If you’re looking for the best way to get from Auckland to Hobbiton (with an additional stop at the Waitomo Caves), we’ve got just the ticket!
We recently joined a small-group tour from Auckland to Hobbiton and the Waitomo Caves. Having had such an amazing time, we couldn’t wait to share our experience with you all.
The Waitomo Caves and Hobbiton are undoubtedly two of the most popular tourist attractions on the North Island.
Travellers and locals alike flock to these two destinations – both on road trips and on whistle-stop tours from Auckland.
If either one of these amazing attractions is on your New Zealand bucket list (and they should be), this article is for you!
In it, we’ll cover what we believe to be the best way to travel from Auckland to Hobbiton (and Waitomo) and will give you a rundown of what to expect at each location.
The Best Way to Travel From Auckland To Hobbiton
Though it’s possible to drive yourself from Auckland to Hobbiton, we decided to join a tour.
Why would you join a tour when you’re based in Auckland and have easy access to your own car?
Simply put – there has never been a better time to join a tour from Auckland to Hobbiton (and Waitomo) – and if you’re able to sit back and relax, whilst someone else takes care of everything, why would you not?!
Relax in Style (& Learn Something New) on an Auckland to Hobbiton Tour
A tour is the most comfortable way to travel across Aotearoa! Whether you’re travelling solo or is a large group – it could well be the best option for you.
Cheeky Kiwi make an effort to book their Auckland to Hobbiton tours with more space than is required – this ensures everyone has plenty of room to move about during the journey.
They also include a number of worthwhile stops (that also allow you to have a good stretch), ensuring the comfort really is king.
When joining a tour, you’ll also benefit from the wealth of knowledge tucked safely away in your guide’s head. Though I’m a born-and-bred Aucklander, I was surprised by how much I learned from our guide’s commentary, both in the City of Sails and throughout the tour!
When joining this particular tour, you can expect the following:
- An experienced, knowledgable driver-guide
- A range of pick-up/drop-off locations
- A comfortable minibus, complete with
- air conditioning
- mobile charging points
- and wifi (upon request, at an additional charge)
- Snacks and refreshments throughout the journey
- Additional stops to help you really make the most of your trip
- Tickets to both Hobbiton and the Waitomo Caves (complete with guided tours in each location.)
We really enjoyed letting someone else take the wheel (metaphorically and literally) whilst we took in Waikato’s stunning scenery and made lots of new friends.
We wholeheartedly suggest you consider doing the same!
What to Expect When Visiting Hobbiton
Being our first visit to Hobbiton, we were a little unsure of what to expect.
We’d both seen most of the films (but never read the books) so certainly wouldn’t be considered super-fans. To even call us fans of Lord of the Rings would be a stretch.
Honestly though, we were absolutely blown away by Hobbiton!
Having now visited, it’s clear to us why people choose to return time and time again.
A Guided Tour Through a Real-Life Hobbiton
Upon arriving at Hobbiton your guide will organise your tickets (which are included in the price of your tour) and hand you over to your official Hobbity-expert.
The tour itself takes approximately two hours and a half hours. This includes the gorgeous ride in and out of the farm (where Hobbiton is located), the walking tour and a refreshing drink at the Green Dragon Inn.
Throughout your tour, your professional guide will share details relating to the filming of the famous films. From the unbelievable manner in which the farm was initially found by Sir Peter Jackson to the incredible lengths they went to to turn this working Matamata farm into Hobbiton – everything is covered.
Whether you’re a fan of the films/books, or not, we guarantee you will enjoy your visit to Hobbiton!
The attention to detail really is something else.
From beautiful blooms in the springtime to harvest-ready pumpkins in winter, the team at Hobbiton do an amazing job of keeping the magic alive throughout the year. It’s fair to say, having spoken to countless visitors and tour guides, that no two trips are ever the same.
What to Expect When Visiting the Waitomo Caves
Begrudgingly farewelling the magic of Hobbiton you’ll continue on your journey – smiles remain all around though as your crew heads for the Waitomo Caves (via a few fun surprise stops).
Venture Underground to See the Glow Worms
A perpetual favourite in New Zealand, you’re almost not a Kiwi if you’ve not seen glow worms before – of course we’re exaggerating (but only a little).
Again, joining a guided tour, you’ll make your way deep underground into the infamous Waitomo cave system.
Working your way down metal staircases and runways, you’ll explore this incredible cave system, learning the history and cultural significance to local iwi.
In fact, many of the local guides have worked at the caves long-term and have blood links to the original caving team – making their storytelling all the more personal.
Though the caves are beautiful and unique, for us, there was one real highlight of our time underground at the Waitomo Caves and that was undoubtedly the boat trip along the underground river.
Gliding in silence under a blanket of neon blue glow worms really is unlike anything else. The sense of calm underground – silence all around you, aside from constantly dripping water – is absolutely magic.
It has to be experienced to be believed!
Did you know? Cameras are not allowed underground at the Waitomo Caves. They will, however, take a photo for you upon arrival (which they then superimpose onto a range of fun local backgrounds.). Instead of worrying about snaps, it’s almost refreshing to sit back, relax and really take it all in. If photos are really important to you, you may like to consider visiting an operator that will allow glow worm photography.
The Best Way to Get From Auckland to Hobbiton & the Waitomo Caves
Though we’re generally independent travellers, we have absolutely been converted to the power of small-group tours.
Not only do they give you a chance to make new friends but they can be an economical and convenient way to travel.
You’ll travel with a guide who’s ready to share their knowledge and experience, visiting magic spots that you’d never have noticed were you driving yourself.
And that’s not even mentioning that, of course, you’ll visit Hobbiton and Waitomo – two family-friendly North Island favourites!
We were invited on this tour as Cheeky Kiwi couldn’t believe that, as Kiwi travel writers, we’d never experienced Hobbiton for ourselves! There was no expectation to create any content – we just wanted to share our experience with you all. All thoughts are our own.