Four of New Zealand’s protected national parks are located in the South Island, in an area known as Te Wahipounamu. They have long been treasured for their unbelievable beauty and scenic walks, but since movie-maker Peter Jackson channelled his vision for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy through this epic countryside, Tolkien fans throughout the world have travelled far and wide to experience the land that bought his works to life. Here’s a quick glimpse at the 4 main parks and their film references:
Mt Aspiring National Park/Glenorchy/Paradise: LOTR locations for Lothlorien Forest – a place described by the Sindarin elf Legolas as a paradise of golden leaves, yellow flowers and silver pillars; Saruman’s fortress of Isengard; and the Tower of Orthanc.
Westland National Park : Mt Gunn, close to the Franz Josef Glacier > LOTR location for Ered Nimrais “The White Mountains”- whose peaks are at such a high altitude that they are covered in snow all year round. Warning beacons are placed on the seven ridges of these ranges, which make up part of the boundaries of Gondor and Rohan.
Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park : Close to Twizel, MacKenzie country > LOTR location for the Two Towers and Pelennor Fields where a huge battle took place ; and the East Emneth Gullies – a place of gorges and plains.
Fiordland National Park/Te Anau: LOTR locations for Fangforn Forest, Mt Olympus and South of Rivendell, Anduin - “The Great River” seen at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Rings; and The Dead Marshes – a historic battlefield containing the creepy corpses of an ancient battle.
If you’re planning a visit to Queenstown, New Zealand and you’d like to visit Mt Aspiring National Park, listen to behind the scenes tales, enjoy local knowledge of LOTR filming, visit locations from the LOTR Trilogy and The Hobbit, and take in the sheer and indescribable beauty of this region, then contact Pure Glenorchy Tours - we’d love to show you around.
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Travel New Zealand’s most scenic highway, heading deep into Middle Earth, and visit the landscape that inspired Peter Jackson’s film locations for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Local Kiwi guides complement this family operated business. Free Picnic.
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