Ahhh, Lord of the Rings. The incredible trilogy, complemented by The Hobbit trilogy, that basically turned New Zealand into one giant film set. It's been said that every kiwi was or knows someone who was an extra in LotR.
It's not hard to see why New Zealand was chosen - massive volcanoes, epic landscapes, natural rock formations, rolling hills and beautiful waterfalls all set the perfect natural backdrop for Peter Jackson's masterpieces to come to life. Everywhere you walk, you half think a hobbit is going to come trundling down the path!
I've put together a list of six iconic filming locations from the Lord of the Rings that you can visit on your travels around New Zealand to inspire you and leave a little feeling of magic in the air:
I had to start with this one, perhaps the most magical of them all.
A place where fantasy blurs with reality and where wonder comes to life. A place where you can run through the Shire just like Bilbo did, yelling "I'm going on an adventure!" and where you really feel like maybe you are, too.
Hobbiton, where you can knock on the tiny doors and half expect a hobbit to poke its head out and ask you why you're bothering them. You can hang out under the party tree in the field. You can skip across the stone bridge to the Green Dragon for a refreshing glass of ginger beer. More than forty hobbit holes are preserved among the rolling hills of the farm in varying colours with all sorts of knick-knacks on display outside the homes.
Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Tongariro National Park
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is perhaps most well-known for being the filming location of Mount Doom. As you make your way through the epic, sweeping landscape across the 19.4km hike, you can see exactly why Mount Ngauruhoe (one of the mountains you walk past on the crossing) was chosen as Mount Doom! You'll also get incredible views of nearby Mount Ruapehu.
Tawhai Falls, Tongariro National Park
Tawhai Falls in Tongariro National Park is home to Gollum's Pool, where he fishes and sings!! The walk to the falls is less than ten minutes and the falls are really quite spectacular.
Mount Victoria, Wellington
One of the most popular things to do in Wellington, New Zealand's windy capital, located on the southernmost tip of the North Island, is to hike up to the summit of Mount Victoria. On your way up, follow the wooden sign posts (and use Google Maps) to locate the filming location of the Hobbit's Hideaway where the hobbits hid from the Ringwraiths!
Path of the Dead
Putangirua Pinnacles, Cape Palliser
The epic natural rock formations at the Pinnacles became the incredible filming location of the Path of the Dead in Harrowdale, the valley cut out of the White Mountains by the Snowbourn river. You can hike all the way deep into the pinnacles.
Mount Sunday is a beautiful, remote region in the heart of New Zealand's South Island in the Southern Alps. It is most famous for being home to the filming location of Edoras, the capital of Rohan in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. You can hike up to the top of Mount Sunday where mock weaponry from the film set is available to take photographs with.