The Hobbiton movie set not only offers tours but a chance to indulge for a night in a true Hobbit feast at the Green Dragon!
Our adventure in Hobbiton started with a beautiful drive through the rolling hills of the New Zealand farm country. Read here about our Farmstay adventure.
The Hobbiton movie set is the location used for most of the exterior Hobbiton shots from Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie trilogies. The original set was dismantled, but the set for The Hobbit was made to last, from durable materials, and we are so glad they made that decision! There are tours throughout the day, but on some evenings they offer an extra-special tour that includes a Hobbit-worthy feast at The Green Dragon, the inn from the movies!
Our tour didn’t begin until 4:45 pm, but we arrived early so we could let the kids run around and play before the big event. There is a little cafe there that is good for lunch, along with a gift shop where they sell tons of memorabilia from the movies. Our favorite: the locally-brewed ginger beer!
As it got closer to our 4:45 tour departure we queued up, eager for it to begin. It was fun to talk to everyone around us. For most this was their first time visiting, but some had been multiple time! There was a couple there who planned their whole honeymoon around Lord of the Rings; as we pulled into Hobbiton she became overcome with emotion. Others were huge fans adorned with tattoos with famous images and quotes from the movies. There was only one person in our whole company that had never seen the movies or read the books. We were among the majority who, like us, enjoy the books and movies but were not overly obsessed.
To be honest, we were there for the food. Hobbits are known for having a passion for food, and that’s something we share!
When the bus dropped us off, we couldn’t see anything yet. There were many trees and we knew we had a short walk before we would enter Hobbiton. The excitement built as we began our walk – the stone-walled paths looked familiar. Then all at once, we entered the roads of Hobbiton!
The tour guides were knowledgeable and entertaining. They gave behind-the-scenes details that made the experience all the more fun. We walked from colorful door to colorful door and enjoyed seeing the occupation and hobbies of each hobbit hole’s owner. Our favorite part was the views: the gardens, the rolling hills, and the overall peace and quiet that can only be found in the Shire. It is beautiful.
We are serious about our food. In fact, we changed our whole New Zealand itinerary just to indulge in the feast at The Green Dragon! It isn’t available every night, and we were not going to travel all that way and miss out on such an amazing meal.
After crossing over the bridge and by the watermill, we entered the enchanting Green Dragon, warmed ourselves by the fire and sipped some delicious South Farthing ginger beer. You might be imagining a regular ginger ale, but it’s so much better: you actually taste the ginger like when you eat a good ginger snap. It’s refreshing, delicious and leaves a warm tingle in your mouth and throat.
Tip: You can purchase this special brew at the gift shop! You won’t find another ginger beer like it in all of New Zealand – believe us, we looked!
“What about second breakfast…”
This was only the beginning. The mouth-watering smells from the kitchen hid behind curtains leading to the dining room. Our kids were chosen to pull the curtains back for the big reveal! Royce showed courage as he bravely stood in front of all the strangers. Jeannie was precious – she diligently went to the front to hold the curtain, but she got nervous under the pressure from such a large crowd and stood still as Royce flung open his curtain. Together we opened the other curtain and entered the banquet hall!
Wooden tables were laden with beautiful displays of Hobbit food. We all gathered around the tables and waited for further instruction. After having each dish briefly explained we dug in! We were so excited we even forgot to take pictures! Luckily, we took a few to remember how beautiful (and mouth-watering) it all was. The flavors all went well together and it was fun to sit and chat with people from all over the world. Jeannie made a friend from Australia. We will have to see if he takes her up on her invitation to come to visit her in Japan!
Some acquaintances had told us to save room for dessert. We were glad they warned us, because it would have been easy to keep eating until the tables were empty! Our mind was blown yet again when dessert came out. I mean really, why have we never heard of pavlova?
The Green Dragon Pavlova
Pavlova is a popular dish in both New Zealand and Australia. They argue back and forth about who invented this remarkable dessert, but to me it doesn’t matter, I’m just grateful it was served at Hobbiton that night! It is a light meringue with a crisp outer shell, topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit. They had some amazing butterscotch sauce that we poured over it…I ate the sauce with a spoon!
We searched the rest of our time in New Zealand for a comparable pavlova. The only one that came close was on our cruise through Milford Sound, yet it still fell short. We wanted an equally-delicious pavlova so much that we reached out to The Shire’s Rest at the end of our trip to try and get some more. It turns out that the food and drink team for The Green Dragon doesn’t prepare the food for The Shire’s Rest, but customer service forwarded our request. We didn’t get a reply, but we drove back to Hobbiton anyway, hoping something would work out.
Green Dragon for the win!
And something did! Adrian, a super helpful team member, called the Green Dragon and told them that some customers who had been there the week before were back, and they had traveled all that way just to try their delicious pavlova. We listened to one side of the conversation, and got more and more excited. “Oh, really? Right now? Okay, 15-20 minutes?”
Adrian turned to me and said, “The Green Dragon is bringing you a pavlova right now. They’ll be here in about 20 minutes, it’s free of charge, and they just ask that you write a positive review.” Um, YAASSSS! One of the chefs brought us a box all the way from the Green Dragon. It wasn’t just a slice, it was an entire pavlova! It was huge and we were in heaven again! They instructed us to top it with whipped cream and fresh fruit, so that’s exactly what we did when we got home for the night!
Hobbiton at Night
The sun had gone down by the time we were all done eating. It was a beautifully clear night, unlike the downpour the night before! They handed out lanterns and we began our walk back through Hobbiton. We stopped by the party tree (the only artificial tree, lovingly crafted, with each leaf attached by wire) and turned off the lights. They told us a few more funny stories about filming, and then we all just enjoyed the stars and the night sky.
Hobbiton was such a delight. It can be appreciated even if you aren’t a huge fan of the movies or the books. It was especially wonderful seeing it at night and being able to enjoy the banquet. The food was delicious, the company was fun and the memories will never be forgotten!
If you’re looking for more to do in the area check out this post on the Maori culture.