Last Christmas, during our travel around North Island, we made a stop near small town of Matamata. There is not much around, mostly farmlands, and it probably used to be one of those little quiet towns until it became the middle of Middle-Earth. The Shire with its setting known as the Hobbiton.
Yes, we visited an incredibly touristy place where you pay heaps of money for permission to walk and stare around. But we thought, when we are here, in NZ, we should give it a try.
When we bought the tickets, our tour began with about 20 minutes drive on board of bus that took us through farmland to the Shire. In the meanwhile, our guide gave as short introduction about filming beginnings and about dealing with farmland owner family.
From a car park we set off along the path to Hobbiton accompanied by our guide. Shortly, we stopped at little veggie garden where different kind of vegetable and herbs were grown. Further, as we slowly walked to up to the hill, we were passing Hobbit holes with their colourful round doorways and perfect tiny gardens. One would expect that when you open the door there would be a hobbit inside eating one of their six meals per day. Nope. Unfortunately, it was nothing inside except a few planks and dust.
After a while, we reached a hole with a deep green coloured door - the Beg End. The Bilbo’s home located under shade of great oak tree. The story of this tree was quite interesting as it was brought into Hobbiton in chopped pieces and bolted together again. Our guide told us, that when they wired all artificial leaves, the director didn’t like the shade of green colour. So, all of them had to be removed and recoloured. Crazy!
As we walked down towards the lake, the smoke raised from tiny chimneys and spread above the hill. We passed a watermill with a small jetty where a hobbit’s boat was parked, crossed over the bridge and reached the Green Dragon Inn.
I really liked the interior of that place as the most of it was built from timber and stone. It warm and cosy with the running fireplace and leather arm chairs. As we went on the late afternoon tour, the place wasn’t too much busy which was good. Otherwise, you have to try to ignore the crowds to enjoy the atmosphere and a pint of craft beer.
So, in my opinion, it wasn’t a bad experience. In Jakub’s opinion, it was a waste of money. I’m glad that we went there, but the true is that, unless you are really a fan of everything around The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, it’s probably not worth the money – and there are other places that are much more spectacular.