Whether you're a die-hard LOTR fan (like yours truly) or simply being dragged along by someone who is, Hobbiton is a New Zealand must-see. I promise. I was so excited to finally experience The Shire that I was not afraid to let my nerd-flag fly high and proud before, during, and after. The movie set is nestled into the lush, rolling green hills of Matamata on the North Island and its awe-inspiring beauty is something that can be appreciated by everyone.
We started our tour in Rotorua, but there are many other spots throughout the North Island from which you can begin your journey to The Shire. You also have the option to make the drive yourself and skip the bus experience all together. If you're traveling solo or you're simply looking to meet some new people, I'd recommend taking the bus. We met two lovely backpackers from Austria and Australia, and chatted with them throughout the tour.
During the two-hour guided walking tour, you'll get to see all 44 hobbit holes, learn about behind-the-scenes action from the filming of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit movies, grab a bite to eat and enjoy a complimentary bevie at The Green Dragon Inn, and of course snap as many pictures as your heart desires. Because pics or it didn't happen, amiright?
The best part? You can throw out all of your favorite LOTR movie quotes that are usually met with blank stares, ridicule and/or crickets, and chances are everyone (or at least the majority) will 1. understand the reference and 2. laugh and 3. fire back another line with equal zeal. It's a beautiful thing, really.