Where was Hobbit filmed?

8 Minutes

Hobbit was filmed at New Zealand. Shot across several locations such as Matamata, South Island and Mount Ngauruhoe.

The Lord of the Rings series was undoubtedly popular; the series is widely touted as one of the best fantasy film series that Hollywood has produced, and enjoys a massive fanbase of die-hard fans and first-time watchers alike. Following its success, The Hobbit is a film series directed by the same man, Peter Jackson. The trilogy is based on the 1937 novel, The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, a prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, revolving around Bilbo Baggins and his adventure to get a share of the treasure guarded by a fearsome dragon named Smaug. Accompanied by 13 dwarves, Bilbo’s journey steadily progresses from being light-hearted to being sinister and risky. The novel tracks Bilbo Baggins’ growth from a shy, timid hobbit to a brave, wise, and adventurous hobbit who learns the values of trust and friendship while on his journey. The Hobbit was one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s earlier works, and its literary success encouraged Tolkien to work on a sequel – namely, The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien ensured that the story of The Hobbit was accommodated for in this sequel, and further editions showed more changes that integrated The Hobbit into the story; this includes appendices and footnotes that further tied these two stories together. 

Though The Hobbit is only one novel, the trilogy is based on the novel, along with appendices in The Return of the King, as well as writing new material and characters specifically for the film. Like the novel, the trilogy also features as a prequel to The Lord of the Rings films. Though this trilogy is not as successful as the original trilogy, The Hobbit films are still well-loved and well-received, becoming one of the highest -grossing film series of all time, and winning several awards. 

Like the original trilogy, The Hobbit films, too, were shot in New Zealand – indeed, New Zealand seems to represent Middle-Earth thanks to Peter Jackson’s vision and his directing skills. The rolling landscape and clear blue skies mimic the setting described in the novels, and many of the locations were reused for The Hobbit trilogy. 

The Hobbit Filming locations

Where is the hobbit house located in new zealand?


Widely considered to be the most famous and memorable place from both trilogies, Hobbiton is the first location for both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Hobbiton is located in the centre of the Shire, and is home to many illustrious and famed hobbits – including Bilbo Baggins, his nephew Frodo Baggins, and Frodo’s most trusted companion, Samwise Gamgee, among others. In reality, Peter Jackson used a bare stretch of farm-land in Matamata, New Zealand, as the set for Hobbiton. This included building the entire set – including the hobbit holes and the surrounding buildings – for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and were left standing for as long as it naturally stood. The sets were originally made out of polystyrene, so longevity wasn’t their utmost concern. However, fans flocked to New Zealand to see ‘Hobbiton’, and were willing to pay for tours. When it came to The Hobbit, Peter Jackson and his production team constructed Hobbiton once more, bringing in stonemasons and carpenters to build a fully-fledged, liveable town. Matamata now holds a Hobbiton that’s inhabitable. It is complete with an inn named the Green Dragon for guests to have some refreshments after touring the area. 

Pelorus River

The river is the setting of one of the more iconic sequences in the film The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (the second film in the trilogy) – the Dwarves escaping from the Elves in a set of barrels, a scene that was memorable for its cinematography, and one that the actors agreed was one of the most enjoyable to act. Bilbo and the dwarves are captured by wood elves, but manage to hatch an escape plan by hiding in giant barrels that are then pushed into a river to be collected down-stream. In the novel, this sequence is a few pages long, and the action is relatively light. In the film, however, this becomes an intense, epic action sequence, and is arguably one of the best action scenes shot by Peter Jackson. Jackson spoke about the effort that went into filming and developing this seven-minute action sequence. This included using around 98 hours of footage from aerial shots of the ride, using green-screen sets, live-action shoots, and using CGI to make the final scene. 

The Te Hoiere/Pelorus river is at the northern end of South Island, in the Marlborough region in New Zealand. The river flows from the Richmond Range into Pelorus Sound, and is a great place for camping, kayaking, or even for taking a swim, where the Pelorus River runs through a gorge at the Pelorus Bridge. Originally known as Te Hoeire by the local Maori, the river was renamed to the Pelorus river after the European explorer Lieutenant Chetwode of the HMS Pelorus in 1838 – he named both the river and the sound after his vessel. Notably, river rafting became much more popular after the river was used as a film location for the barrel rider scene in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

The Trollshaws

The Trollshaws were the upland woods that are west of Rivendell, populated by trolls that terrorized any unlucky trespassers. They were populated by Hill-trolls in the late Third Age, and three of these trolls waylaid Bilbo and his company of dwarves as they set out for the Lonely Mountain – a Dwarven city that was taken over by Smaug, and home to his treasure, the final destination for Bilbo Baggins and the dwarves that accompanied him. Unfortunately, the Lonely Mountain and other Dwarven cities were created using CGI and special effects, so there is no real-life equivalent for guests to visit. The three trolls that helped Bilbo Baggins and his friends – Tom, Bert, and William – were turned to stone, and these stone trolls are the same that Frodo Baggins and his company later encounter, on their way to Rivendell. 

