Home | Entertainment Features | Frugal Kiwi Visits the Hobbiton Set in New Zealand
hobbiton set visit

Frugal Kiwi Visits the Hobbiton Set in New Zealand

hobbiton set visit

Note from Jane: Our favorite Frugal Kiwi, Melanie McMinn, recently visited Hobbiton, a picturesque private farmland (and working sheep and beef farm) near Matamata in the North Island of New Zealand.

The Hobbiton movie set was originally put together for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It was never meant to be anything more than temporary. The sets were made of materials that would never last like plywood and polystyrene. When it came time to rebuild the set for The Hobbit, they built to last.

hobbiton set visit

The “fake” tree where Frodo and Bilbo live | Melanie McMinn Photo

Visitors get a chance to look at over 30 different Hobbit holes, dance around the Party Tree, and even have a pint at the newly opened Green Dragon pub. The Green Dragon pub will also be available for events in case you need to plan the perfect Hobbit-themed wedding. Plenty of time is allowed to explore Shire gardens, bee skeps, and even see a Hobbit clothes line.

The big tree on top of the hill (picture, right) where Frodo and Bilbo live is kind of a fake. They bought an oak tree from a neighbor and cut it into bits. Then it was bolted together on site. All 200,000+ leaves were individually glued on and hand painted!

The Hobbiton guides will give you the inside scoop including how fences were aged with “lichen” made of a sprayed-on slurry of cardboard and yoghurt now overgrown by REAL lichen, why sheep were brought to film at a sheep farm (the Romneys of the working farm were too modern looking, so heritage Suffolks were filmed instead), and many other interesting tidbits.

Enthusiastic tourists are common, often arriving in full costume. Our guide told us of a seven-foot tall German “hobbit” and another who came as Chewbacca.

A visit to Hobbiton is a must-see for any Tolkien fan in New Zealand. Take a look at the Hobbity photos below and start planning your trip!

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hits theaters Dec. 14, 2012. 

All photos are property of Melanie McMinn. Please do not use without permission.

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An expat American, Melanie lives in the magical land of Middle Earth or, as the Muggles would put it, New Zealand. She writes about green, sustainable living at the Frugal Kiwi. Follow her on Twitter at @frugalkiwi

Melanie McMinn has written posts on Reel Life With Jane.


  1. can’t release pictures of this tour until the movie is in theaters… just to let you know so you don’t get in trouble… might want to remove them for the week and a half….

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