December 11, 2012 by Amanda
Today’s guest post comes from fellow travel blogger and New Zealand-lover Laurence Norah of Finding the Universe. Along with being an avid traveler, Laurence is also perhaps as big of a “Lord of the Rings” geek as I am. And, since Laurence had the opportunity to visit some NZ movie locations more recently than me, I asked him to put this post together to celebrate the release of Peter Jackson’s first “Hobbit” film (which hits theaters in the U.S. on Friday!). Get ready to be wowed by Laurence’s awesome Middle-Earth photography!
It’s Mount Doom!
It’s no secret that my year long trip to New Zealand recently was basically just an excuse to seek out any filming location from the Lord of the Rings. I’m a bit of a geek like that.
And I was, I have to say, pretty darn successful. spending time conquering mighty Mount Doom, exploring the barren wastelands of Mordor, and even popping in to the actual home of the Weta production company in Wellington!
The highlight of the visit though was the rebuilt set of Hobbiton, near the town of Matamata on New Zealand’s north island, which was all ready for the filming of the new Hobbit trilogy.
This had been taken down after the filming of the first trilogy, due to a sad clause in the filming contract that stipulated that all sets be returned to their natural state (I spent a lot of time wandering around in woodland trying to find locations that no longer existed!), but due to the new movies, had been rebuilt even grander than before. Naturally we took the opportunity to hop on a tour.
The photos in today’s post are all from New Zealand Lord of the Rings filming locations, with the majority featuring the lovely Hobbiton. Enjoy!
The famous party tree in Hobbiton – where Bilbo threw his 111th birthday party and then vanished for good.
The detail that has gone into creating these little hobbit holes is quite amazing. The tour lasts for nearly three hours – it’s a pretty massive set!
Fabulous Hobbit-style signs dot the landscape.
It’s the Green Dragon pub – after filming this time, the set isn’t going to be torn down, and rumour has it that this is going to become a real live pub. Now that would be a way to end the tour!
This is the big one folks – it’s Bag End, where BIlbo lives, and where the adventures all began. Also, film buffs take note – the tree above the house is entirely fake!
It’s not all Hobbiton of course! The Putiranga Pinnacles, a stone’s throw from Wellington, are where the Paths of the Dead were filmed. Film buffs will also recognise it as being where Peter Jackson filmed the opening sequence of his horror movie Brain Dead. Pretty cool!
And finally for today, sometimes the quest to find a location can be a bit frustrating, or a bit, well, niche. Take this pool for example, where Gollum caught a fish. I wasn’t totally sure I was at the right pool, but, well, the view was pretty darn epic nonetheless, so I gave myself a point for effort anyway!
Thanks for reading today’s post! If you enjoyed it, you might want to check out more Lord of the Rings-themed posts over at Laurence’s travel and photography blog Finding the Universe, including even more photos from the hobbiton tour!
Would you ever visit New Zealand in order to seek out Lord of the Rings/Hobbit filming locations?