One of the main things that I wanted to visit in New Zealand is some part of the Lord of the Rings movie locations. Most of them are on the south island, but the Shire is located about 2 hours south of Auckland at the Hobbiton Movie Set. The original set for the Lord of the Rings series was temporarily installed by agreement with the land owner, so it was demolished after the movies. After the land owners saw the success of the first trilogy, they agreed to have Peter Jackson back for filming if they made permanent structures and left them when they were done. This is now a major tourist destination with guided tours through the movie sets. This location was also only used for outdoor shots so the interiors of the hobbit holes are mostly empty and not very deep.
The site was chosen by helicopter for the tall pine tree next to the lake. We found out that this particular tree was slated to be cut down for fire wood in a few weeks from when the site crew found the site, which saved the tree and this beautiful location. The Green Dragon Inn is also located next to the lake and has a full interior. We had a drink in the Inn and lunch in an outdoor tent which was very nice.
The site as a whole was very peaceful. It is nice that we arrived fairly early (before 10am) so the site was not very crowded. There were other tour groups going through, but I could take most of my pictures without people in them.
I would highly recommend this tour. It was a very nice place to visit. Now I need to watch the movies again.