New Zealand, in the footsteps of the Hobbit

Middle-earth, c & rsquoZélande. Here is our little guide to follow in the footsteps of The Hobbit ...

The genesis

Who could have imagined the road traveled by this Lord of the Rings, released in the 1930s from the pen of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien for his children? It took a hell of a dose of fantasy for this serious professor, born in South Africa and linguist in Oxford, to generate the three volumes of this cult work, where we meet wizards, ents, hobbits, elves, orcs and other trolls.

Some 70 years later, New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson seized on this saga, ancestor of Heroic Fantasy, to put it into images. The worldwide success of The Lord of the Rings-inspired films has put New Zealand on the map of our dreams.

Jackson shot many of the scenes in his films there: an exceptional setting - approximately 150 different film locations - steeped in mountains, glaciers, rivers, forests, fjords, round and verdant countryside.

The tourist manna of Middle-earth

The Lord of the Rings is a tourist windfall that discerning New Zealanders have of course seized.

Located in the North Island (near Matamata), the cinematographic setting of the Hobbits village, Hobbiton (photo), was sanctuarized like an amusement park.

Specialized agencies have sprung up all over the country, such as the Gremlins in Contact with Water, to show many of the filming locations with plenty of playful comments.

What do we see alone and how?

For independent fans, a book (The Lord of the Ring's Location Guidebook : in English) offers photos and GPS coordinates of the locations of the film.

On site, no signage dedicated. It often takes a certain amount of abstraction to navigate, Peter Jackson having put the package side sets and special effects (remodeling in passing entire sections of the landscape). And, to confuse the issue a little more, some sites like Isengard were filmed in the vicinity of Wellington (North Island) as in the Glenorchy Valley (South Island)… 900 km as the crow flies!

Moreover, the green balloon hills of Matamata are obvious to figure The county… we slow down so as not to run over some hobbit visiting his old uncle.

Was it Castle hill looks a lot like this place where the fellowship of the ring is flown over by evil starlings… it is not a simple impression. New Zealand lent itself perfectly to reproducing these atmospheres of the Lord of the Ring… Peter Jackson hit the mark.

Places, places!

Do not trample, we will once again give you the trails to take a tour of Middle-earth, where Mordor extends its shadow ... For the practical details, it's up to you to pursue your own quest for the ring:

- Arrival in Middle-earth: Wellington and Auckland airports set the tone with a “Welcome in the Middle-Earth” prompt and a few statues or representations of Tolkieno-Jacksonian characters.

- Hobbiton (North Island, Matamata): visit of the “real” village of hobbits on the land of a farm which has managed to seize the vein. There is also the "3 Dragons Inn". Very popular and expensive ...

- Tangariro National Park (North Island, south of Taupo): Ngauruhoe volcano (still active) is this wicked black mountain of Mordor (Mount Doom) topped by an evil eye, where Sauron forged his rings, and where the journey of Frodo. We approach it closely through a 5-hour sports walk (the Alpine Crossing).

- Wellington, Upper Hutt and Otaki (in the south of the North Island; agencies in Wellington): on the program, the elven woods of Bothlorien, the exteriors of Hobbiton, the frightening scene where the hobbits meet the black riders (in the park of Mount Victoria… in the center Wellington!), the magical elven city of Rivendell (decor totally deconstructed since), the Anduin River and even the city of Brie (since dezinced).

- Nelson (South Island): the craftsman who forged the ring used in the film is now a flourishing trade in replicas in his shop ...

- Mount Mac Kenzie (South Island): difficult to access (road 72 to Hakatere, then 30 km of track). The game is worth the candle. Superb site where Edoras, capital of Rohan was filmed, with the New Zealand Alps as a backdrop.

- Glenorchy Valley (South Island): rich in filming locations. Isengard in the plain, the Misty Mountains occupying the neighboring mountain peaks ...

À Arrowtown, 50 km to the east, is the famous ford of Bruinen (the river that turns into horses to swallow up the black riders!).


Other filming locations from the saga to discover on the New Zealand TO website

Consult our New Zealand online guide

New Zealand Tourism

- The Lord of the Ring's Location Guidebook : Ian Brodie - Harper Collins Publisher - - ISBN 978-1-869-509-26-2. Count 28 Nzd.

- Matamata : Hobbiton. 501 Buckland Road. Hinuera. Phone. : (64) 7-888-1505. Entrance: 75 Nzd / pers (2 hour tour).

- Wellington : free Middle of Middle-Earth card at tourist offices. 

Agency Wellington Rover Tours. Phone. : 0800-426-211.

- Nelson : The Ringmaker (Jens Hansen). Corner Selwyn place. Phone. : 03-548-0640.

- Glenorchy : free map at the tourist office, locating more or less the sites. Pure Glenorchy Agency, tel. : 0800-787-349.  

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