Hobbiton Tours, Matamata
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Review of "Hobbiton Tours, Matamata"
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I decided to book before we left as we had a tight schedule and wanted to spend most of our time on the South Island. Booking was quick and east via the Hobbiton web site. There were several options available including trips starting from Rotorua via coach, trips collecting from the nearby town of Matamata or you can opt to drive yourself to the main booking office where you will be taken by coach on the short drive to the film set. I decided to drive to the main booking office and paid $75 (£36) for myself and $ 37 for my son. Children under 14 pay just $10. It is not possible to tour the film set independently. Once you have selected where you would like your tour to start from you will need to select a tour time. I would strongly advise you to select the first tour of the day starting at 9.30 am, this avoids having to follow others and the place is quiet at this time of day.
I was sent a conformation email and tickets to print and take with me. Getting there.
It is 73 km from Rotorua to Matamata and it took me about 1 ½ hours. The actual address of Hobbiton is 501, Buckland road and my Sat Nav had no problem in getting me there which was just as well as it’s a very rural location and I don’t remember seeing any signs until we were almost there! I enjoyed the drive as it took us through some stunning scenery and several small farming townships.
We started our trip in Auckland and I made the mistake of making Rotorua our next stop. I booked our Rotorua accommodation before booking the Hobbiton tour. This meant I had to retrace our steps back to Hobbiton! With hindsight I wish I had booked to stay at one of the Waikato farm stays that are available.
The drive from Auckland takes about 2 hours following the bust state highway 1 and then taking highway 27.
There are tours available from both Auckland and Rotorua.The intercity bus runs tours from the sky city terminal in Auckland at a cost of $149 return for example.
Although I am no Hobbit fan I was immediately impressed by the surroundings. The set is spread over 12 acres and is truly amazing and very realistic! There are lots of Hobbit holes including the home of Bilbo Baggins. Although you can venture into some of the Hobbit holes they are empty,although it makes for a great photo opportunity to appear to be coming out of the hole!
The gardens are full of* flowers and vegetables*; all very realistic! We wanted to stop and take lots of pictures and quickly became separated from our guide who wanted to rush on. This was the only real negative for us as we heard little of what he had to say about the set.
As we were the first tour of the day we had no one in front of us and as our group was relatively small we had plenty of opportunity to take photos with no one else in our way.
I really loved everything especially the party tree and meadow with maypole. The mill and pond are also stunning especially with the backdrop of the Kaimai ranges in the distance.The tour ends with a visit to the famous Green Dragon Inn. The ticket price includes a free drink. I opted for a lovely mug of Southfarthing cider and my son had a soft drink. The roaring log fire was a welcome sight on what was a chilly spring day. The Inn sells light snacks and we each had an enormous cheese scone with butter. I thought the $3.50 cost was very reasonably considering this is a tourist trap! The In also sells biscuits, soup and pies.
Once everyone had finished we made our way back to the coach for the short drive back to the booking office. As we were leaving several full coaches were arriving and I suspect the later tourists would feel that the set was getting crowded!
The entire tour had lasted for about 2 hours including the drive to and from the film set entrance.
Before we made our way back to Rotorua we decided to have another, longer browse in the shop. The shop is very well stocked with lots of unique souvenirs from both the Lord of the rings and the Hobbit. As you would expect everything was very expensive. However I did buy my son a hobbit tee shirt for around £20.
Although this wouldn’t have been somewhere I would have chosen to visit had I been alone, I was really glad I did! I really enjoyed the visit and it was defiantly one of my son’s highlights! I would have liked the guide to have waited for the entire group before moving on, but I expect he was following orders!
Product Information : Hobbiton Tours, Matamata
Manufacturer's product descriptionAttraction
Listed on Ciao since: 17/05/2015