International Hobbit Day celebrates at first light

To celebrate International Hobbit Day on 22 September, Hobbiton Movie Set is about to host a world-first event.

To celebrate International Hobbit Day on 22 September, Hobbiton Movie Set is about to host a world-first event. 

Happy hobbits are set to party celebrating International Hobbit Day with a world-first event at New Zealand’s Hobbiton Movie Set.

International Hobbit Day also happens to mark the birthdays of both Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, Thursday (22.09.16). The famous Hobbiton Movie Set – in the beautiful Matamata Waikato countryside – will awake to the inaugural sunrise tour and breakfast birthday banquet in the hobbit village. 

The birthday party will launch at 5.30am so guests can look forward to an exceptional other-worldly experience in the 12-acre site. Costumes are welcome and each early morning party-goer will get to carry a lantern as they follow their guide along illuminated paths while listening to fascinating stories of how the Hobbiton Movie Set was created and the making of the movies.

For those not on the spot on International Hobbit Day keep an eye on the 100% Pure New Zealand Facebook Page for updates from Bag End Road as first light reveals the green of The Shire and the surrounding Matamata hills, one of the first places in the world to see the light of a new day. 

Meanwhile, down at the bottom of the hill in the famed Green Dragon Inn, the fires will be burning to welcome party goers for the breakfast banquet feast. It’s the first time the Inn has had such an early opening and, in true hobbit tradition, there will be copious servings of delicious hobbit fare, with second helpings guaranteed – even thirds for the Peregrin Tooks of the party. 

There will be music and dancing in the dining room, and – in pride of place – the proverbial birthday cake for Frodo and Bilbo styled on the cake seen in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. 

To conclude this special event, the Hobbiton guide will lead the party back along the wandering paths of The Shire, across the bridge, past the mill and under the Party Tree.

For late risers, there’s one final option for International Hobbit Day - an Evening Banquet Dinner Tour that finishes with a moonlight walk through the Hobbiton Movie Set to witness the village as it gets ready for bed. Think smoke drifting from hobbit chimneys, music in the air and lanterns glowing against the darkness.

Hobbiton Movie Set fact file

  • Film set area: covers approximately 12 acres
  • Hobbit houses: 44 Hobbit Holes
  • Party tree: 70 - 80 metres tall
  • Construction: 70 set builders
  • Catering: During production, three meals were served daily to cast and crew, plus snacks on demand for 600+ people
  • Gardens: 2.3km of hedges; 30 - 200 plants around each Hobbit house
  • Ground staff: 7 - 8 gardeners during height of season, 5 in winter
  • Traditional ales, cider and non-alcoholic ginger beer, all brewed exclusively for Hobbiton, are served from barrels behind the bar at the Green Dragon Inn.
  • The set is a two-hour drive from Auckland and within easy access of other North Island tourist destinations including Rotorua, Waitomo, Tauranga and the city of Hamilton.

Waikato, North Island, New Zealand

Flanking the mighty Waikato River which flows through the heart of the North Island, the prosperous Waikato farming region has been a tourism destination with an international reputation for at least 125 years. First it was the underground lights of glowworm caverns in the famed Waitomo Caves, now it’s the home of hobbits as featured in The Lord of the Rings andThe Hobbit film trilogies. 

But long before Europeans were on the trail through the Waikato, Māori were the people of this historically and culturally significant land.  Many Waikato Māori trace their ancestry back 800 years to the arrival of the Tainui waka (canoe). This area was well populated with Māori pa (fortified villages), and an important centre of early Māori commerce.