Moles, potatoes, time capsules and Hobbits – all the best things live underground. So while I was freezing my ass off here in Sydney, I decided to duck out of town and find sweet respite in a snug underground house.
Of course, travel overseas is completely off the cards, and even travel between most states is a total no-go. That’s when I realised I could dabble in the Hobbit lifestyle without having to go all the way to New Zealand.
I ended up finding a gorgeous little Airbnb a few hours out of Sydney. Situated on a farm, I was free to reenact my (admittedly vague) memories of The Shire from watching The Lord of the Rings in highschool.
The house in question was built entirely inside a small, grassy hill. It’s got everything including a bed, a kitchen, a toilet, and a door, but no windows – only skylights.
We arrived at our Hobbit-esque Airbnb late on a freezing cold night, but thanks to the building’s insulation, we spent the night nice and warm.
On top of that, there were goddamn electric blankets. Never have I known such coziness until I ventured into this Hobbit house.
I woke up to the sound of frogs croaking. Big Hobbit house energy, right off the bat.
There were no windows in the Hobbit house, but the sun pierced through the skylights and lit up the room as if it were way more spacious than it really was. It felt airy and cosy at the same time. Hobbit architecture bends spacetime like that.
I learned very quickly that a Hobbit house (or its modern equivalent) is simple but well equipped.
Although it was a single room, it contained everything a Hobbit or human could ever need, including a bathroom and a kitchen where I could try brewing potions or whatever the fuck Hobbits are supposed to do.
Time for breakfast. Hobbit hospitality apparently means a fully stocked fridge with everything you might need, from farm-fresh eggs (the chickens were a short walk away), to fruit, to yogurt, to hot chocolate… the list goes on.
All this gorgeous produce, plus the rural setting, made for the best al fresco
brekky brunch ever.
Because we were staying on an actual farm, we had acres of paddocks to explore, plus the adjacent village commons. How quaint.
The highlight was sprinting my little Hobbit heart out inside the farm’s kilometre-long pine tree tunnel, which was planted by the property’s owners decades ago and lovingly trimmed into what we see today.
It makes for a long, romantic stroll or an intense Hobbit marathon. Have a guess which one I chose.
Then it was time to enjoy the rest of The Shire, or in my case, the tiny town of Gundaroo. My thorough research shows that it is in fact the cutest place ever.
The main street is made up of cute little shops and pubs, the oldest of which has been in operation since 1872. To be honest, not much has changed since then. You can walk from one side of the town to the other in about 15 minutes, and along the way you’ll see only a handful of cars (and people).
At night is when it really becomes special. Yes, the streets are empty so you’ll need a Hobbit mate for company. But once you have them, the atmosphere is spectacular.
Walking around the town after dark, the air is scented by everyone’s wood fireplaces. It’s not just any wood either – this is some fancy, aromatic shit they’re burning. Every block you walk past has a different smell, each more bucolic than the last.
OK maybe I’m getting too romantic here, but like the Hobbit life is fricken gorgeous.
Because Gundaroo is just a stone’s throw (half an hour drive) from Canberra, it meant I could also make a small pitstop at the biggest Hobbit house of them all: Parliament House.
I make no reference to its inhabitants.
Let me just say there’s more to Canberra than just Questacon and *checks notes* the Mint. There are actually a handful decent bars and pubs.
Although it was freezing down in Canberra, I had my cosy little Hobbit cocoon to come back to. When I got home, the insulation had kept everything nice and warm, and the electric blankets were waiting for me.
That’s when I realised I could get used to the hobbit lifestyle.
By day: frolicking without a care in the world among the cows, sheep, cockatoos, galahs and frogs. By night: keeping nice and warm underground knowing with nothing but the stillness of the dark for a soundtrack. Yes please.
How’s that for an adventure, Bilbo?
This trip was paid for by Airbnb.