Everybody knows that New Zealand is the home of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies. It’s no secret that Peter Jackson chose New Zealand as the perfect destinations to represent Middle-Earth and there are some great posts covering some of the most famous filming locations.
We have indeed covered this very popular topic before, however, it’s one that never grows old for us and with so many people asking us about the best places to head if you want to get your Lord of the Rings or Hobbit fix, we asked our team to send in their top tips.
There were loads of suggestions so we’ve narrowed it down to the 5 most popular locations that you really should visit the next time you are in New Zealand.
Without further ado, here are our top 5 Lord of the Rings filming locations that you can literally go and visit right now. Do it!
Kawarau Gorge – Central Otago
Lord of the Rings Location: Anduin River
First found in the very first Lord of the Rings movie, the Fellowship are seen paddling down the Anduin River where they are greeted by two towering statues. Whilst you will be hard pressed to spot these in real life (they were added in post-production), the river itself is magnificent and is a great area to explore.
As well as exploring Lord of the Rings territory, you can also do a whole bunch of activities in the Kawarau Gorge including jet boating, bungee jumping and canyon swinging. It’s one of our favourite places to visit in the South Island and is found just a short 20-minute drive out of Queenstown in the heart of wine-growing country.
Putangirua Pinnacles Scenic Reserve – Wairarapa
Lord of the Rings Location: Paths of the Dead
We think this is one of the coolest of all the film locations you can visit as it is so eerie. You really can imagine yourself walking down the Paths of the Dead. Located around the coast from Wellington, heading out on the road to Cape Palliser, the Putangirua Pinnacles Scenic Reserve is a great place to explore. There are some fantastic walking trails in the reserve that are well-marked, ensuring you don’t wander off and come across anything too creepy!
Mount Sunday – Canterbury
Lord of the Rings Location: Edoras
Mount Sunday was an easy selection for the city of Edoras. As you drive through the Canterbury Plains, you will easily spot this sheer-sided hill right in the middle of an expansive plain in the Rangitat River Valley – it stands out a mile. As soon as you see it, you’ll say ‘I recognise that place!’ Home to the people of Rohan in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, it is possible to head to the summit of Mount Sunday where you will be rewarded with some stunning views of the surrounding plains with the Southern Alps as your backdrop. A stunning location.
Fiordland National Park – Te Anau
Lord of the Rings Location: Fanghorn Forest
Fiordland National Park is one of New Zealand’s finest and most stunning. It’s perhaps no surprise that Peter Jackson was keen to use it in the filming of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. If it was easier to get to, it may perhaps have featured more, however, it provided the location for Fanghorn Forest in the Two Towers and provided some truly stunning scenery for the shots filmed on location.
The park is, of course, huge – at 1.2 million hectares, there is plenty to explore including mountains, rainforest, lakes and fjords. It’s also home to two of New Zealand’s Great Walks so there is no shortage of things to do. Whilst Fanghorn Forest showcased a darker side of the movie, a visit to Fiordland National Park will enlighten the soul.
Lake Pukaki – Canterbury
The Hobbit Location: Laketown
For anyone who has made the journey to Lake Pukaki, you will know the exact reason why it was chosen as the home of Laketown in the Hobbit Trilogy. The glacial waters that flow into the lake give it a vibrant turquoise/blue colour that really has to be seen to be believed. If you catch it on the right day, it really looks as though the water has been dyed.
Laketown is an important destination in the Hobbit movies and a visit to Lake Pukaki opens up all sorts of options. Lake Pukaki is the gateway to Aoraki Mt Cook National Park – the drive to Mt Cook Village will take you along the shores of Lake Pukaki. It’s also just a short drive from Tekapo where you will find similar hues of turquoise and blue on the water. Lake Pukaki is a great place to spend a couple of days and let your imagination run wild.
So, there you have it. Our personal favourites and the GO Rentals top five filming locations for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit Trilogies. You can, of course, discover more of the locations used in the filming of these two amazing trilogies in other blog posts but if you had to pick a top five – these would be ours! Make sure you check out our awesome Trip Planner where you will find many if not all of these locations included on our various itineraries.