LOTR film location set tour
New Zealand Film Tourism
New Zealand attracts visitors from all over the world for a number of reasons; stunning landscapes, contrasting coastlines, clean environment, culture, wildlife and exclusive experiences. An interesting draw card that brings countless visitors to New Zealand is film tourism. A recent survey found that one in four adults decide their holiday destination based on where their favourite TV show/ film was located. Film enthusiasts want to explore the exact same places as their favourite actors did. As a result, various tourism experiences have come about because of this demand.
Famous New Zealand film locations that have seen numerous visitors include; Cathedral Cove (Chronicles of Narnia), Mount Taranaki (The Last Samurai) and Karekare beach (The Piano). However, the series of movies that has brought the most visitors to New Zealand and contributed significantly to the countries tourism sector is The Lord of the Rings & Hobbit Trilogies. New Zealand has even been named “Home of Middle Earth” in several campaigns promoting the country since the release of first Lord of the Rings movie in 2001.
About the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit
The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003) is produced and directed by Peter Jackson who since the release of these movies has become world famous. With the success of these films in 2011 Peter Jackson was able to work alongside Steven Spielberg where he coproduced Tin Tin. Later, Peter Jackson returned to film a prequal to the Lord of The Rings – The Hobbit Trilogies. The special part about these movies for New Zealand is that while there was special effects used in the movies, the dramatic landscapes were all real New Zealand locations. Fans wanted to see these locations for themselves and flocked to the country.
Lord of the Rings and Hobbit main film locations
Today, you can experience multiple activities and attractions throughout New Zealand where the films took place. The main locations include;
A major highlight for many visiting New Zealand is taking a tour to experience the Shire and Hobbiton Movie set at Matamata. Lush Farmland turned into a permanent tourist attraction with the movie props still present onsite. Visitors also get the chance to look inside the hobbit holes which are set up just like the movie. Experience a guided tour or enjoy an evening banquet just like the characters did. If you are a true Lord of the Rings fan it is essential Hobbiton is on your list.
Tongariro National ParkArguably the best place to see the films locations for its scenery is Modor aka Tongariro National Park. Mount Doom is located here which is a fictional volcano in the trilogies known as Mount Ngauruhoe in real life. This is the place to where the hobbits destroyed the ring. Estimated to be over 2000 years old this mountain is an impressive sight to see. Another incredible area within the park where Sam and Frodo were rescued by Gollum is the Emyn Muil area located in the slopes of Mount Ruapehu.
The capital city of New Zealand is a special place for Lord of the Rings fans with plenty of filming locations close by. For a spooky yet breath-taking off the beaten track adventure the Putangirua Pinnacles also known as the path of dead (from the film) are a must. Mount Victoria in Wellington central is also an important site not only to see panoramic views of the city but to experience where the hobbits hid from the black riders in the woods. Other filming locations in Wellington include Kaitoke Rgional park (Rivendell) and Harcourt Park (Gardens of Isengard). See where the making of Middle Earth happened at Weta Workshop, experience the props, costumes and special effects magic here.
A significant location to see where the battle of the Pelennor fields was filmed is in Mackenzie Country in the South Island near Twizel, Canterbury. This was a major battle that saw thousands of orcs fight the men of Rohan and Gondor. Although it is located on private property you can see it from afar and of course book a guided tour. On tour you can even re-enact the battle scene with props provided. Mount Sunday aka Edoras is also found in Cantebury where the Rohan people lived.
Throughout Queenstown and surrounding areas there are remarkable locations to see where parts of the trilogies were filmed. Gladden Fields scenes and the Ford of Bruined can be found not far from Queenstown in the picturesque Arrowtown. For extensive views of Middle Earth drive up the Crown Range to the summit of Mount Cardrona. Imagine the Gates of Arnonath while you travel along the Kawarau River. Another significant town near Queenstown is Glenorchy, it was here in an area called Paradise that Gandalf approached Sarumans tower at Isengard.
While New Zealand is a special place for tourists to experience these film locations it is just as special for producers wanting to film here. There are a variety of reasons why New Zealand has delivered some of the largest productions. In particular the countries landscape and remoteness which allows for little disruption. Regions throughout the country are film friendly and have production hubs which can provide support through research and facilitation. Other appealing factors that attract film makers are; favourable exchange rates, no regional sales taxes and world-class visual effects.