In 1958, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien wrote an angry letter, disappointed at how badly his epic books were treated. After a twelve-part radio series based upon The Lord of the Rings failed miserably, he knew that film production of either The Hobbit or the LOTR trilogy wouldn’t be any less painful.
And painful it was: there were a lot of attempts to create a screen version of Tolkien’s epic novels, but all of them weren’t worth any attention and were absolutely smashed by the Tolkien fandom.
Little did Tolkien know that only about 25 years after his death a director from New Zealand would create screen versions of both The Lord of the Rings and later The Hobbit, and turn this remote country into a real version of the Middle Earth.
Not only had the films made history, having won whopping 17 Oscars, Peter Jackson, the director of the trilogy, turned some of the most beautiful New Zealand locations into tourist attractions. This gave a huge boost to the economy of New Zealand. When the first Hobbit movie was released in 2012, it was reported that the tourism industry saw an increase in tourist flow, receiving over $33 million dollars annually.
Since then, New Zealand has become a Makkah for the Tolkien fandom. Peter Jackson used many locations to film different scenes from the LOTR trilogy and The Hobbit. But what are these locations? Let’s take a look.
Matamata aka The Shire
This wonderful location mothered a lot of the most iconic scenes from both the LOTR trilogy and The Hobbit. Wonderful, homey Hobbiton or The Shire, where hobbits live a peaceful life, is a place where many Tolkien fans swear they want to live and die.
And it’s literally to die for. When you visit this place, you instantly get chills and The Shire theme starts playing in your head. Elijah Wood aka Frodo Baggins said that he would never forget the feeling when he first got to see The Shire: “there are so many feelings of nostalgia and history.”
Indeed, Peter Jackson and his team did a wonderful job depicting the life and traditions of hobbits, and they did it with so much love and respect for these characters that you can instantly feel it when you take your first glance at this stunning location.
How can you get there?
Hobbiton Tours provides everyone with a detailed map, how to get to the Matamata filming location from different directions. There are also transfers for tourists, organized from different cities around Matamata.
This location is definitely worth visiting: great tours, great parties and feasts at The Dragon Inn – all these are unique experiences for the fans of Tolkien.
Kaitoke Regional Park aka Rivendell
One of the most mysterious Middle Earth locations is Rivendell, a place where a lot of pivotal events from the LOTR trilogy and The Hobbit took place. Moreover, Rivendell was the place where the most breathtaking shots from the movies were taken. And while most of them were created by Weta Workshop, the location itself is very much real.
The tours to the Kaitoke Regional Park, the home of Rivendell, are organized by the Greater Wellington Regional Council. You will walk through the Elvish Gate to embark on the tour, where the guide will take you to the LOTR and The Hobbit filming locations and tell you about behind-the-scenes secrets.
How can you get there?
The Council’s website provides detailed information on directions and opening hours. You can also contact the ranger to receive additional information on transportation and help if you plan camping at the Kaitoke Regional Park.
Wellington aka Isengard, River Anduin, Osgiliath, and Weta Workshop
This is a must-visit location for die-hard Tolkien and Peter Jackson fans. Mount Victoria, located near this city, and the wooded area around it was used for shooting the scenes at the Hobbiton woods. Hutt River became River Anduin and Harcourt Park was transformed into Isengard.
Wellington Council did a really good job providing tourists with access to all these locations. “Transfers are organized multiple times throughout the day and tourists are provided with accommodations, which allows faster access to all of these locations”, says Richard Peters, a marketing specialist at Flatfy, the company that provides tourist accommodations around the world.
A must-visit place for the fans of the Tolkien movies is Weta Workshop, which was responsible for creating the most iconic scenes from the LOTR trilogy and the Hobbit. This is a great opportunity to immerse yourself into the art of film making and get an exclusive peek at the behind-the-scenes production process.
How to get there?
Greater Wellington Regional Council provides tourists with easy access to all the tourist locations for the Tolkien fandom. Wellington is very easy to get to, either by plane, by bus or by car.
Weta Workshop is located in the heart of the city. It provides daily tours for the Tolkien fans. There are also full-experience tours that are held in various languages for guests from around the world.
While we only described the most essential places which both the LOTR and The Hobbit fans should visit, there are many other locations where these movies were filmed. Visiting these places should definitely be on every Tolkien fan’s bucket list, as this journey will be filled with unforgettable experiences that you’ll cherish all your life.
Kate is a passionate writer who likes sharing her thoughts and experience with the readers. Currently, she works as a real estate agent at Flatfy.ro. She likes everything related to traveling and new countries.