The Hobbiton Movie Set is located near Matamata, in the Waikato region. When a film location scout came calling in 1998, Ian Alexander had no idea his sheep and cattle farm would soon become the site of one of New Zealand’s top tourist attractions. In fact, he hadn’t even heard of The Lord of the Rings, let alone that bloke Peter Jackson. But he gave them permission to construct a hobbit village on his property.
At the end of the shoot for the first films, the set was dismantled, and the Alexanders started conducting guided tours around the remaining hobbit holes.
In 2009, the set was rebuilt for The Hobbit trilogy. This time, it was done so on the condition it would be permanent. Every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world come to the farm, and are delighted to find The Shire really does exist.