When Peter Jackson spotted the Alexander Farm during an aerial search of the North Island for the best possible locations to film The Lord of The Rings film trilogy, he immediately thought it was perfect for Hobbiton.
Site construction started in March 1999 and filming commenced in December that year, continuing for three months. The set was rebuilt in 2011 for the feature films “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”, and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again”.
It is now a permanent attraction complete with hobbit holes, gardens, bridge, Mill and The Green Dragon Inn.
Matamata, home of the Hobbiton Movie Set, is a small agricultural town in the heart of the Waikato region, nestled at the base of the Kaimai ranges. It is about a 2 hour drive from Auckland and you can also find other nearby places and estimated travel times below:
From Hamilton: A 45-minute drive.
From Rotorua: A 45-minute drive.
From Taupo: One-and-a-half-hour drive.
From Tauranga: 45-minute drive.
From Waitomo: One-and-a-half-hour drive.
Thirty-seven hobbit holes were originally created with untreated timber, ply and polystyrene. After the 2011 rebuild, there are now 44 unique hobbit holes, the Green Dragon Pub, Mill, double arched bridge and the famous Party Tree.
The Alexanders moved to the 1250 acre (500 hectare) property, in 1978. Since then it has been farmed as a traditional New Zealand sheep and beef farm. It is still farmed the same today and is run by the brothers and their father.
The property runs approximately 13,000 sheep and 300 Angus beef cattle hence the major sources of income are mutton, wool and beef. The brothers shear all the sheep on the property themselves, approximately every eight months. [source]