Ever since the first The Lord of the Rings movie was released in 2001, New Zealand has been known as the 'Home of Middle-earth'.
New Zealand’s dramatic scenery plays the mythical world of Middle-earth on the big screen in both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogy. Golden plains, towering mountains and enchanting valleys form the lands of Lothlorien, Hobbiton, Rivendell and more with seamless magic.
The international spotlight onced again shined on New Zealand’s landscapes and film industry with the recent release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, directed by Oscar winning filmmaker Peter Jackson. The first of a trilogy based on J.R.R Tolkien’s much-loved book The Hobbit, the film is set in Middle-earth 60 years before The Lord of the Rings.
From scenery to set
The similarities between New Zealand and Middle-earth are remarkable. Bubbling brooks intersect with gentle waterfalls; snow-capped peaks cast shadows over lush forest valleys and ancient glaciers – frozen in time – cascade almost to the sea.
More than 250 locations throughout the country were used to film The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogy, after the film-making team scoured the country for the most stunningly beautiful destinations.
There’s no place like it
The diversity of the New Zealand landscape has been a draw for filmmakers and travelers from around the world. Many activities and attractions offer the chance to see the film locations for yourself, as well as the many other experiences New Zealand is known for.
Explore the articles below to learn more about the movies and where they were filmed, as well as suggested Middle-earth themed itineraries and special features.
Release dates for The Hobbit Trilogy:
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, December 14, 2012
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, December 13, 2013
The Hobbit: There and Back Again, December 17th, 2014
2012 Warner Bros Ent, TM Saul Zaentz Co