According to our Weird Holidays and Observances calendar, September 22 is Hobbit Day, which is a part of the larger Tolkien Week celebration. Hobbit Day celebrates both Bilbo’s and Frodo’s mutual birthday. (For those who are fans of the Lord of the Rings series.)
I have a confession. I never read any of the LOTR books. They’re on my list to try again though.
I tried to tackle them when I was ten years old like so many of my friends were doing. Successfully I might add. They all raved and ranted about how engrossing the series was. I couldn’t get past more than a few pages.
However, I loved the movies. The first one sucked me in like a movie hadn’t done in a decade or two. I was smitten and enchanted.
That’s why Hobbiton is high on my list of places to jaunt to if we ever make it to New Zealand.
The Hobbiton Movie Set
Hobbiton is located near Matamata in the North Island of New Zealand. It’s the actual movie set used during the filming of the Lord of the Rings movies.
Guided tours are offered of this Middle-Earth recreation. Sites to see include Hobbit Holes, the Green Dragon Inn, the Mill and the double arched bridge.
You can get food and drink in the Green Dragon Inn and the Shire’s Rest Cafe. There’s also a Shire Store for souvenirs.
But Are There Any Ghosts?
Of course the big question my inquiring mind always wants to know about any place that piques my interest: is it haunted?
I have not uncovered any stories of paranormal activity concerning Hobbiton.
However, I did come across a very exciting spooky stay not far from the Lord of the Rings movie set turned tourist attraction: the Waitomo Caves Hotel.
But before we get to the hotel’s ghosts, let’s talk about some mythical beings from Maori legends that also may still be in the area.
The Taniwha and Patupaiarehe
Paranormal New Zealand had a great account of the Waitomo Caves Hotel’s history and hauntings.
Limestone, caves and underground streams abound in the area where the hotel resides. The Maori regard many of the caves as sacred. They also used some as burial sites. Oh, and they believe the caves shelter beings called the Taniwha and Patupaiarehe.
…Taniwha, guardian or predator beings that live in deep pools in rivers, dark caves, or in the sea, and Patupaiarehe, who according to Maori folklore are pale-skinned spirit beings that live in deep forests and mountaintops in New Zealand and who are said to lure people to their doom with ethereal flute music and singing.
It’s not clear if the Taniwha and Patupaiarehe are responsible for any of the deaths that happened on the property. However, the deaths are believed to account for the hotel’s haunted activity.
The Paranormal Activity in the Waitomo Caves Hotel
A Maori princess was accidentally shot and killed when she was mistaken as a warrior. She was on her way to rendezvous with her lover, a British soldier who was staying in the hotel. (Or what then might have been called the Government Hostel.) It’s believed her spirit haunts the Victorian wing of the hotel, which is also where the Honeymoon Suite is located.
The ghost in room 14 is thought to be that of a man who committed suicide shortly after supposedly telling other guests he experienced the ghost of the Maori princess “passing through him.”
Rooms 12a (aka Room 13) and Room 25 are also among the hotels most active. Reports of footprints forming in talcum powder placed on the ground, objects moving, and a general unease permeating the air are common reports for these rooms.
Another interesting place in the hotel with paranormal activity is called Cat Alley. It’s a small cluster of rooms and corridors that once housed the staff quarters. It’s thought that one of the maid’s children, a boy, died after being accidentally scalded by hot water. Guests have reported a child giggling and skipping in the halls when no children were present. However, when children are present, some have reported being followed by a “weird boy.”
If you want to experience Hobbiton or stay at the Waitomo Caves Hotel, you can make reservations via our affiliates.
‘Lord of the Rings’ Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
Waitomo Caves Hotel from Expedia.