If you are a fan of Lord of the Rings, you know that director Peter Jackson really brought the book to life in the movies. He had a little help from Mother Nature and the beautiful landscapes of New Zealand. Did you know that you can actually visit the read life Middle Earth in New Zealand? Not only can you see the breathtaking scenery from the fantasy movies in person, you can also visit the rebuilt set where the Hobbit’s shire comes to life. It is called Hobbiton and it is located in Matamata on the North Island close to Auckland. Tours are available that take you to different filming locations throughout the country. While in New Zealand, you can see other filming locations for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. However, the wonderful thing about these tours and visiting New Zealand is that the scenes are beautiful and the tours are full of excitement and information, you will enjoy it even if you didn’t see the movies or read the books. There are different “Middle Earth” tours throughout New Zealand some include just movie sets and scenes and others include a combination of Middle Earth scenery with New Zealand holiday hot spots. Here are the places you can visit and the tours you can take to bring fantasy and wonder to your holiday in New Zealand:

 

Hobbiton

Hobbiton is the highlight of any Lord of the Rings Middle Earth tour in New Zealand. You’ll feel as though Bilbo or Frodo Baggins might show up at an moment. The guided tour here includes the 44 Hobbit-holes which are magically and completely rebuilt just as they were in the films. In addition to the Hobbit’s homes and garden shire, you can stop in the Green Dragon Inn or the Good George Brewery for a mug of ale. Other stops on the tour include Bag End, the 1,250 acre sheep farm, the mill, and the Party Tree; all with the picturesque Kaimai Ranges towering in the background.

 

Hairy Feet Waitomo Tour

Touring the different filming locations, one thing becomes quickly evident: magical scenery is not only reserved for movie magic. The landscapes and scenery in New Zealand is quite magical on its own without any help from editing or movie sets. The Mangaotaki Valley Farm is no exception and you will be awed by the natural beauty here.Your tour hosts are Warrick and Suzie Denize, this they are the 3rd generation owners of this family farm in this beautiful location. You will recognise the towering limestone cliffs, massive rock formations, and the primeval native forest as the filming location of the Trollshaws Forest. Scenes were filmed here for the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The tours occur twice daily, which ensures they are small and personalised. The scenes filmed here include:

 

  • The Company arriving at a destroyed farmhouse
  • The exit from the cave containing the troll hoard
  • Gandalf bestowing the sword, “Sting” upon Bilbo
  • Radagast arriving
  • The Orcs and Wargs attacking

 

You can have your picture taken at the exact spot where Gandalf gave Bilbo “Sting”. The Mangaotaki Valley, home to the Hairy Feet Waitomo Tours are located in New Zealand’s King Country near the village of Piopio. It is a 3 hour drive south of Auckland (a cinch in an About New Zealand Rental Car) and just 45 minutes from the famous Waitomo Caves. Of course, while visiting the Mangaotaki Valley Farm, you must also see the amazing Waitomo Caves. They are known for the glowworms in them!


 

21 Day Middle Earth New Zealand Tour Itinerary

NewZealand.com has put together the “Ultimate Middle Earth Itinerary. It is a 21 day journey that takes you through New Zealand with highlights of top spots for Lord of the Rings stops as well as popular vacation spots. While touring New Zealand, you will find that tours take place in the air, on the water, and by any means you can think of. The tour begins on the North Island in Auckland and ends in Queenstown on the South Island. Some of the Lord of the Rings and New Zealand highlights include:

 

  • Visit Hobbiton just south of Auckland at the beginning of your New Zealand journey.
  • Next take the Hairy Feet Waitomo tour we detailed above that includes the Mangaotaki Valley and the Waitomo Caves with glowworms.
  • South of Waitomo on the way to Taupo, take a boat cruise to the Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay.
  • South of Taupo is Wellington, a city at the south end of the North Island. Nearby filing locations include Mt Victoria, Kaitoke Regional Park, Hutt River, Harcourt Park, Seatoun, Lyall Bay, Mt Crawford, Nazgul, Rivendell, and Isengard Gardens.
  • After crossing to the South Island, the tour takes you to Blenheim and then Nelson where nearby filming locations include Chetwood Forest, Pelorus River, Mt Olympus and Mt Owen, Canaan Downs, Aorere River, and Kaihoka Station.
  • While in Nelson, you can visit Jens Hansen Goldsmith, the maker of the ‘One Ring’ as well as many other Tolkien-themed items.
  • As you continue south to Christchurch and then Mt Cook, nearby filming locations include Mt Potts Station (Erewhon), Mount Sunday(Edoras), Southern Alps (Misty Mountains), Mackenzie country / Twizel (Pelennor Fields), Braemar Station and Tasman Downs Station.
  • From Aoraki Mt Cook to Wanaka more filming locations include Treble Cone (Misty Mountains pathways), Earnslaw Burn (Misty Mountains), and wild country as the backdrop for eagles soaring.
  • The 21 day trip comes to an end in Queenstown with nearby filming locations: Kawarau River (Pillars of the Kings), Arrow River and Skippers Canyon (Ford of Bruinen), Deer Park Heights, The Remarkables (Dimrill Dale), Closeburn (Amon Hen), Twelve Mile Delta (Ithilien Camp), Glenorchy/ Paradise (Isengard, Lothlorien), Dart River (Amon Hen, Isengard and Lothlorien), Routeburn Track Road (Isengard), Mavora Lakes (Fangorn Forest, Nen Hithoel), Mararoa River (Silverlode River), Passburn