As we all know, the real star of Peter Jackson's trilogy of films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings is the beautiful country of New Zealand (plus of course, a number of "human" actors in "supporting" roles)."
Tourism New Zealand even issues postcards saying "Welcome to New Zealand, Home of Middle Earth" that are distributed to cinema goers watching the films around the world. New Zealand, being a relatively young country (from a geological perspective), has a stunning diverse set of landscapes that seem to fit the various locations of Middle Earth as described by Tolkien perfectly, ranging from the idyllic and rustic Hobbiton, the rugged Misty Mountains, the mighty River Anduin to the forbidding Mordor.
I first read the book(s) when I was 15, and have always felt that they would someday make a great film. Ralph Bakshi's animated version, released in 1978, was a disappointment, but my hope was finally realised when New Zealand born director Peter Jackson made the definitive trilogy, with the backing of New Line Cinema, released over 2001-2003.
Red Carpet Tours does a very comprehensive tour of the locations in New Zealand used to shoot the film, so we decided to take the tour commencing around Easter 2004. This web site is a "travel diary" of my experiences on the tour that I shared with the other members of the "Fellowship" as we journeyed across New Zealand.
This is a travel diary consisting of images and personal commentaries for each day of the tour. The images of locations used in the films are also accompanied by frames from the movies (where possible) and quotes from the book(s). We did not visit all the known locations. Also, not all scenes in the film were in the book(s) so some images do not have corresponding quotes. All quotes from the book are taken from the illustrated single volume hardback edition published by HarperCollinsPublishers (1991) ISBN 0-261-10230-3. All frames from the movies are taken from the Region 1 Extended Edition DVDs of The Fellowship Of The Ring, Twin Towers and The Return of the King - the images remain the copyright of New Line Cinema.
- Day 0 (Sun 11 April) - Auckland
- Day 1 (Mon 12 April) - Auckland to Rotorua via Matamata (Hobbiton)
- Day 2 (Tue 13 April) - Rotorua to Ohakune via Mt. Ruapehu (Mordor, Emyn Muil)
- Day 3 (Wed 14 April) - Ohakune to Wellington via Rangitikei River (River Anduin)
- Day 4 (Thu 15 April) - Wellington to Featherston and back again (Wellywood, Helms Deep/Minas Tirith, Lothlorien, Isengard)
- Day 5 (Fri 16 April) - Wellington to Christchurch
- Day 6 (Sat 17 April) - Christchurch to Twizel (Edoras)
- Day 7 (Sun 18 April) - Twizel to Cromwell (Pelennor Fields/Flight to the Ford/Canyon/Rohan Village)
- Day 8 (Mon 19 April) - Cromwell to Te Anau (Fangorn Forest/Nan Hithoel)
- Day 9 (Tue 20 April) - Te Anau to Milford Sound and back again
- Day 10 (Wed 21 April) - Te Anau to Queenstown (various locations)
- Day 11 (Thu 22 April) - Queenstown to Auckland (Dart River Safari)
- Exclusive! The "action figure" version of the Lord of the Rings
- Video from Dart River Safari Jetboat (Youtube)
- 23 July 2010
- Filled in missing content and included Youtube video of jetboat ride.
- 3 December 2009
- Brand new 5th Anniversary Extended Remastered version of the website. All photos have undergone digital enhancement via Photoshop and additional photos have been included. 31 July 2005
- Updated web page on "Cultic." Added frames from ROTK:EE (to days 1, 3-7).
- 22 July 2005
- Added Windows Media movies of the Dart River Safari. Also added web page on "Cultic" - a movie shot in Taupo, NZ.
- 2 May 2004
- Added Day 0, various maps and additional photos.
- 22-24 April 2004
- Added scenes from movies, completed web design. Initial publication.
- 20 April 2004
- Added quotes from book.
- 11-22 April 2004
- Initial creation of web pages during tour.