A trip to New Zealand wouldn’t be complete without doing something Lord of the Rings related. Whether it’s climbing Mount Doom or hunting down filming locations, you’re bound to come across some part of the movie that was filmed in the amazing countryside. The easiest place to picture yourself in middle earth is Hobbiton. After filming was finished for Lord of the Rings, the set was demolished and turned back into a farm. When it came time to film the Hobbit, the farm owner and Peter Jackson decided to make the set permanent and open it to the public after filming was done.
There is a crazy amount of detail built into every part. Besides the fact that none of the Hobbit holes have anything inside, you are immersed in a 360° Bag End experience. The only thing missing was the actors and crew or actual Hobbits depending on how hard you squeeze your imagination.
As awesome as it is to see, it really is a massive tourist trap. You’re rounded up and herded along like the sheep that roam the farm around the set. You don’t have any freedom to walk about the place and explore at your own pace. You have to book a time slot for a guided tour and you’re spaced out in groups of at least 40 people and taken around the set. You get a small amount of time at each location to try and frame a picture without a zillion other people in it. With it being such a popular attraction, I can’t really see them doing it any other way. I would be absolute chaos if everyone could roam free. If you’re quick and frame your shots right, you can cut out most of the other people.
The tour ends with a beer or cider at the Green Dragon that was pretty decent. Overall the tour took about 3 hours from start to finish. You’re only on the set for about an hour of that. The rest of the time is spend queueing up, the short bus ride to the set and the drink at the Green Dragon.