstown. Writer Patrick McKay (left) on location during filming of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

What is the most famous hobbit hole? ›

Bag End – The most luxurious hobbit hole

At the top of the Hobbiton Hill lies the most famous and elegant hobbit-hole, home of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, Bag End.

How long did the cast of LOTR stay in New Zealand? ›

Filming. Principal photography for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy was conducted concurrently in New Zealand for 438 days from 11 October 1999 through 22 December 2000.

What is The Hobbit village called in New Zealand? ›

The Hobbiton Movie Set is located at the heart of Waikato, in a small agricultural town called Matamata. The set is in a 1250 acre or a 500-hectare property that has been traditionally a New Zealand sheep and beef farm owned by the Alexander's since 1978.

What is the fake tree in Hobbiton? ›

The oak tree on the hill above Bag End is fake. The tree is made of fiberglass and its leaves are made from silk and were imported from Taiwan. The leaves were attached to the tree one-by-one and whenever they faded in the sun, someone was paid to repaint each one by hand.

Did The Hobbit use all gold paint in New Zealand? ›

​It used an entire country's paint supply

"​The Hobbit" crew used up all of the gold paint in New Zealand when creating Smaug's lair. Later, they had to order more paint and get it flown in from Germany.

What mountain is the Lonely Mountain in real life? ›

The Lonely Mountain appears in Peter Jackson's film adaptations of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug, and The Battle of the Five Armies. The actual setting was Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand.

Does New Zealand have hobbits on their money? ›

"They contain precious metal. The coin in particular that seems to be the most commonly seen is a NZ$10 coin, depicting one the hobbits from the movie."

Is The Hobbit scenery real? ›

While some scenes and locations from the movie were digitally created, most of the locations used in the trilogy are real-life locations that one can visit. Like the Lord of the Rings, many scenes from The Hobbit were also filmed in the rugged and beautiful landscape of New Zealand.

How long does it take to walk The Lord of the Rings trail? ›

Search Google Maps for walking directions and even that site will tell you: "One does not simply walk into Mordor." In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo and Sam walk all the way from the Shire to Mount Doom – a six month journey.

What sets from Lord of the Rings still exist? ›

The Hobbiton Movie Set was created for The Lord of the Rings trilogy and rebuilt for The Hobbit trilogy. It now remains a permanent attraction where visitors can immerse themselves in the idyllic world of the hobbits.

How long did it take to film Lord of the Rings in New Zealand? ›

Considered to be one of the biggest and most ambitious film projects ever undertaken, with an overall budget of $280million the entire project took eight years, with the filming for all three films done simultaneously and entirely in New Zealand.

How popular is Lord of the Rings in New Zealand? ›

According to Tourism New Zealand, nearly one in five visitors first discovered the country through the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, and a third of all travellers visited a film location during their stay. In 2019, 'Tolkien Tourism' was worth NZ$630m (£330m) to the economy alone.

Why did Amazon leave New Zealand? ›

Amazon Studios said Thursday that the move away from New Zealand is part of its strategy to expand its U.K. production footprint and to invest in studio space in the U.K.

Why did Amazon cancel LOTR? ›

It seems that Tencent's purchasing of Leyou was the primary reason why the Lord of the Rings MMO faced cancellation. Speaking with Gamespot, Amazon Games President Christoph Hartmann discussed the difficulties of working with Tencent, which were amplified when Leyou was acquired by the conglomerate.

Why is Lord of the Rings important to New Zealand? ›

Tolkien tourism is a phenomenon of fans of The Lord of the Rings fictional universe travelling to sites of film- and book-related significance. It is especially notable in New Zealand, site of the movie trilogy by Peter Jackson, where it is credited as having raised the annual tourism numbers.

What is Hobbiton used for? ›

The set was rebuilt in 2011 for the feature films The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. It is now a permanent attraction complete with hobbit holes, gardens, bridge, Mill and The Green Dragon Inn where they serve New Zealand brewed ale.

How is Hobbiton described? ›

Hobbiton was a village in the central regions of the Shire, within the borders of the Westfarthing.
Page actions.
LocationWestfarthing, the Shire
DescriptionA small village overlooked by The Hill
8 more rows

How many people visit Hobbiton a day? ›

More than 3000 wide-eyed Tolkien fans can step through The Shire in a day. During Hobbiton Movie Set's peak season, the rolling hills of Buckland Rd can be seen dotted with earth-green tour buses, campervans holding camera-toting tourists and cars with navigation systems stuck on the windscreens.

What does the word Hobbiton mean? ›

In The Hobbit, hobbits live together in a small town called Hobbiton, which in The Lord of the Rings is identified as being part of a larger rural region called the Shire, the homeland of the hobbits in the northwest of Middle-earth.

When did Hobbiton Tours start? ›

Filming commenced in December 1999, and it took around three months to get a wrap on The Shire. After an initial attempt at demolition, 17 bare plywood facades remained. These shells would serve as the catalyst that propelled Hobbiton forward into the public eye, with guided tours commencing in 2002.

How many people visit Hobbiton? ›

Hobbiton went from 25,000 visitors per year and 17 staff, to 600,000 visitors per year and a staff of nearly 300 across the whole business.

Was Lord of the Rings filmed in Hobbiton? ›

Hobbiton, Waikato

New Zealand's mountain ranges, wild rivers and grassy fields provided the perfect setting for the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.

What is The Hobbit tree called? ›

Old Man Willow

A cantankerous tree of the Old Forest, Old Man Willow ensnared the four hobbits by making them drowsy and putting them under a spell by singing about sleep. When Frodo and Sam began to realise what was happening to them, Old Man Willow had already captured Merry and Pippin in its big roots.

Are there people living in Hobbiton? ›

Do people actually live in the hobbit houses? While many Tolkien fans have created their own life-size replicas of Bilbo Baggins' home (and live in them), the original hobbit house is not inhabitable.

Can you stay overnight in a hobbit hole? ›

If you have come to New Zealand to see Middle-earth in real life, prepare to be wowed. And to make your Lord of the Rings experience even more special, you can stay in a hobbit hole. You can stay in a hobbit hole in two places not far from the Hobbiton Movie Set: Woodlyn Park Hotel.

Which city is closest to Hobbiton? ›

Located in the Waikato region of the North Island, a district of rolling grassy hills known as Matamata is where you'll be able to visit the Hobbiton Movie Set. The closest big city is Rotorua but can also be easily accessible from Taupo to the south or Auckland in the north.

Is Hobbiton worth it in the rain? ›

Should You Visit Hobbiton on a Rainy Day? Of course! Don't skip Hobbiton because of a little rain. Filming locations are cool!


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