One of the main reasons I wanted to visit New Zealand was because I wanted to see the scenery from Lord of the Rings. After watching the Lord of the Rings series, I was bound and determined to see what I saw in the film in person with my own two eyes. Knowing that the movies were filmed in New Zealand made visiting even more exciting because I knew I would soon be walking through Middle-earth. Now that I have seen the dramatic mountain scenery, I can understand why Peter Jackson and the Lord of the Rings cast and crew chose NZ.
The landscape of New Zealand’s adventure capital and surrounding area was the perfect place to film Lord of the Rings. Nomad Safaris gave me the opportunity to view some key locations used for the trilogy, including Queenstown’s famous Lake Wakatipu which was used to create scenes for Lothlorien, home to the Lady of the Forest, Galadriel. Queenstown was the perfect place for me to start my Lord of the Rings tour. I started that tour on my way to Queenstown by stopping at the iconic Kawarau River, which flows into Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu and on to Cromwell. The Kawarau River became the site of Argonath-the Pillars of the Kings. The only thing which could have made visiting the river better would be rafting down it, but rafting had already been closed for the winter season.
Nomad’s half day pioneer 4×4 Safari of the Scenes tour helped me discover firsthand the filming locations of Lord of the Rings from Queenstown all the way south to Paradise. Safari of the Scenes showed me what Tolkien imagined in New Zealand’s high country. Each area that we visited was extraordinarily unique and real. “New Zealand IS Middle-earth. It had every geological formation and geographical landscape you can imagine…and some you can’t (Elijha Wood)”. I didn’t need to visit a film set to see where Lord of the Rings was filmed; I was able to experience the natural beauty of the area which embodied Middle-earth.
Here are some of the sights I saw:
The Southern Alps-Misty mountains
The Remarkables – Dimrill Dale
View of Deer Park Heights- The Two Towers
12 mile delta – Ithilien
Lake Head of Lake Wakatipu
Glenorchy- Insengard & Lothlorien
Mount Aspiring National Park
Prior to arriving in Queenstown I also saw on the south island numerous other spots where parts of Lord of the Rings was filmed.
Seeing the filming locations brought Lord of the Rings to life right in front of me. If it weren’t for the film I don’t know if I would have had that burning desire to visit New Zealand. New Zealand truly is one of the most magnificent and impressive places on earth.