New Zealand for the Hobbit Lovers Amongst Us

Hobbit Hole Photo: Daniel Peckham of Flickr

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.

Hobbiton Tour, Matamata Photo: lalalydia of Flickr

Hobbiton Tour, Matamata in 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.

Weta Cave, New Zealand Photo: LabLab of Flickr

You might bump into Gollum at the Weta Cave, New Zealand

Weta Workshops

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.

Turquoise colored water of Lake Pukaki Photo: Peter Nijenhuis of Flickr

Turquoise coloured water of Lake Pukaki, New Zealand

Lake Pukaki

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.

New Zealand Photo: orkneysports of Flickr

Glenorchy in New Zealand


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.

Te Anau, Fiordland, New Zealand Photo: Sandy Austin of Flickr

Te Anau, Fiordland, New Zealand


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.

This article is brought to you by Cheap Flights, who provide the best deals and the ability to search specific dates and locations, as well as travel planning tools to make sure your holiday goes with a swing.

Photo credits: Hobbiton Tour by lalalydia, Weta Cave by LabLab, Lake Pukaki by Peter Nijenhuis, New Zealand by orkneysports, Te Anau by Sandy Austin, and Hobbit hole by Daniel Peckham.

More tales from New Zealand

A motorhome adventure through North Island, New Zealand
Coastal beauty and adventure in New Zealand
Where to stay in Queenstown on a budget – New Zealand

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  • Reply
    Lauren Meshkin
    August 15, 2013 at 12:22 am

    Oh wow, that lake! Absolutely stunning. I’m not a LoTR fan but I’d still be interested in visiting these gorgeous locations.

    Have you traveled to New Zealand before?
    Lauren Meshkin´s last blog post ..Things I miss most about London: Part 1

  • Reply
    August 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Oh Hobbiton movie set near Matamata has changed a lot since the photo you have here on your blog. The set for The Hobbit was created as a permanent fixture this time, leaving the hobbit hole facades and gardens. Much more impressive than the era of this photo.
    Nice blog all the same 🙂

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      August 16, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      @PamG Thanks for the update – I didn’t realise Hobbiton had changed so much, but sounds like for the better if you are a visitor

  • Reply
    jhon smith
    August 21, 2013 at 8:57 am

    Hey Heather i am a big fan of LOTR Movie you have written one of the best travel blog that i liked till now. Well done, keep sharing! looking for more blogs from you.

  • Reply
    August 29, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    that Gollum head is so creepy. Looks like a great tour, would love to do, even just a few of the sites sometime.

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      August 29, 2013 at 7:34 pm

      @Kate – yes I wouldn’t like to meet him in a dark cave

  • Reply
    August 30, 2013 at 1:48 am

    At the moment, Gollum is hanging above in the airport terminal at Wellington Airport. Very impressive, and huge 🙂

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      August 30, 2013 at 10:47 pm

      @PamG Scary – not sure that would be the first thing I’d like to see as I touched down in NZ

  • Reply
    April 24, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    absolutely beautiful…Who has never been in New Zeeland cannot understand its beauty. In a month time the winter will come in New Zeeland, but do not expect a Canadian winter, but a wormer one. Very nice pictures

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      April 25, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      @David Yes I’ve heard the scenery in NZ is stunning

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