It was an early start, but we had a lovely drive to Hobbiton (clutching our coffees!). There were just three of us in a spacious car, so it was pretty comfy. Our driver, Mustafa, was a lovely man and made a real effort to make sure we got the full tour guide experience, telling us facts about our surroundings during the drive. He left us at Hobbiton then came back later to collect us from our tour and was totally cool about us having a last minute browse in the gift shop before starting the drive back to Auckland.
As an added bonus, on the way back Mustafa also took us to a beautiful look out point and Hunua Falls, even though neither of these were on the itinerary. Would recommend!