Hobbiton tour a hot ticket before ‘Hobbit’ movie premiere

Visiting Gandolf-sized wizards be advised to duck when touring the Hobbiton.

(Credit: Hobbiton Tours)

With the world premiere of “The Hobbit” movie just a few weeks off, I’ve been thinking a lot about travel and Middle-earth, from here at the actual middle of the actual earth.

Turns out I’m not alone. These days, the New Zealand Tourism Board actively promotes tours of the 12-acre family farm that was spotted amid obscurity and lots of sheep in 1998 and transformed into The Shire of Tolkien lore.

In fact, the tourist board says at least 6 percent of visitors to the country cite “The Lord of the Rings” and upcoming “Hobbit” trilogies as the reason they came to New Zealand.

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