New Zealand Road Trip: Geeking Out in Hobbiton


Last Updated on September 23, 2019 by Amy

While David and I aren’t HUGE Lord of the Rings fans, it’s hard to visit New Zealand without stopping for at least one iconic LOTR tour. And we are so glad we did – both the Weta Studios and Hobbiton were amazing!

Weta Studios

After taking the ferry from the South Island, we stayed a night in Wellington and then we went over to Weta Studios.  

I’ve mentioned them several times in the blog as they do the exhibits for the Te Papa museum and the Omaka Aviation Heritage Museum.  They have the Weta Cave, which is a gift shop and 25-minute introductory movie (both free), and then they do the workshop tours.  

We did the tour, which was REALLY amazing.  We don’t have any photos to share (IP rights don’t permit photography on the tour), but we saw tons of props from their movies (Lord of the Rings, Narnia, King Kong, District 9, etc).  Our guide was really really knowledgable (he’s actually a contractor in the paint department) about all kinds of stuff, and gave us plenty of interesting tidbits – for example, Viggo Mortensen was the only actor in Lord of the Rings to use a real sword and the chain mail in the movies is plastic rings made in China and hand-assembled in the studio.

Driving up the North Island

Monday the 13th was our longest day driving in our entire 5-week road trip, with about 5 hours from Wellington to Oruanui.  Once again, we had planned on camping but the wind and rain changed our minds, and we booked an Airbnb last minute.  This one was also on a farm (sheep and cows) but also a clay target shooting range, named Clay Break.  The range is just off their back porch, with bar tables and a keg, it’s a pretty awesome stag night idea.

Blue Springs

The next morning we got up and started our drive to Matamata.  We stopped at a beautiful and short walk to the Blue Springs.

A little shag bird.
While the river was extremely clear, this spot was deep enough to truly turn blue.
The river supplies 70% of New Zealand’s bottled drinking water.

Evening Banquet Dinner at Hobbiton

Making our way into Matamata we checked into our Airbnb and then took off for Hobbiton, the Shire set from the Lord of the Rings movies (all 6 of them).  We had booked an Evening Banquet Dinner, which included a tour of the site and a full family-style dinner.  I’m going to let the photos speak for themselves; it was magical!

I will say though, the Shire gets a lot more screen time in the Hobbit trilogy than the LOTR trilogy.  I hadn’t seen any of the Hobbit movies, so that’s on our list to watch!

Watch the Video:  NZ Road Trip Part 6: In the Land of Hobbits

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  1. Road trips is one of the best adventure travel in the world. Must of couple and family member going to road trip. There you share NZ road trip I never going to there I have no Idea about NZ after I read your post I know many think about the Nz Thanks for sharing your information.

  2. We left New Zealand just two weeks ago and also had a great time there. Beatiful country and really nice people. BTW: in which marina have you left your cat? We are planning to visit New Zealand again, but this time by boat 🙂

    1. We left Starry Horizons on the hard in Norsand. There are several good options for marinas either here or in Opua.

      1. Thanks for the info. When we visited Whangarei we took a look at the Norsand yard. Seems to be a reasonable place to overhaul a yacht ;). Enjoy the next epoche of your travels and thanks for all the valuable and enjoyable posts and videos. We will follow soon on a “parttime basis”. We will see the NEW 47 in April and then decide between the NEW or the Helia. Hopefully we get a Helia from the factory with some improvements you sugestet to FP :). See you!

  3. Thanks for the story. We love following your adventure. We steeling many ideas for when we get there. Super cool photos too. The close up of the pool is postcard stuff. Well done. Cheers Yacht Jadean Gang.

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