Even those who have never been to New Zealand will be familiar with its scenery – through the lens of a camera, where it became the real life equivalent of Middle Earth from Tolkien mythology. Though models and special effects were also utilised, the vast majority of the cinematography in Lord of The Rings is straight from the beautiful locations that New Zealand provides. The South Island in particular offers a range of locations, with sprawling plains (perfect for Orc battles) and high snowy peaks. Though some filming sites had to be accessed by helicopter, others can be accessed easily by the public (though a four wheel drive vehicle is recommended, in case you need to head off road). For movie fans and scenery seekers alike, they’re always worth a look. You can base your tour around the locations, or simply head off on a detour if you happen to be passing nearby.
South Island Lord of The Rings Locations
There are many locations up and down the country, so wherever your journey takes you there’s sure to be somewhere to visit.
- Outcrop South of Rivendell. Located in the Kahurangi National Park in the Marlborough region, this is a challenging walk in but worth it for those who want to see where the Fellowship hid from the crebain, Saruman’s black crows.
- Edoras. Used extensively throughout the films as the capital of Rohan and home to Meduseld, this will be of definite interest to any Tolkien fan. Located in Canterbury in the Hakatere Conservation Park, you can drive most of the way there for views of the filming location. For those wanting a closer look, you can climb Mount Sunday itself.
- Ford of Bruinen. One of the most beloved scenes in the film trilogy is when Arwen defeats the Nazgul by summoning a flood to roar down the valley and wash them away. It was filmed in Skippers Canyon near Queenstown, however this can only be accessed by a narrow and winding road, and it’s recommended that only experienced drivers attempt it.
- Isengard. Gandalf’s ride up to Isengard takes place in a location known as Dan’s Paddock, in the Mount Aspiring National Park. It can be accessed via Glenorchy Paradise Rd, which you can either drive yourself or have a tour guide take you and point out the different sights.
For any Lord of The Rings fan, seeing these locations in the flesh is an unforgettable experience. They may require an unexpected journey to reach, but the end result is certainly worth it.