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Lord of the Rings Tours
Lord of the Rings Tours
Peter Jackson’s epic Lord of the Rings film trilogy brought J. R. R. Tolkien’s infamous book series to
life, but also put a number of New Zealand’s finest destinations on the minds of many a Tolkien fan.
With the New Zealand born director’s recent release of the Hobbit series, there has been a
resurgence of interest by those wishing to explore some of the filming locations for themselves.
For those less familiar with the novels or movies (have you been living under a rock?) the series is set
in the fictional fantasy world of Middle Earth and follows the main character, Frodo Baggins (a
hobbit), on a journey to ultimately destroy the ‘One Ring’ and its maker, Lord Sauron. Frodo and his
ever-loyal hobbit companion, Samwise Gamgee (Sam for short), team up with the deceitful wreck
named Gollum/Sméagol for their long trek through Middle Earth, previously having inadvertently
parted ways with the other members of the Fellowship of the Ring. Meanwhile, the rest of the
Fellowship including Aragorn and Gandalf the wizard unite and assemble the free people of Middle
Earth and lead them on the War of the Ring. They win the war; Frodo eventually destroys the ring
and – inadvertently – Gollum along with it. The evil Lord Sauron is defeated and Frodo is declared
the hero of Middle Earth! Of course, there’s much, much more to the series, so if you haven’t read
or seen it, we highly recommend you do.
The primary areas used for filming were conservation areas and National Parks throughout New
Zealand, eventually incorporating 150 separate locations. Some of these locations are so remote,
that the cast and crew actually took survival kits along with them in case adverse weather conditions
prevented helicopters reaching them in time to wrap up for the day. Regardless, the results for the
movie are spectacular and there’s likely no other place in the world could have delivered the same
There are a number of locations throughout the South Island’s southwest region that can be easily
accessed through Queenstown. These include:
- Arrow River, Arrowtown – Ford of Bruinen: The section of the Brunien River, where Arwen called the spirit horses to flood the path of the Ringwraiths.
- Closeburn Station – Amon Hen: The location of the battle at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring, where the Fellowship were split up.
- Glenorchy – Isengard: where the computer-generated Tower of Orthanc and its Isen were located, thanks to the skills of the Weta Workshop.
- Greenstone Station, Kinloch – Dunharrow: the White Mountains refuge of the Rohirrim. Close to the entrance to the Paths of the Dead.
- Kawarau River – Anduin River: The border of Gondor where the majestic Pillars of Argonath guard the way.
- Kelper Mire, Te Anau – Dead Marshes: the haunting swamp full of ghostly human, elfish and dwarfish bodies, laid to rest here. This location is an ancient battlefield just outside of Mordor.
- Lake Manapouri – Area South of Rivendell: The difficult to navigate landscape south of Rivendell, which is used to protect the glorious elfish city.
- Mavora Lake – Nen Hithoel: The campsite location of Parth Galen rests beside the large lake Nen Hithoel on the River Anduin. After Boromir was killed, his body was placed into Nen Hithoel so that it would float home down the Anduin River.
- Paradise, Glenorchy – Lothlorien Woods (the Golden Wood): where the Fellowship encountered the Silvan elves after they traversed the Misty Mountains and the Anduin River.
- Tarras, Wanaka – Great East Road: where Arwen and Frodo were chased by Ringwraiths on their way to the Ford of Bruinen
- The Remarkables – Dimrill Dale: The Fellowship camped here – at the western entrance/exit of Moria (dwarfish mines) – after losing Gandalf.
If you’d like to explore these wonderful areas for yourself, we offer a huge number of tours that
incorporate these areas. From a Lord of the Rings specific tour (Lord of the Rings Tour - Paradise
everything else in between, we have the perfect tour for all those die-hard LOTR fans, as well as
those who just appreciate immense beauty!
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