Hobbiton

On the 20th of February I went with a friend to Hobbiton, it’s about a two hour drive from Auckland and somewhere I’ve always thought about going to, but it’s not cheap so the price has always put me off. However my friend read an article about Hobbiton and how they may have to close because the number of tourists is way down thanks to Covid and they might not be able to continue with the upkeep. So we decided to go just in case we never get the chance and that would be a real shame.
The tour bus was full, lucky we booked. The very brief bus ride is basically to get you across the road from the meeting point, shop and cafe and in to the farmland where the movie was made (it was filmed on privately owned land). The guided tour starts the minute the bus takes off – they play a DVD with music from the film and scenes from the movie to remind you of what areas we were driving past looked like in the movie. It set the scene and got us excited, it was strangely emotional. It also made me want to watch the first movie all over again, luckily there is a big gift shop and I could buy the DVD.

The bus ride ended at an instantly recognisable stone path where either Bilbo or Frodo met Gandalf and excitedly we set off.

It was exactly like in the movie – the details were amazing and I understood how the cost of maintaining the movie set justified the price of entry. It was well worth it and I’d happily go again.

Eventually we came to Bagend where Bilbo lived and I couldn’t actually believe I was seeing it for real.

The tree above Bilbo’s house is the famous tree that featured a lot in the movie – turns out it’s not real!

After that we headed to the Green Dragon Inn for a complimentary beverage – the beer they were serving is brewed by the Good George brewery in Hamilton, you can also do a tour of their brewery.

After that the tour was over and we headed for the bus. On the way back we crossed paths with another tour party just setting out and it made me appreciate how lucky we were to be on the tour with reduced numbers. At times it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves and we could walk around at a very leisurely pace. But I imagine in the height of the tourist season the place would have been packed and the tours would leave every 10 minutes rather than every hour or so.

From there we set off for the Hamilton Gardens and a tour of the Good George brewery.

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