While some people go on vacation to New Zealand; others go traveling to Middle Earth. For lovers of J.R.R Tolkien’s works of fiction, a trip to the islands of New Zealand is a real chance to set foot in the backdrop of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Along with The Hobbit movies, these films have certainly placed New Zealand on the world map in the best way possible. Here are a range of cinematic experiences you can enjoy in New Zealand:
The Lord of the Rings
Director of the trilogy series Peter Jackson certainly knew how to transform New Zealand into Middle Earth. Hire a car and drive across New Zealand to stop at different locations and spot famous Lord of the Rings sites. Some notable destinations your road trip itinerary must include are:
-Glenorchy, near Queenstown, where the Misty Mountains can be seen.
-Kawarau Gorge, where the natural scenery was transformed into the Pillars of the Kings.
-Located in North Island, Mount Ngauruhoe became Mount Doom.
Driving into the middle of the North Island in New Zealand means you will be entering The Shire. Although a drive is a lot different from walking barefoot Bilbo Baggins style, the experience can be just as Hobbit-like. At Waikato, near Rotorua, you can stop and take part in the Hobbiton Movie Set Tour and be taken across the 12-acre setting where the round doors of Hobbit holes are still intact.
The 2002 movie titled Whale Rider was filmed where the novel is set, i.e. in Whangara, a coastal village where the Maori population claim descent from Paikea. This tiny beachside town may not seem like it has a lot to offer, but if you’re looking for some place to relax and enjoy the ocean views during your New Zealand road trip, this is certainly the place. Revel in the quiet beauty of this quaint town. Movie-buffs will be pleased to learn that this is where camera crews captured the beauty of the town for the big screen.
Any Questions for Ben
A film made locally in Melbourne, Any Questions for Ben used Queenstown as a backdrop for several scenes in the movie. Just like two characters in the movie, you too can sit back, relax, and appreciate the views of The Remarkables mountain range. This popular destination on the South Island is perfect all year-round, with the sun dancing on the peaks in the summer, and snow-smothered peaks making the mountains picture-perfect in the winter. The Remarkables are well worth a day trip to, in the Queenstown region.
The Last Samurai
The Taranaki region of the North Island isn’t exactly Japan, but the movie set of The Last Samurai brilliantly transformed it into something uncannily similar to portray Japanese landscape and culture of the 19thcentury. Driving through this region provides you with scenic views of lakes and mountains. Much of the shooting for the film centred on the hillsides of the Uruti Valley, which was re-modelled to imitate Japanese rural life of the 1860s. Mount Taranaki, New Zealand’s best-loved mountain, looked stunning as Mount Fujiyama.