Travellers tend to head to New Zealand for all sorts of reasons. The skiing, natural scenery and adventure all feature on the to-do lists of many travellers. This week’s trip report has a to-do list that is a little different. It seems despite it being the midst of winter, T-shirts and hobbit hunting are the go!
The Mission: The House of Rugby, Auckland – to get a tshirt. Hobbiton, Matamata – to get a tshirt and hunt a hobbit. All Blacks V Wallabies/Bledisloe Cup. Eden Park, Auckland – because we can.
When it comes to tourism, movies can be good not only for the studio that makes them, but often for countries as well. Many of us can remember the tourism boost Australia got from Crocodile Dundee. In fact some would argue it continues to drive new business even today, almost thirty years after it was made. Across the ditch, New Zealand is also enjoying a tourist boom, thanks to the more recent Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
When the first movie was made, the studio did a deal with the owners of land where it was shot to prevent them from gaining any commercial advantage from the film should it be a success. Any building done was with materials designed not to last, and the land holders were prohibited from any restoration of the scene. Come negotiations for the next few movies, it became obvious there was money to be made from the success, and so a new tourist hotspot was created. And it’s not cheap.
Some Hobbiton facts. It costs $75pp to get in and after the sticker shock of that, you are bussed in and out, no time to wander on your own and the tour lasts approx 2hrs BUT afterwards I thought it was worth the $75pp price and really enjoyed myself. I was really surprised by how much I liked this tour.
With the success of the movie still relatively recent, MataMata, the town nearest to Hobbiton, is yet to upgrade its infrastructure to modern standards. Faced with a choice of overpriced 80s era motel accommodation, our traveller decided to look elsewhere for something more recent, and of a higher standard.
We spent the night at a nearby B&B in Matamata, Chestnut Lane, and I can highly recommend this. Prompt email response from the hosts, lovely setting, separate accommodation, yummy breakfast and comfy stay. What else do you need when the only other alternatives are motel/cabins that look like they were last renovated in the 80s and could be the setting for a few low budget horror films.
After a wonderful visit to Hobbiton and its surrounds, our traveller headed back to Auckland the next day for a spot of rugby and a T shirt. Too soon the trip would be over, but at least the trip home was in comfort, with the flight featuring the newly refurbished Boeing 777 product. So why did they have to make a special beer for the filming of lord of the rings, and how is the new product on the refurbished aircraft, why not join the trip HERE.