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The rolling hills of The Shire were once again brought to life near Matamata, where Hobbiton was re-built for The Hobbit Trilogy. Also used in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Hobbiton has remained open as an attraction for Middle-earth fans. Enjoy peering over a Hobbit’s front gate, dancing under the party tree or swigging back a beer at The Green Dragon Inn.
The looming cliffs, unusual limestone rock formations and prehistoric forest at Mangaotaki Rocks in Piopio looks as if it has been created especially to form the backdrop for Middle-earth. This area provided the location for Trollshaw Forest and Staddles Farm where a number of scenes from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey were shot; including The Company arriving at a destroyed farmhouse, the exit from the Troll Hoarde Cave, Galdalf bestowing Sting upon Bilbo, Radagast's arrival and the Gundabad Wargs and Orcs attack.
Mangaotaki Road takes you close to the filming location itself, and the Mangaotaki Walk is a gentle loop that visitors can do to experience similar forests scenes as seen in the movie. The exact filming location is on private farmland.
New Zealand’s sunniest region, Nelson, provided the backdrop for several locations in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The exact locations were filmed on private property, but visitors can get a good feel for these locations with a horse trek. Ride across neighbouring private farmland to the dramatic cliff drop which offers spectacular coastal views over Golden Bay.
Twizel's alpine magic was captured on-film in both The Hobbit:An Unexpected Journey and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Part of the Wargs chase was filmed here; and the largest battle scene ever - the Battle of the Pelennor Fields - was set in a remote Twizel field. Twizel is home to a charming mountain town, and a road trip around the local area will give you a feel for the spectacular scenes that were filmed here.
Braemar Station at Lake Pukaki were used to portray the Warg Chase, approach to Rivendell and the Shores of Laketown in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Visitors can stay at the station – just like crew members did – and enjoy the plentiful activities of the area.
Mount Cook and it's surrounding alpine peaks are used in the backdrop of some of the aerial filming in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Visit Aoraki Mount Cook National Park for a range of walking tracks and scenic views.
One of the most magical locations in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey; Earnslaw Burn is a glacier that has created a number of cascading waterfalls that tumble down a huge rock face. Here, Bilbo and The Company are filmed continuing on their quest after departing Rivendell. The Earnslaw Burn Track - beginning in Glenorchy - is a challenging 4-hour hike that rewards with spectacular views at the head of the valley over the glacier and beyond.
The world-class ski area of Treble Cone was another filming location, and is famous for its off-piste terrain and unrivalled views across Lake Wanaka and the Central Otago region. The skifield is abuzz during winter months and has the longest vertical run in New Zealand’s Southern Alps.
Fiordland National Park
Both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogies used the majestic Fiordland National Park for epic scenic shots. The scene where The Company flees the mountains on the backs of eagles in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was filmed here also. Experience giant fiords and spectacular waterfalls with a helicopter flight or boat cruise.
Pelorus River, Marlborough
Peter Jackson chose the Pelorus River to film the dwarves in barrels scene that appears in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Here, the dwarves were filmed floating in giant barrels down the river. Stephen Hunter, who played dwarf Bombur, called this experience 'his favourite day on set'. You can experience this exact location for yourself on an easy riverside walk, or take a guided kayak tour.
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