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Middle-earth Movie Magic

If the Shire is at the heart of Middle-earth, then the Hamilton & Waikato region is at the heart of the Shire. When scouting around for settings for his epic three movie adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Kiwi director Peter Jackson found just what he was looking for in the green rolling paddocks, rugged limestone outcrops and underground caverns of the Hamilton & Waikato region.

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Hobbiton Movie Set

The bucolic setting for the Shire, home of the hobbits, including Bag End and the Party tree standing majestically over the lake, was right here nestled on a sheep farm near the Waikato town of Matamata, just waiting for Sir Peter Jacksons magical director’s touch.

Take a tour of Hobbiton

Visitors to Hobbiton Movie Set today can imagine Hobbits going about their everyday business, as the set was rebuilt in 2011 for the filming of the story that started it all, The Hobbit, and remains as a permanent set today.

Gain a first-hand insight into filming and the way things looked when shooting was in full swing and get up close with over 17 hobbit holes from the film including Bag End, Samwise Gamtree's house and more. Read More.

Other filming locations

Other filming locations in the Hamilton & Waikato region include Weathertop Hollow from The Lord of The Rings trilogy, filmed near Port Waikato, Trollshaw forest filmed on rugged farm land near Piopio in Waitomo, and underground sounds recorded in the famous Waitomo Caves.

Read all about these filming locations and more Middle-earth like experience you can have in the Hamilton & Waikato region by navigating through the articles below.

Key Locations

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    Port Waikato

    Where the mighty Waikato River meets the ocean, Port Waikato is a surfing hot spot in the summer months. Journey south along the coast to the Nikau caves and past the limestone outcrops in the surrounding hills which were the setting for Weathertop Hollow in The Lord of The Rings.
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    The rugged and windswept west coast landscape gives way to long stretching black sand surf beaches and world famous left hand breaks in the beachside township of Raglan. Enjoy the sun sand and plethora of water sports and discover the growing arts and creative community.
  • Balloons over Waikato River, Hamilton, NZ.jpg


    The region’s main city provided accommodation and entertainment for cast and crew during peak filming times and has since become home to the microbrewery, Good George, which supplies Hobbiton Movie Set’s exclusive brews – served straight from the barrel, only at The Green Dragon.
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    Experience NZ native forest as it would have been hundreds of years ago. Explore walking trails that evoke landscapes reminiscent of fairy-tales, myths and legends and discover native wildlife and ancient creatures such as the rare Tuatara and Kiwi as they flourish in their predator free environment.
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    The underground playground of the Waitomo Caves is home to magical creatures and heart pumping adventures. Many locals opened their doors to accommodate cast and crew during filming, and cave sounds for the movies were recorded in several of the areas underground caverns.
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    The Denize Bluffs, near Piopio in the Waikato region, were used for numerous scenes in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Visitors can now take a tour with Hairy Feet Waitomo taking in the sites of filming locations including Trollshaw Forest, and more.
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    Visit the friendly country town of Matamata, which played host to many of the cast and crew during filming. Dine at Workman’s café where cast and crew often ate after a long day of filming & take a picture next to the iconic Matamata i-SITE Gatehouse.
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    Hobbiton Movie Set

    In the heart of Hamilton & Waikato’s countryside, quietly hidden behind green rolling hills, is a place unlike any other – Hobbiton Movie Set; the permanent set created for the The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies.
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    About this region

    If the Shire is at the heart of Middle-earth, then the Hamilton & Waikato region is at the heart of the Shire. The region is home to the iconic Hobbiton Movie Set, plus many more filming locations from The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies.
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    How to get here

    Based in the centre of the North Island of New Zealand, the Hamilton & Waikato region is easily accessed and within close range of most other visitor hot spots in the North Island.
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