Attention 'Lord of the Rings' Fans, Immerse Yourself in Middle-earth and Travel to Hobbiton (EXCLUSIVE)

Gabrielle Bernardini - Author

Sep. 12 2022, Updated 3:18 p.m. ET

Hobbiton 'Lord of the Rings'
Source: Hobbiton/Twitter

Transport yourself into the magical realm of Middle-earth.

The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies brought J. R. R. Tolkien's book series to the big screen. Though there are a lot of CGI sequences throughout the films that helped to create the fantasy world of Middle-earth, production teams also utilized the New Zealand landscape to craft the intricate set designs.

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"This is the Middle-earth I had always pictured. How can New Zealand not bewitch anyone who visits?” Sir Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf, said in a press release after filming on location for the iconic movies.

Hobbiton movie set
Source: Hobbiton
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Distractify spoke with Russell Alexander, the owner of Hobbiton, about the impact the films have had on the tourism industry in New Zealand over the years, as well as about what you can expect should you be lucky enough to plan a journey of your own one day.

Whether you want to take pictures in front of Bilbo Baggins' house or tour the local Hobbit pub and have a pint, you can escape into the fantasy world and pretend that you too are living in Middle-earth. But be careful of lurking Orcs or goblins that may venture into The Shire. Keep reading to find out more about how you can visit Hobbiton in New Zealand.

Yes, you too can visit Hobbiton in New Zealand.

Escape to the lush pastures of The Shire, located in the heart of the Hamilton-Waikato region, which was built for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies and rebuilt as a tourist attraction in 2011. You can venture around the 44 Hobbit holes and see the mill, the double-arched bridge, and the Party Tree on a guided two-hour tour. But don't forget to stop into the Green Dragon Inn for a drink.

There are also breakfast and dinner banquet tours available where you can eat ... well, like a Hobbit.

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Hobbiton movie set
Source: Hobbiton

The cost of a standard tour around the 12-acre property is $89 for adults over 17 years old, $44 for ages 9 to 16 years old, and free for children under 8 years old.

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“I’ll never forget that feeling of coming to Hobbiton the first time, there's so many feelings of nostalgia and history. You can just look and see there’s no having to finish the illusion, it’s just here," Elijah Wood said in a press release. "The experience of making Rings will always be one of the greatest experiences of my life, the connection to the country, New Zealand.”

Source: Hobbiton
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Hobbiton owner Russell Alexander told 'Distractify' that the 'Lord of the Rings' franchise has had a "massive effect" on New Zealand tourism.

It probably comes as no surprise that in the years since the first Lord of the Rings movie came out, many fans have moved New Zealand to the top of their must-visit lists. Russell told Distractify that the franchise "increased awareness of New Zealand and its landscapes and scenery." So much so, in fact, that in the first wave of increased tourism, approximately one out of every eight New Zealand tourists visited Hobbiton!

Although LOTR fans will probably enjoy a visit to Hobbiton more than anyone else (except for maybe an actual Hobbit), the tourist destination has a lot to offer to everyone. "Visiting Hobbiton gives some context to another industry and what is involved in making a major movie, not just LOTR," Russel said. "Obviously, visiting Hobbiton is a visit to an iconic location in itself but it gives a taste of quintessential NZ, the rural lifestyle, landscapes, and stories behind the effects of LOTR and The Hobbit on NZ tourism and beyond."

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'Lord of the Rings'
Source: New Line Cinema

Relive where director Peter Jackson and the cast shot scenes for Mordor and Mount Doom.

If you're not too afraid of running into Orcs or the Dark Lord Sauron, venture into Tongariro National Park. The rocky slopes were used as a backdrop for Mordor and Mount Doom.

According to a press release, Mount Ngauruhoe was digitally enhanced to create the fiery look of Mount Doom.

Additional locations in the Ruapehu District include Iwikau Village at Whakapapa, which was the location for Emyn Muil, the range of hills where Frodo and Sam captured Gollum.

Another recognizable filming location is Mangawhero Falls, which appears in the Twin Towers film as the camp in Ithilien where Frodo, Sam, and Gollum stop on their way to Mordor, before Sam and Gollum get into a fight and are captured by the Gondorian Rangers of Ithilien.

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