New Zealand’s stunning landscapes captivated movie fans around the world as the unbilled star of the hugely successful The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

Lord of the Rings tours

In the lead-up to the release of Sir Peter Jackson’s next foray into Middle-earthThe Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien fever is gripping our country again. So it’s more fun than ever to take your own Unexpected Journey to New Zealand, the Home of Middle-earth.

Over 150 spectacular locations were used in the Oscar™-winning The Lord of the Rings films and you don’t need a helicopter (or giant eagle) to place yourself in some well known scenes. Much of the film was shot near major landmarks and tourist centres, so you can either take a self-guided adventure or join one of the many organised The Lord of the Rings location tours that are on offer.

You can marvel at the attention to detail of the ‘Hobbiton’ set outside the North Island town of Matamata. By trekking the Tongariro Crossing you’ll take in vistas of Mordor.  And on a scenic drive to beautiful Glenorchy near Queenstown you’ll pass the fortress of ‘Isengard’.

The hub for the films’ production was New Zealand’s capital Wellington, where cast and crew enjoyed world class production facilities as well as gastronomic and cultural highlights during their epic 500-day production.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will be released beginning December 13, 2013. The third film will be released in late 2014.