In the first half of the twentieth century, an English academic called Tolkien dreamed up a world called Middle Earth, largely based on his childhood in Birmingham, Middle England. The result was the written trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. In the first years of the twenty-first century, a New Zealand film-maker called Jackson took those stories of Middle Earth and made them into visual feasts, a trilogy of films – The Fellowship of the Ring in 2001, The Two Towers in 2002, and Return of the King in 2003. Peter Jackson also turned to the landscapes of his childhood for Middle Earth, but halfway across the world, in the stunning landscapes of New Zealand.
At home in Wellington, Peter Jackson had at his fingertips a diversity of landscape and locations film-makers around the world would envy. He chose the rolling hills of Matamata for Hobbiton, the volcanic region of Mt Ruapehu as the fiery Mt Doom where The Ring was forged, and Queenstown and its surroundings for the Eregion Hills, the Pillars of Argonath and other scenic locations.
His use and adaptation of the landscape was so visionary and so committed, that many sites where filming took place have been kept as he left them – you can visit the Shire, the Gardens of Isengard where Gandalf rode to see Saruman and Orcs felled the trees, the River Anduin where Aragon was washed ashore after the attack of the Wargs, and Helms Deep. The magnificent Fernside Lodge was used for Lothlorien and the white bridge lives on keeping Lothlorien alive. Rivendell, where Frodo recovered from his knife attack, still resounds with storytelling.
Lord of the Rings on film won a total of 17 Academy Awards, a mammoth haul, and firmly put New Zealand on the map as a place to make movies – both for its talented actors and crews and for its amazing natural beauty. Middle Earth became a real and lasting place in the world. Now that’s a testament to good storytelling.
Reply by Viator, April 2013
Doing what: Wellington's Lord of the Rings Half Day Tour
We were greeted by very friendly guide named Mike, although it was a rainy morning his enthusiam for the subject of the Lord of the rings tour was great. Being in a small group was also good, as at each site visited we could gather around Mike as he showed us vision on his ipad of the location as it was in the movie. There was also no other crowds at any of the locations. We enjoyed the morning tea supplied and fresh muffins. I would recommend this tour to anyone else visiting Wellington, as you got to see some lovely parks and a trip to the top of wellington's lookout, great views.
Reply by Viator, April 2013
Doing what: The Lord of the Rings and Palliser Bay Tour from Wellington
Perfect day. Our guide Brian was excellent, very knowledgable and definitely went the extra mile. We could not fault anything. The forest trip and seeing the seals at Cape Palliser was a real hi light. Brian's driving was very safe and comfortable. We thoroughly enjoyed his company. Ross and Julia Walker and Ross and Maxine Houltham.
Reply by Viator, March 2013
Doing what: Wellington's Lord of the Rings Locations Tour including Lunch
Excellent tour especially for the film "geek". The tour guide was excellent and entertained us the whole way. We stopped at so many filming locations plus Weta Cave.
Great lunch as well. Totally recommended !