Chris Tham's Travel Diary - 11-22 April 2004

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21 April 2004

Day 10 (Wed 21 April) - Te Anau to Queenstown

Today is the last day of the guided tour as we visit several locations around Queenstown on SH 94, then 6. We travelled from Te Anau in the morning, stopping by at various locations including Deer Park Heights (Rohan), Arrowtown (Ford of Bruinen), Twelve Mile Delta (Ithilien), and Amon Hen. In the evening, we had a farewell dinner for the Fellowship at the Skyline buffet restaurant perched on top of Bob's Peak.

On the way from Te Anau to Queenstown

We stopped by again for a short break in the town of Garston, supposedly the most inland town in the South Island.

[Tip: clicking on the image allows you to view it in Live Spaces and download it in high resolution (1280x800)]

This is the view from another picturesque stop, at Devils Staircase on SH 6.

Anwen at Devils Staircase.

This sheep station nestled amidst mountains is only accessible via a boat.

Deer Park Heights

Queenstown as seen from Deer Heights Station.

Queenstown airport as seen from Deer Heights Station.

The Remarkable mountain ranges. The windy road on the lower left goes up to the ski fields.

Lake Wakatipu seen from Deer Park Heights.

This is the set of the Disney movie The Rescue, supposedly portraying a Korean prisoner of war camp. It was built in 1986 and took 3 months and $1m.

Notice the back of the set does not look nearly as convincing as the front.

A distant view of the set.

A stag with horns at Deer Park.

Doe, a deer, a female deer .

A bison.

Various LOTR scenes at Deer Heights

This is the scene of Rohan refugees marching to Edoras.

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Legolas standing looking at the horizon. The scene was mirror flipped for the film.

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Kristine re-enacting the scene.

This is where Legolas fired his arrows at approaching Wargs.

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This is where Aragorn falls off a cliff. A little further down from this cliff is where the Wargs and the Riders of Rohan clashed, and where Legolas jumped onto his horse.

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Here Gimli was thrown off a horse.

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The scene in Two Towers Extended Edition where Arwen offers Aragorn a bowl of soup.

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This is the rock wall where a Warg jumped on Hama.

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Arrowtown

Arrowtown has lots of autumn foliage .

This is where Arwen crossed the river in the flight to the ford.

"Frodo heard the splash of water. It foamed about his feet. He felt the quick heave and surge as the horse left the river and struggled up the stony path. He was climbing the steep bank. He was across the Ford." (LOTR, Book I, Chapter XII, page 230)

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Another view of the river.

This is the scene where the Black Riders first enter the river.

"At the top of the bank the horse halted and turned about neighing fiercely. There were Nine Riders at the water's edge below, and Frodo's spirit quailed before the threat of their uplifted faces.." (LOTR, Book I, Chapter XII, page 230)

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Yet another view of the river.

We passed through Arthur's Point on the way from Arrowtown to Twelve Mile Delta. This is a view of Shotover River Canyon where the Shotover Jet operates jetboat rides along the river. There is also a house around Arthur's Point that is hobbit-like in that it has grass growing on the flat roof.

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Twelve Mile Delta (Ithilien)

This is Twelve Mile Delta, on the road from Queenstown to Glenorchy, which is used to represent Ithilien.

"So they passed into the northern marches of that land that Men once called Ithilien, a fair country of climbing woods and swift-falling streams." (LOTR, Book IV, Chapter IV, page 676)

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Here Frodo, Sam and Sméagol watched the battle between the men of Harad and the Rangers of Gonder, and where Sam saw oliphants for the first time.

"To his astonishment and terror, and lasting delight, Sam saw a vast shape crash out of the trees and come careering down the slope. Big as a house, much bigger than a house, it looked to him, a grey-clad moving hill. Fear and wonder, maybe, enlarged him in the hobbit's eyes, but the Mûmak of Harad was indeed a beast of vast bulk, and the like of him does not walk now in Middle-earth; his kin that live still in latter days are but memories of his girth and majesty." (LOTR, Book IV, Chapter IV, page 687-8)

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Another view of Twelve Mile Delta.

"Here Spring was already busy about them: fronds pierced moss and mould, larches were green-fingered, small flowers were opening in the turf, birds were singing. Ithilien, the garden of Gondor now desolate kept still a dishevelled dryad loveliness." (LOTR, Book IV, Chapter IV, page 676)

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Amon Hen

Amon Hen is located at the end of the steeply climbing unsealed road off the road from Queenstown to Glenorchy.

"Upon the left stands Amon Lhaw, and upon the right is Amon Hen, the Hills of Hearing and of Sight. In the days of the great kings there were high seats upon them, and watch was kept there." (LOTR, Book II, Chapter IX, page 414)

This is the location where Aragorn talked with Frodo just prior to the breaking of the Fellowship. This scene is not actually in the book.

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"Wandering aimlessly at first in the wood, Frodo found that his feet were leading him up towards the slopes of the hill. He came to a path, the dwindling ruins of a road of long ago. In steep places stairs of stone had been hewn, but now they were cracked and worn, and split by the roots of trees. For some while he climbed, not caring which way he went, until he came to a grassy place. Rowan-trees grew about it, and in the midst was a wide flat stone. The little upland lawn was open upon the East and was filled now with the early sunlight. Frodo halted and looked out over the River, far below him, to Tol Brandir and the birds wheeling in the great gulf of air between him and the untrodden side. The voice of Rauros was a mighty roaring mingled with a deep throbbing boom. " (LOTR, Book II, Chapter IX, page 416-7)

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This is the location where a group of Orcs charged towards Aragorn. This scene is also not in the book.

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"Even as he gazed his quick ears caught sounds in the woodlands below, on the west side of the River. He stiffened. There were cries, and among them, to his horror, he could distinguish the harsh voices of Orcs." (LOTR, Book III, Chapter I, page 433)

This is an appropriate place to capture the Fellowship all acting as Orcs.

Queenstown

We stayed at the Aurum Suites at the A-Line Hotel.

This is a view of the Queenstown town centre from the hotel, with the Skyline Gondola climbing up Bob's Peak in the background. The Gondola rises 450m from the base station to the top station over a length of 730m.

This is the "Lady of the Lake", also known as TSS Earnslaw, a vintage steamship now taking tourists for a cruise around Lake Wakatipu.

We wandered around Queenstown Gardens in the afternoon.

Lovely autumn colours at Queenstown Gardens.

There is a lovely stone bridge in the Gardens.

… beside a lake …

... as well as a waterfall.

 

This is a memorial to a group of explorers that reached the South Pole in 17 January 1912 but perished on the return journey.

The Gardens also contains a pine tree section. This looks remarkably like the location for the Flight to the Ford, doesn't it?

In the evening, we took the gondola ride up to the Skyline restaurant where we had a lovely six course buffet dinner to celebrate the end of the tour.

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