Calling all movie buffs!
In fact, scratch that, calling all travel lovers!
The rolling green hills of New Zealand had a starring role in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and whet everyone’s appetite for a visit to Middle-earth, and now we get to see the landscape of New Zealand bought to life on the big screen all over again when Lord of The Rings prequel The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is released in the UK on the 13th December – yay!
To celebrate the release of The Hobbit and reminisce about the ‘amazingness’ (it’s a word!) of New Zealand in general, I’m about to walk you through 5 of the Kiwi the locations you’ll be able to spot in the film.
Mount Doom is back!
5 New Zealand locations from The Hobbit movie
Tongariro National Park
One of the famous icons from the Lord of The Rings movies, Mt Ngauruhoe (or Mount Doom to give it its fictional, but much more dramatic name), sits regally in the grounds of Tongariro National Park about 70kms from Taupo on the North Island.
The Tongariro trail is consistently voted as one of the best one day hikes in the world and those looking for an added challenge can choose to scale the imposing, and often snow capped, mountain for the extra rush of achievement. But, take this warning from someone who found out the hard way she was too unfit to step up to the plate; the climb will add an extra 3hrs to your Tongariro adventure, you’ll also need very sturdy walking boots and potentially be good at dodging rolling rocks from the summit as they roll past you. However, the incredible view of the national park and beyond that you’ll be welcomed by at the top, will be an excellent reward.
Queenstown, the ultimate big kids playground. Be as adventurous as you dare and push yourself to the limit by skydiving, bungy jumping, canyon swinging, white water rafting and generally scaring yourself stupid.
Or, of course, you could just spend your time chilling on the side of the shore with a beer and feeding your new Fergburger addiction, either way the general consensus is that no trip to New Zealand is complete without a stop in Queenstown – The Hobbit crew obviously thought so.
Frodo and the Fergburger - probably not in the film, but it should be...Image courtesy of Jordan Sim
Hobbiton – Matamata, Waikato
Arguably the most recognisable Lord of The Rings location and one of the North Island’s most famous attractions, Hobbiton returns for The Hobbit movie (of course).
Hobbiton can be found within Alexander Farm, an area just outside of Rotorua, Waikato. It was spotted by Peter Jackson during an aerial tour of the New Zealand country side while looking for film locations, and fitted perfectly with the description of the Shire as described by J.R.R. Tolkien in his famous books. The rest is history…
It’s a big pull for travellers to the North Island. You can visit the site and take tours around the very same green land frequented by the likes of Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Elijah Wood (Frodo), and Sir Ian Holm (Bilbo), during filming of The Hobbit and all 3 Lord of the Rings films before it.
Land yourself smack bang in the middle of Middle-earth (just 20mins outside of Rotorua)
A secluded spot so beautiful, you’ll be suspecting some kind of magic, Photoshop shenanigans have occurred. Lake Pukaki is an alpine lake that runs along the northern edge of the Mackenzie Basin on the South Island.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy was previously filmed in the area and Peter Jackson and co have returned to use the glacial lakes and mountain ranges as the backdrop to The Hobbit.
Lake Pukaki, Mackenzie Basin. Amaze.
The adventure capital of the North Island, and scene of the most exhilarating and amazing experience of my life – a summer’s day skydive, complete with unbeatable views over the bright blue water of Lake Taupo and the surrounding snow sapped mountains – amazing.