When the groundbreaking The Lord of the Rings (LotR) trilogy started in 2001, viewers were dazzled by the movies’ stunning scenes which were ahead of its time thought to be mostly rendered in CGI rather than being shot naturally.
Little did they know that New Zealand was chosen to portray the backdrop of the scenes in the movie and is now referred to as Middle Earth by diehard fans thanks to remnants that were left from the movie sets.
New Zealand’s wonderful and gorgeous scenery with its massive plains, gigantic mountains fit for the movies’ battle scenes, and bending valleys were chosen as locations to film not only the LotR trilogy but also The Hobbit series.
Over 100 locations throughout New Zealand were used to film the movies and because of that, activities and tours popped up to offer tourists like you the opportunity to experience Middle Earth for yourself!
The history of New Zealand as the film location
Back in 1998, Peter Jackson (director of the famous Tolkien films) directed his team to find locations to capture the essence of the books’ settings which needed to be vast, majestic, and atmospheric.
Finally, they settled down in Jackson’s native New Zealand with a reason.
After a search across New Zealand, Jackson’s team quickly settled on a large sheep farm named the Alexander Farm which he thought was perfect for the movie.
This is because the farm and the area surrounding it was incredibly similar to the settings of the book; the vast landscape meant that Jackson’s ideas could come to life without many issues.
The surroundings were also unaffected by technology which would have been a pain to deal with back then without expensive CGI. There were no obstructing power lines, no buildings that could dampen the Middle Earth experience as well as no visible roads which was ideal to keep the movie’s mythical backdrop in place.
A year later, the movie crew started working on building the movie set to bring Jackson’s (and Tolkien’s) ideas to life. They were not alone; the New Zealand Army also gave a helping hand and with a 400-man crew, the movie set construction finished not too long after.
Filming started at the end of the same year and the rest remains etched in history as the trilogy established itself as one of the best movies of all-time, picking up multiple awards along the way.
Although the movie sets were supposed to be demolished after filming, some sets remained which opened up a unique opportunity to New Zealanders. These remnants were reproduced and soon, tourists flocked to New Zealand just to experience the magic of the movies.
At the start of 2009, Jackson returned to his homeland to film the Hobbit trilogy, a series of films that predates the LotR series. Acting exactly like how he did 10 years ago, Jackson left behind the movie sets, but this time untouched, to help fans and tourists to live and breathe like the Hobbits.
What is the best way to experience it in New Zealand?
The best way to experience the movie sets is to go on a private guided tour with agencies that specifically have packages for it.
By going with a private guided tour, you get to:
- Experience all of the best parts of the movie sets and not miss out on anything special along the way
- Explore areas that might not have been accessible if you went on your own
- Learn new things and experiences from helpful local guides
- Enjoy the best parts of New Zealand along the trip
- Have full privacy because you will only be travelling with people you know. And more importantly, you will have a blast with your friends and family along the trip with a guided tour!
The best private guided tours for The Lord of the Rings experience in New Zealand
Private guided tours are usually broken down into two packages:
- A tour on the South Island
- And another one on the North Island
First-time tourists often confuse themselves by thinking that both islands are similar; they’re not!
In general, the North Island gives off a more metropolitan vibe with its modern cities and beautiful skyline. The North Island is great if you want to enjoy the atmosphere of major cities like Tokyo or New York without too much of the hustle and bustle of a modern city.
The South Island is home to gorgeous flora and fauna, many of which are unique to New Zealand like the Kiwi and Kakapo parrot. The island also contains plenty of heart-stopping activities like the first ever bungee jump location – you won’t experience adrenaline rushes as great as those in the South Island.
You can’t go wrong with either option; again, the best way to go on a trip that you know you will enjoy is to consult the help of an experienced, local travel agency.
Over here at The Road Trip, we came up with exclusive private guided tours just for eager tourists like you that covers every single movie set of the LotR and Hobbit movies as well as popular attractions in New Zealand.
Enjoy a 6-day Lord of the Rings New Zealand tour on the North Island
Looking for a peaceful getaway but don’t have much time to dally around?
The Lord of the Rings New Zealand tour is just right for not only the LotR fans but also for casual tourists who want to experience the atmosphere and legacy of the films.
In this trip, you’ll be led on a 2-hour journey across the sets along the Waikato farmland, a vast land of space filled with fresh air thanks to the greenery surrounding it.
You’ll also spend a night in Tongariro National Park paired with an exciting helicopter rider over Mount Ngauruhoe, the setting of the iconic Mount Doom in the films.
Finally, you’ll enjoy a peaceful raft down the River Anduin, also known as the Great River in the movies. As you enjoy the ride, don’t forget to capture the magnificent views along the way!
If a 6-day trip is just a little too short for you, we also have an 8-day trip which includes extra activities for you to make the most out of your holidays.
What about an 8-day trip on the South Island followed by a private Lord of the Rings tour?
Like the North Island trip, you’ll also enjoy a helicopter ride over the South Island’s gorgeous landscape. This time, you’ll fly over helicopter flight over Mount Owen, the movie set for Dimrill Dale where Gandalf was mourned by the Fellowship.
You’ll also spend some time in Queenstown, also known as the adventure capital of the world thank to its abundance of extreme activities. Again, you’ll get the chance to explore iconic scenes in the movie like the memorable Pillars of the Kings, the Gladden Fields, and a field trip to the Mount Cook National Park.
This trip is a good choice for tourists who want to sit back and enjoy their holidays without much hassles and issues.
If anything happens along the trip, we’ll handle it for you!
A complete 16-day Lord of the Rings private tour on both the North and South Island
This tour is perfect for hardcore LotR fans or tourists who want to enjoy the best of both worlds instead of heading to just one island.
This 16-day trip covers everything in the itineraries mentioned above and you’ll also be given exclusive access to locations and experiences that are not available to the common traveller.
Just like our other trips, your happiness is our priority and we will satisfy your needs and solve any problems along the way as best as we can.
We want you to relax, have fun, and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime trip with us in New Zealand!
About the Road Trip
We have a reputation for preparation and detail that goes above and beyond – making excellent recommendations for your itinerary as well as including the best stops to enjoy the scenery and take memorable photos on your next time.
We offer a wide choice of private tour packages and you can select one based on your needs and travel expectations.
From an 8-day North Island private tour that covers the very best of the North Island to a 16-day adventure in New Zealand’s South Island, we’ve got your travelling needs covered.
We’ll be more than happy to discuss your interests and the length of your stay, before putting together an itinerary that is tailored exclusively for you.
Over here at The Road Trip, we have several tour packages on offer for visitors.
From a 19-day luxury tour that covers both the North and South island to a short 6-day luxury tour for those who don’t have too much time, we have it all.
We are one of the leading tour provider in New Zealand with a host of awards under our name. You can check out our client testimonials over here.
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