The Trollshaws make an appearance in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first film in the trilogy, as the entire company first encounters these three trolls. In reality, Peter Jackson filmed these scenes in Piopio, sitting between the Waitomo Caves and the Taranaki coast. 

Twizel and Strath Taieri

The chase sequence between Bilbo (with his company of Dwarves) and the Wargs is another iconic sequence that was shot with footage from two locations, Twizel and Strath Taieri. The chase to Rivendell was a chase sequence in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, where Radagast (a Wizard who was concerned only with the welfare of plants and animals, so did not feature in the War of the Ring) leads Orcs away, while Gandalf leads Bilbo and the Dwarves to Rivendell, to meet the Elves.  This sequence was interesting because it’s not present in the novel – J.R.R Tolkien didn’t write this sequence in his works, either in The Hobbit or in the appendices of the Lord of the Rings novels. In an attempt to stretch one book (and material in the appendix) into three movies. Peter Jackson also worked with writers to create new material for the script, including this particular chase sequence. 

Twizel is a popular destination for fans of The Lord of the Rings because the location was used to film a part of the wargs chase, and a portion of the largest battle scene – the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. The town, Twizel, is the largest town in the Mackenzie District, in the Canterbury Region of the South Island of New Zealand. Apart from its history in Peter Jackson’s films, the town itself is quite popular as a tourist hub – the nearby lake, Lake Ruataniwha, is a great place for sailing, rowing, and water skiing, and the lake is the site for competitive sports, including the Maadi Cup for rowing. The Round Hill Ski Area is also a great place during the winter, for winter sports like skiing and snowboarding. Mostly, however, Twizel is a popular tourist hub for its night skies. The town has one of the cleanest, driest, and darkest skies, making it the perfect place for astronomers, space-lovers, and stargazers alike to check out the dazzling night sky. Twizel has invested in this ‘astro-tourism’ venture, building two additional observatories for star-gazing guests.

Strath Taeiri, too, was used for the chase sequence between the orcs and the dwarves. Strath Taeiri is a large glacial valley and river plateau in South Island, New Zealand. The landscape is stunning, complete with rock formations that were the perfect place for Peter Jackson and his crew to set a chase scene complete with natural obstacles for his actors, and making the sequence that much more exciting. You can fully experience this land’s beauty from the air, where the pattern formed by the large rock formations are visible, and make you realize just how vast the land really is.  

Rivendell to Misty Mountains

After Bilbo Baggins and the dwarves reach Rivendell, the company have to continue their journey to – and through – the Misty Mountains. The Misty Mountains is a fascinating place – not just because the company meets goblins, but it’s where Bilbo meets Gollum, and it’s where he acquires a magic ring (yes, the One Ring to Rule Them All). The trip itself is visually fantastic as always, thanks – in great part – to New Zealand’s incredible natural scenery. 

The site used to film this journey in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is Queenstown. If you so choose, you can undertake the journey that Bilbo and the Dwarves went through – be warned, it’s a four-hour hike that begins in Glenorchy, and goes through the Earnslaw Burn Track. However, the views of the valley and of the glacier are worth the gruelling hike. The area was also used to film the opening shots of the Misty Mountains, as well as the start of the journey to the mountains – the low-lying cloud cover over the mountain-scape provided the perfect setting to ‘Misty Mountains’, and it fit Tolkien’s description (and Peter Jackson’s vision) like no other. 


Filming for the Misty Mountains continued into Tūroa, and served as the setting for the Hidden Bay, the entrance to the Lonely Mountain in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. In reality, Tūroa is a ski field on the south western side of Mount Ruapehu, the highest mountain in the North Island of New Zealand, located in Tongariro National Park. Tūroa is a natural marvel, and is definitely worth the visit, even though the crew only stopped here for one day to film their scenes. Though they were here for one day, Peter Jackson and his crew took care not to disturb the natural fauna and flora to the best of their ability, and even built a scaffold to as to avoid crushing or disturbing any native wildlife while they shot the scene of the company of Dwarves (and Bilbo) entering the mountain.

Of course, the national park – and Tūroa – is open to the public, and the National Park also has Mount Ngauruhoe – or as The Lord of the Rings fans might call it, Mount Doom. Though the climb up Mount Ngauruhoe is quite exhausting, the day-long Tongariro Crossing is recommended for those who are relatively fit, and wish to enjoy the sights and sounds that the national park has to offer. This journey is about 19.4 kilometres (or 12.1 miles) long, and is the perfect place to get photos of the stunning alpine ridges. 

Though The Hobbit trilogy was released much later (the original trilogy came out from 2001 to 2003, while The Hobbit films came out from 2012 to 2014), the films were still able to garner appreciation from around the world, further cementing New Zealand as ‘Middle Earth’, and creating a new population of fans that have fallen in love with the prequel films, and sparked a resurgence of interest in Tolkien’s novels. The most inviting aspect is that of New Zealand’s sheer natural beauty, a sight that is sure to awe anyone, regardless of whether they’re fans of Peter Jackson’s films, or of Tolkien’s work. 

This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual. We take no liability for the accuracy of the information and cannot be held liable for any third-party claims or losses of any damages.

We’re still in beta. Our
mobile experience is still
under works.