Essential Places to Visit in New Zealand for Tolkien Fandom
Despite being so far away, New Zealand remains one of the most desired destinations to visit.
According to the stats, nearly half a million tourists visited New Zealand as of January 2019.
We’re pretty sure that Tolkien fans are accountable for more than half of this number.
New Zealand as Mecca for Tolkien Fandom
It was in the stars for New Zealand to become the ultimate destination for Tolkien fans, when Peter Jackson finally, after a series of daunting negotiations, got the rights to make the films from Saul Zaentz.
With the help of The Lord of the Rings’ main location scout, a photographer, and a New Zealand native Dave Comer and his crew, Peter Jackson discovered the most breathtaking locations around the two islands that have since become the dream destinations for the Tolkien Fandom to visit.
Being a Tolkien fan myself, I have the list of the top New Zealand locations that are must-visit for Tolkien fans to get a glimpse of how the movies were made, and, of course, to immerse in the atmosphere of Peter Jackson’s creations.
A view on Wellington from Mount Victoria
Image credit: Unsplash
Wellington and its surroundings are the home for numerous LOTR locations. It’s where the production was held and where the history was made.
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Among quite a few places to visit in Wellington, Tolkien fans will especially enjoy:
- Weta studios: Weta Cave is one of the coolest places to visit if you want to learn more about the production of the films. Original stage property, as well as stories told by people who worked on LOTR production, will leave a lasting impression on anyone who is a big fan of the films.
- Mount Victoria: this historic location is the home of Hobbiton woods, and particularly the scene, where hobbits hid from the Ringwraiths.
- Hutt River and Kaitoke Regional Park: these two locations hosted the two most epic scenes from the LOTR movies. Hutt River is Anduin River, where Arwen stopped the Ringwraiths from claiming Frodo, and Kaitoke Regional Park is the home of Rivendell, one of the most beautiful locations in LOTR movies. In Kaitoke Regional Park, you can explore elven paths and even enjoy a picnic with your family or friends.
Another location near Wellington is Putangirua Pinnacles – a place where Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas explored the Paths of the Dead to secure their legendary coalition against Sauron.
Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
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The most breathtaking locations from the Lord of the Rings movies are found around Queenstown – a town on the south island of New Zealand.
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The most notable of them are:
- Glenorchy – the Gate to Paradise – is one of the most breathtaking locations around Queenstown, which was the home of Isengard.
- Earnslaw Burn – this place was the home of Rivendell in the Hobbit movies, more notably – the home of the Hidden Path, where dwarves, Bilbo and Gandalf escaped the orcs.
- Fiordland National Park – the place that will take your breath away, Fiordland National Park hosted several locations from the LOTR movies, including Edoras, Helm’s Deep, and The Pillars of the Kings.
Tolkien fans can enjoy numerous tours that are organized by the authorities of Queenstown. “There are hundreds of tours a day to different LOTR locations”, says Patrick Harris, a developer at Axonim and an avid New Zealand visitor.
So, because there are so many notable LOTR and the Hobbit locations around Queenstown, I too recommend staying there for several days for the full experience.
Hobbiton, Matamata, New Zealand
Image credit: Unsplash
This location is surely one of the most popular locations among Tolkien fans and one of the reasons to travel to New Zealand in general.
Matamata is the home of Hobbiton – a place where every Tolkien fan would want to live for sure.
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Once a sheep farm, Hobbiton now hosts hundreds of tourists a day. The Dragon Inn hosts incredible events, and the fairs held several times a year will strike a chord in everyone, who cherishes Tolkien’s creations.
Over to You
Of course, besides Wellington, Queenstown, and Matamata, New Zealand has other incredible locations that were the home for The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit movies.
Do you have any suggestions?
Share them with us in the comments!