New Zealand’s tourist industry was given a massive boost when the Lord Of The Rings movies were to be filmed in various locations around the country. Tourists would travel to New Zealand to visit the sites that made the movie and the locals in the country are hoping for a similar effect following the release of The Hobbit. These are the places that everyone who loves the Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit should see on their tour of New Zealand.
Located 160 kilometres south of Auckland, Matamata was once a peaceful farming town until Peter Jackson, the director of the Lord of the Rings, decided to create Hobbiton here. Previously, the first set for the films was dismantled and taken away when filming was completed, but with the return of the filming crews for The Hobbit, the locals of Matamata made an agreement that the set from this film would be permanent, meaning tourists can walk round Hobbiton. A word of warning however, Matamata is not like Hobbiton in the films, as during winter the weather here is wet and cold.
Heading six hours further south still and you will arrive at Wellington. It is in Wellington that you will find Peter Jackson’s film studios, which are sadly not open for tours, and Weta Workshops, the special effects company for the films. The Weta Cave is a free museum which is worth a visit for movie buffs and so is the Roxy Cinema, which was rebuilt by the founders of the Weta Workshops and designed by them.
Located south of Christchurch, Lake Pukaki is home to so many scenes from the movies that you will feel like you have stumbled into Middle Earth. You can stay overnight at the small town of Twizel which was used for filming or travel a little bit further to Mt Cook village where you can take a short hike up into the mountains.
Wanaka lies close to Queenstown and boasts days and days of great Hobbit and Lord of the Rings locations, while there are numerous tour companies that are willing to take you on a tour through them. Many locations for the films here are on private land so sadly you will need to book a tour to see them.
However, some locations are easily accessible such as Glenorchy in Queenstown, so depending how much you wish to visit, a tour may not be necessary. If you are travelling to New Zealand, remember that the weather in some of the more remote locations will be quite cold, so it’s best to prepare appropriately for it.
South of Queenstown, Fiordland was the location for many of the fly over scenes in the movies. To relive those scenes in person you will need to hire a helicopter or chartered flight, which while not cheap is quite impressive. However, you should be mindful of the fact that flights cannot take off should the clouds be lower than the surrounding mountains and that there is temperate rain forest in Fiordland, so prepare for some levels of rain.
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