Middle-earth Movie Magic

If the Shire is at the heart of Middle-earth, then the Waikato 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 Waikato region.

Share your Middle-earth adventures with us #MightyWaikato

Hobbiton, Hobbiton Movie Set, Waikato, New Zealand

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 Gamgee's house and more. More info.

Other filming locations

Other filming locations in the 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 Waikato region by navigating through the articles below.

Key Locations

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  • Port Waikato, North Waikato, NZ

    Port Waikato

  • Hamilton

  • Lost World, Waitomo Adventures, Waitomo, New Zealand


  • Hairy Feet Waitomo, NZ


  • Matamata i-SITE Gatehouse, Matamata, NZ


  • Bag End, Hobbiton Movie Set, Matamata, NZ

    Hobbiton Movie Set