Many people only dream of exploring the rolling countryside of Middle‑earth™. Follow in the footsteps of Fili & Kili and take a trip to the Lonely Mountain to reclaim treasures from Smaug. Or journey through the vast Canterbury plains, along alpine peaks and rocky outcrops before descending into the depths of the New Zealand underground.
I was taken to Paradise, to the peak of a mountain and dropped off by a helicopter and left to shoot 360 degree angles in this landscape where there were no footprints and clearly no-one had ever trod there – it is literally beyond the imagination.
Pure distinctive light reflects off the alpine tussocks and grasses, the lake shines an amazing turquoise blue and sharp alpine landscapes rise from the distant horizon. It's no wonder that Braemar Station at Lake Pukaki was chosen as the location for the 'Warg Chase' and approach to Rivendell. Take a moment to imagine yourself discovering the secret entrance to Rivendell before immersing yourself in the depths of Middle‑earth™.
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The looming cliffs, unusual limestone rock formations and prehistoric forests at Mangaotaki Rocks in Piopio look as though they've been created especially as a backdrop for Middle‑earth™. Explore below the Denize Bluffs with a guided walk and keep your eyes peeled for the Stone Trolls.
Find out more about visiting Piopio
Waitomo Caves offer underground caverns so surreal they rival the Glittering Caves of Aglarond. Discover immeasurable halls, filled with the everlasting music of water that tinkles into distant pools. Or explore pitch-black caverns only lit by the glittering rooftop stars of glowworms.
Learn more about the Waitomo Caves in the Waikato region.
Pelorus River, half way between Blenheim and Nelson in the north of the South Island, is the setting for the barrel escape scene in The Hobbit:The Desolation of Smaug. Peter Jackson chose the setting for its solid rock shoreline surrounded by native New Zealand forest, and a sandy beach for the barrels to come ashore. This is arguably one of New Zealand's most beautiful rivers. Visit the river as part of a guided tour.
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Paradise - a real town in New Zealand's Southern Lakes region is a picture of glorious isolation and natural grandeur. It's no wonder Peter Jackson chose this as the location for Beorn's House in The Hobbit Trilogy, as well as Isengard, Lothlorien and Amon Hen in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Come here to experience the giant snow-capped mountains, hanging alpine valleys and twisting braided rivers!
This is the Middle‑earth™ I had always pictured.
Find out more about Paradise and Glenorchy.
Meet your Hobbit friends in the Green Dragon Inn and swap tales of your recent adventures. Gather in the warm surroundings with the rest of your company and reflect on a journey through the real Middle‑earth™.
Find out more about Hobbiton in the Waikato Region.