New Zealand as Middle Earth

New Zealand has long been a mecca for film productions and move-lovers. The epic scenery and varied landscapes make it the perfect backdrop for every genre from fantasy to action and adventure and even romance.

Hobbiton and Middle Earth in New Zealand

Every year, thousands of visitors flock to New Zealand to experience some of their favourite film locations first hand. Many arrive on the hunt for the breath-taking landscapes featured in Sir Peter Jackson’s re-imagining of JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Ring and The Hobbit, both of which became a global phenomenon following the premier of The Fellowship of the Ring in 2001.

From the eerie barren plains of Mount Doom, which we know as Mount Ruapehu, to the Plains of Edoras with their mountainous backdrop and the cosy confines of Hobbiton (known to the locals as Matamata); those making a cinematic pilgrimage will not be disappointed with what’s on offer.

New Zealand isn’t a one-trick pony. As well as providing the setting for Middle Earth, it’s also home to King Kong, The Piano, and the Taranaki region even became Japan for The Last Samurai, starring Tom Cruise. Those who enjoyed The Chronicles of Narnia should make their way to Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel to explore the ruins of Cair Paravel. The ruin was built specifically for the film, but the stunning beach scenery and endless bays and coves stretching out along the Coromandel Peninsula will keep you more the satisfied.

Wellington is also home to Weta Digital, a VFX company founded by Sir Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, and Jamie Selkirk back in 1993, and Weta Workshop which now has a movie-based visitor experience with a unique behind-the-scenes look at the props, models and prosthetics.

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Why Film Lovers Choose Silver Fern

Where the locations are both accessible and recognisable, there are well-organised excursions that can be added to your holiday. On the right-hand side of this page, you’ll find a 16-day example itinerary designed specifically for lovers of The Lord of the Rings franchise. It’s been carefully designed to incorporate not only some of the most iconic scenes from the films, but also to include some of the countries cultural highlights.

We highly recommend embarking on a 4×4 discovery of the Wakatipu basin that takes in the ‘Ford of Bruinen’ and the ‘Misty Mountains’ as part of a full-day trip from Queenstown. Another memorable day in and around Wellington starts at Mount Victoria where Frodo infamously shouts “get off the road” before a Black Rider made its first entrance.

If you’re keen to explore New Zealand’s cinematic landscapes, we can help make this happen. Simply get in touch with the team and let us know what you’re interested in as well as any other requirements including budget, duration and transport preferences and we’ll get to work creating you the ultimate tailor-made itinerary.

For true aficionados looking to discover Middle Earth independently during their New Zealand holiday, we can recommend the location guides written by New Zealander Ian Brodie which will help you to plan your route around the film location hot spots.