Grey skies, rain and wind – I couldn’t imagine a worse day for our much-anticipated visit to Hobbiton. Unfortunately for us it was the only day to do it in our busy itinerary and we had to face it – it’s not going to look like in the movies, no pretty photos are going to happen.
We drove just over 70km from Rotorua. What should’ve taken us about an hour took much longer in the heavy rain. I was so angry – I really wanted to see blue skies. But looking outside I knew it’s impossible.
This post is part of our New Zealand adventures series:
- Driving South – Kerikeri to Rotorua
- Waitomo Glowworm Caves
- River Birches, our stay near Taupo
- 2 days in Wellington + drive from Turangi
- One day in Christchurch
- Mt Cook adventures
And just a few minutes later, few km farther something magical happened. Blue sky. Pretty as a picture. Right there where it should be, or rather where I wanted it to be. So much luck! Yes, it was still very windy and not too warm, but hey, at least my photos are going to look like I pictured them.
We parked our rental car at the back and planned to visit the cafe upstairs but as it turned out they lost power and were able to run just one computer and a small light on a power generator. So we changed our tickets to an earlier tour and went straight to the bus that takes people from the Shire Rest Store & Cafe to the movie set. The bus is an attraction on its own – very very old school, driven by a lovely man with a very specific kind of humour. Our guide for the day was T., great girl, very knowledgeable about the LOTR & Hobbit movies. The bus part of the trip took us through the picturesque sheep farm, about 10 minutes to the gates of the movie set.
Tour took us from the bottom of the hill, past most of the hobbit houses, up the hill to the Bilbo Baggins home where we stopped for the longest period of time, so no one missed the opportunity for a photo. Then we walked down to the other side, through the party field and over the bridge to the Green Dragon Inn where we all enjoyed a complimentary glass of beer or cider (ales, cider and non-alcoholic ginger beer are brewed exclusively for Hobbiton).
The entire trip around the movie set took us about 2 hours. Tickets $75/adult person. For bookings visit hobbitontours.com.