J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, once wrote “not all those who wander are lost,” and as my fellow travelers can attest, this statement always rings true. With the upcoming release of the Hobbit movie, New Zealand is expecting an influx of visitors wishing to see the beautiful country that doubled for Middle-Earth in the movies. These are the top destinations to visit if you want to experience this fantasy tale first-hand.
1. Matamata, North Island
Hobbits come from an idyllic countryside known as the Shire. In the movies, the hobbits come from Matamata. It’s a small town just a few miles outside of the city of Hamilton. Originally, after the filming of the Lord of the Rings, the entire set was destroyed, but once plans for the Hobbits movies moved forward, the sets were left up and visitors can now take a tour of Hobbiton and Bywater and see Bag-End just as Frodo and Bilbo left it.
2.Wellington, North Island
The entire trilogy was filmed all over various parts of the New Zealand countryside, but for more intimate scenes, many sets were constructed at a warehouse in downtown Wellington known as Stone Street Studios. It’s a working film studio so lucky fans may even catch a glimpse of Sir Peter Jackson or their favorite actors dashing about. There is also a gift-shop where you can buy souvenirs and gifts for your fellow Hobbit lovers.
3. Queenstown, South Island
Queenstown and the surrounding area doubled as Rohan, home of the horse lords, for many different scenes in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and no matter where you look, you’re bound to recognize the South Island from various parts of the movie. Queenstown is also known as the adventure capital of the world, so book a white-water rafting trip down the Kawarau River, which made its movie debut as the River Anduin, or take a helicopter ride over the mountains to see the Pelennor Fields where one of the most pivotal battles took place.
Because of the way that the movies were filmed, both islands of New Zealand were used throughout principle photography to make Middle-Earth come alive, so don’t worry about missing anything, because once you step onto the road, if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you’ll be swept off to.
Written by the Marketing Department for Los Angeles car accident lawyer, Paul E. Lee