Who says Hobbiton is just a figment of fantastical imagination? Tolkien’s verdant Shire is given a ‘real’ lease of life – courtesy of the 12-acre Hobbiton attraction in the agricultural town of Matamata, which is just around two hours away from Auckland. As many of you might have guessed, this tourist spot is actually a preserved version of The Hobbit movie set, and as such boasts of over 44 Hobbit holes (or smials). But the ‘piece de resistance’ of the 12-acre site would surely be The Green Dragon Inn and Bar, a sylvan establishment that mimics its fictional counterpart and serves bucolic Hobbit cuisine and crafted-beer (with Shire-esque names like Girdley Fine Grain and the Oatbarton Brew).
And for those who are deep into Tolkien’s Middle Earth (and we do feel envious of them), the expansive site overlooking ‘Hobbiton’ is a 1,250-acre sheep farm with lush green outfields and grass that sort of invoke the idyllic nature of Shire itself. Lastly, the good part is – the incredible slice of Eriador can be enjoyed over the period of a weekend, since accommodations are available on the rustic farms surrounding the Matamata region.