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New Zealand for the Hobbit Hunters

A look at the locations used for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies

New Zealand is a beautiful and fantastic country, with vibrant cities, lush green countryside and a wealth of golden, sandy beaches. It’s not hard to see why millions of people holiday here every year, and it was only a matter of time before some of the country’s beauty was given to the masses through film.

People from all over the world travel to New Zealand to see where the “The Lord of the Rings” films were made and take part in the many tours available. The Majority of the hobbit treks featured in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy was shot in New Zealand, and although many of the landscapes have been digitally remastered to add effect, the inherent beauty of the island still remains in every scene.

Lake in New Zealand
New Zealand is especially known by its lush countryside, beautiful lakes, and peacefulness
(Image by Freeimages.com)

Peter Jackson, director of all three films, is from New Zealand, and there was no other place he wanted to shoot the films according to his interviews. Having read the books, he was convinced that New Zealand was the place to recreate the stunning battles and adventures that Frodo and his friends experienced, and now that the Hobbit trilogy has aired the first film, New Zealand looks set to once again become the set for an epic voyage.

Let’s take a look at some of the locations used in New Zealand for the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and the Hobbit Trilogy.

Middle Earth

JRR Tolkien, the writer of the Lord of the Rings, imagined ‘middle earth’ as a mythical landscape, a place where one could take refuge in the wilderness but also a setting that saw epic battles unfold. With New Zealand’s vast stretches of countryside, much of which Peter Jackson has already seen for himself, there was no doubt that this was the place to recreate ‘middle earth’ on the big screen.

Although the sets for the next Hobbit film are being kept a close secret, Hobbiton, the Hobbits’ village from the Lord of the Rings, was created just south of Auckland in a place called Matamata. It was tweaked for the first Hobbit movie as it was a prequel, however much of it is essentially the same. It only takes two hours to drive here from Auckland, and there are daily set tours available if your kids can contain their excitement!

Beauty of New Zealand landscape
Magnificent views, beautiful nature and picturesque towns make New Zealand a true visual feast for the eyes.  (Image by Pixabay.com)

Tongariro National Park and Christchurch

Located near the town of Taupo, a popular tourist destination, Tongariro National Park is another beautiful location that was used in the first Hobbit movie. Most of the land used for filming was widely accessible to hikers; however other places in the park were remote, accessible by helicopter. If you’ve seen the Hobbit, you’ll know that there are many flyby shots of open land, rivers, lakes and hill sides, and nearly all of these where shot in the Tongariro National Park.

Christchurch was another location used to shoot the Hobbit as well as the Lord of the Rings. If you remember the scene where the men of Rohan and Gondor clash with Sauron’s orcs, then the battle ground was created in Mackenzie Country, just a few hours outside Christchurch.

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