‘The Lord of the Rings’ was one of the most successful movie trilogies of all time, and it was shot entirely in New Zealand. The country was chosen for its spectacular and incredibly diverse scenery, which is a huge draw for tourists.
If you were a fan of the movies—and the new Hobbit prequels—you can’t miss out on seeing some of the locations where filming took place around the country when you stay in New Zealand. Over 150 locations were used in all, and many are very easy to get to, so hire a car and see them all. Discover Lord of the Rings country!
Matamata is the place to go if you want to visit set of Hobbiton, the peaceful Hobbit village where the adventure begins. Head to Matamata on the North Island, and if you have arranged car rental in New Zealand, you will find the set located about 16 km away, making it easy to reach.
Here you will be able to venture onto the set where the filming took place, seeing the hobbit holes and highlights like the Green Dragon Inn, providing you with a unique behind-the-scenes experience. A guided tour is a highlight for any Tolkien fan, so this is a great place to start.
Queenstown was the setting for numerous scenes from the movies, including Lothlorien, Rohan, Dimrill Dale and more. It is a stunning area, and it is a tourist hotspot due to the huge variety of adventure sports that you can enjoy here. Get out and see the surrounding area either in your rental car or on a tour. If you drive to nearby Glenorchy, you’ll be able to see the setting for Isengard.
Fiordland was the setting for Fangorn Forest, The Dead Marshes, and other scenes, and it is well worth a visit. The Fiordland National Park boasts ancient forests and Lake Te Anau, which is one of largest on the island. It is very remote, so the best way to see the area is on a helicopter tour, which you can arrange in Queenstown.
Wellington is the location of Stansborough, which is the company that was used to make the cloaks used in the movies. They were made using traditional techniques, which you can see during your visit, and you can even pick one up for yourself.
Heading to the South Island, you may want to visit Canterbury, where elaborate sets were constructed for filming the Plains of Rohan. See the large, flat Canterbury Plains and the stunning Southern Alps when you join a tour from Christchurch to explore the locations used in the films.
Twizel was used for filming scenes of the Plains of Rohan and the Pelennor Fields. You will find it located near to Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, and you will have to take a guided tour to see the best bits.
Mount Sunday is a small hill in the Rangitata Valley that was used to film Edoras, the capital of Rohan. Venturing into this stunning landscape, you will find yourself surrounded by lakes, rivers, and majestic mountains, as well as the beautiful Rakaia Gorge.
Discover Your Inner Hobbit
If you loved ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and you want to venture into Middle Earth, the above highlights are well worth visiting during your time in New Zealand. Visiting these locations is also a great way to see the best of the country because many locations were chosen for their natural beauty, so see as many as you can during your stay.