Even though I haven't even seen the Hobbit movies (I saw the Lord of the Rings trilogy way back when) Hobbiton was a must see for me in New Zealand. I went as part of a tour that also took me to Rotorua and the Waitomo caves. I talk about those places in a different post. here are some things to know before visiting Hobbiton:
1. It is about a 2 hour drive from Auckland. If you are brave enough to drive on the other side of the road, you could rent a car and go there yourself. Although to be honest there is not really that much to see between Auckland and Matamata, the closest town to Hobbiton. Also, there is not much in Matamata so no need to spend much time in the town.
2. When you get there, you must purchase a ticket for the tour and you MUST go on a tour. They do not let you in to wander around by yourself. So if you had dreams of spending your entire day in Hobbiton, sorry to burst your bubble. The tour lasts about an hour.
3. It really is just a movie set. Everything is perfectly arranged to look beautiful and real on film.
4. It looks exactly like the movies! The landscapes with the rolling hills and sheep everywhere are real. No movie magic needed to make New Zealand look beautiful.
5. The tour ends in a bar called The Green Dragon. The tour ticket included a free beer, cider, or ginger beer. You can hang out and enjoy the scenery or in my case down a cider and rush off to the next place.
Final thoughts: If you are at all interested in going, go. Everyone who was on my tour enjoyed it. Even the people who had never seen the movies enjoyed it. As usual, I would suggest going there on a tour so you can maximize your relaxation and sightseeing. Who wants to go?! Tell me in the comments!