Creating middle earth should have been the toughest of all jobs for the set designers of Lord of the Rings
But New Zealand’s natural assets did much of the hard graft for them. Journey here to find everything from the green sward of the shire to evil Mount Doom.
After the release of Peter Jackson’s epic Lord of the Rings triology the New zealand board authority could afford to put its feet up for a while. This has to be the first time that a country has become a vast film set – then it does have a uniquely varied geology. In an area slightly smaller than Italy you can choose fron soaring mountains, neat pastures, lush forests and vast plains.
At Matamata on the north side of new Zealand part of the set of Bilbo’s and Frodo’s home village Hobbiton remains looking for all the world like a greener and pleasanter version of England. Head beyond Hamilton to post Waikato for the forbidding slopes of weathertop. the winter playground at Mount Ruapehu became Mount Doom.
It’s the South Island where the odyssey truly begins. Near Christchurch the Cantebury plains and Mount Sunday become home of the city of Edoras and Court of Meduseld. Around Glenorchy and Arrowtown a spectacular series of lakes and peaks were used to create landscapes of Middle Earth. Twizel in the Mackenzie Country was the natural setting for the visually stunning battle of Pelennor Fields.
There are more than enough maps and guides for visitors to hire a car and embark on a quest to find the ring for themselves. However it is worth taking a helicopter or balloon tour to see the full glory of the landscape around Kahurangi National Park, Mount sunday and Queenstown.