Matamata A.K.A. the place for all you L.O.T.R. nerds

By Dakota Lum

Posted On October 3, 2018

From Waitomo we headed to the Bed & Breakfast we were staying at for the night, Southern Belle Orchard. As the name suggests, it is an orchard that primarily grows feijoa (A.K.A. pineapple guava). 

My parents are very into gardening and agriculture so they found it interesting to see the way they grow feijoa in New Zealand. Instead of letting it grow like a normal tree, they keep them very trim and actually train it to grow along a vineyard-type trellis. It seems that with this system the fruit is able to grow larger naturally. 

The family that owns the orchard, the Jongs, are very friendly and hospitable people. When we arrived, we were greeted by Frans, who gave us the rundown of everything then proceeded to give us a ton of suggestions for dinner. We dropped our belongings then drove into town to get some food. We decided on Italian so we ate at Osteria, and it was delicious.

The following morning we had breakfast at the B&B then headed down the road to Hobbiton. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my dad or uncle more excited for anything ever. 

We parked at the entrance then bummed around in the gift shop before our tour. At 10:10 we were shuffled onto a bus to begin the tour. We were driven down through the Alexander Farm and into the Hobbiton movie set. 

Our tour guide Rebecca was excellent. She was very friendly and knowledgeable, and clearly passionate about her work. 

As a film major, it was really fascinating for me to see how the movie set was built and how the editors were able to create this fantasy world from this real world farm. 

They originally built the set for the Lord of the Rings and after the completion of those movies they tore it down. Only to find out shortly after that they would film The Hobbit. So they rebuilt the set and decided to keep it up as a tourist attraction. And I’m sure glad they did.

Only one of the Hobbit holes, Bilbo’s house, is completely built out into the hillside. The rest of them are just facades. Unfortunately though, we weren’t allowed to enter Bilbo’s house, you can only view it from the outside.

However, after the tour through Hobbiton we were able to actually go inside the Green Dragon for a beer. But this Green Dragon is the second one they built. The original was actually burned down in the movie. So when you go back and watch that scene, now you know that’s a real fire. 

These are just a few of the fascinating things we learned on the tour. If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, or even just want to see a movie set like me, I highly recommend making the time to see Hobbiton when you’re in New Zealand.