If you are a Lord of the Rings fan, visiting Middle Earth will be high on your list of travel priorities. The most famous and well-known of the filming sets is Hobbiton, in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island. There are numerous other Middle Earth filming locations around the country. Many are in remote parts, however, they are all beautiful, showcasing New Zealand’s dramatic scenery and towering mountains. Here are a few of them.
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North Island Locations
On the rolling hillsides of the picturesque Alexander family farm, just out of Matamata is Hobbiton. The Middle Earth movie set, comprising of 39 hobbit holes, was built for the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Originally, it was made from untreated timber and ply so had to be dismantled at the end of the shoot as it was not sustainable.
However, they rebuilt the set with permanent materials in 2009 for the filming of The Hobbit so ‘The Shire’ could live on forever.
The attention to detail in the hobbit’s homes is impeccable. Miniature clothes blow in the breeze on the clotheslines and there’s an abundance of vegetables in the gardens. The baker, the painter and the cheese-maker have delightful small shops and the funny thing is, it all looks real.
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Wellington’s suburb of Mount Victoria is close to the city. The forested areas of the Mount Victoria were used to depict Hobbiton Woods, where the hobbits hid from the black riders.
Wellington is also home to Weta Workshop. Here you can experience the creativity of the workshop, mini-museum and Weta Cave.
There are three other locations in the Wellington region.
At Queen Elizabeth Park in Paekakariki, the battle of Pelennor Fields was filmed.
In the Wairarapa region, an hours drive from Wellington, are the Putangirua Pinnacles where Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli sought the Paths of the Dead.
Finally, Rivendell in the Kaitoke Regional Park, a 45-minute drive from Wellington is where Frodo recovered from the knife attack. The exact location, a grassy area surrounded by native forest, is signposted from the carpark.
South Island Locations
Nelson is notorious for the world’s most famous ring. It’s here the rings were made. One of the original rings is on display and copies can be bought in 9 and 18ct gold.
Close by, Takaka Hill was the filming site for Chetwood Forest. Here the Ranger ‘Strider’ led the hobbits into the rough country east of Bree in an attempt to escape the Black Riders.
In the Ashburton high country sits Mount Sunday, a sheer-sided hill and the set for Edoras. Nothing remains of this set, which took nine months to build, however, the location still has powerful magic. You can park your vehicle on Hakatere Potts Road and walk to the site.
Near Twizel in the Mackenzie Country, Peter Jackson filmed the epic battle of the Pelennor Fields. Thousands of orcs clashed with the men of Gondor and Rohan. The location is on private land, however, you can arrange a tour in the town of Twizel.
From the village of Glenorchy, at the northern end of Lake Wakatipu, you can see the north-western slopes of Mount Earnslaw. This was featured in the opening sequence of The Two Towers. From Glenorchy, you can also discover Lothlorien, the beech forest on the road to Paradise.
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