Top 7 Middle-Earth Film Locations to Visit

2001 marks the year that the natural beauty of New Zealand was showcased to the world after the release of Peter Jackson’s first Lord of the Rings film.

Considered to be one of the biggest and most ambitious film projects ever undertaken, Sir Peter Jackson filmed all three simultaneously (as well as the Hobbit trilogies at a later date) entirely in New Zealand. Shot at over 150 different locations from conservation areas to National Parks, and a few other hidden gems from New Zealand's diverse landscape.

If you can hear the Ring call to you, it's time to explore...


Top 7 Locations to make you feel like Frodo & Sam:

Tongariro National Park &  Taupo Region.

Tongarairo National Park is the “land of Mordor” and is a well know & travelled hiking track. The track takes around 6 hours to walk, this area has a few iconic sights including Mount Doom, Emyn Muli or the pools at Mangatepopo falls where Gollum so proudly caught a fish.

  • “Mordor” - Whakapapa Ski Field on Mt Ruapehu
  •  “Mount Doom” – Mount Ngauruhoe
  • “Ithilien Camp” – Ohakune

Matamata, Waikato Region.

The lush rolling hills of the Waikato town, Matamata was used to portray the sleepy Shire of Middle-earth. The original village of Hobbiton was built here only temporarily, but was rebuilt as a permanent attraction for the filming of The Hobbit Trilogy, and will now remain.

  • Hobbiton
  • The Shire

Wellington Region.

  • “Isengard Gardens and the Orc Tree” - Harcourt Park -  Akatarawa, Upper Hutt
  • Rivendell” – Kaitoke Regional Park, Upper Hutt
  • “Osgiliath Wood” – Waitarere Forest
  • “Paths of the Dead” – Putangirua Pinnacles

Nelson & Marlborough Region.

  • “The Rings” - Nelson is home to Jens Hansen, the goldsmith responsible for creating the 40 different rings used in production
  • “Chetwood Forest” - Takaka Hill, West of Nelson
  • “Dimrill Dale” - Mount Olympus and Mount Owen, Nelson

Canterbury Region.

  • “Edoras” – Mount Sunday, Christchurch
  •  “Misty Mountains” – The Southern Alps

Otago Region.

  • “Ford of Bruinen” – Arrow River, Arrowtown.
  •  “Isengard, Lothlórien, and Amon Hen” - Paradise, a small village North of Glenorchy, Queenstown.

Southland Region.

  • “Anduin River” - Four rivers were used to depict the River Anduin, but the gates were filmed on the Waiau River between Te Anau and Manapouri
  • “Fangorn Forest” - Takaro Road


The films showcase just how beautiful many of these locations are, and with Thrifty Tours, we can show you the best of the bunch with a variety of tours... Explore Middle Earth with us, adventure is waiting.


“Not all those who wander, are lost.” — J.R.R. Tolkien



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