The ‘Lord of The Rings’ Fan Guide to New Zealand

“Home is behind, the world ahead, and there are many paths to tread through shadows to the edge of night, until the stars are all alight.”

There’s no doubt that the Lord of The Rings fans are curious adventurers. There’s no journey more epic than the ultimate trip around the real Middle Earth, New Zealand. Travel through all of New Zealand’s most otherworldly and awe-inspiring landscapes and experience an adventure just as stimulating but not quite as stressful as Frodo and Sam’s. Here are some of the best New Zealand LOTR locations that you can see.

New Zealand LOTR Locations

Hobbiton, Matamata

Set foot on the real Middle Earth at Hobbiton Movie Set in the North Island of New Zealand. Take a tour to see the Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn, The Mill, double arched bridge and many other gardens and structures and find yourself transported to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies. During your leisurely stroll through The Shire, you can visit The Green Dragon Inn. Upon entry of the enchanting replica of The Green Dragon Inn, you’ll receive a complimentary refreshment from The Hobbiton’s exclusively crafted Southfarthing range. If you find yourself rather famished from your journey, you can also try out the inn’s famous beef and ale pie. There’s no pit stop during your journey without replenishing your supplies (or indulge in some excessive merchandise purchasing), so be sure to stop by the Shire Store within The Shire’s Rest Cafe. From hand-crafted items from Weta Studios to cloaks from Stansborough Fibres, there’s absolutely everything you need to continue your entrancing journey. End your eventful night with a relaxing and comforting night in at your stay in the Matamata Central Motel nearby.

Hobbiton, Matamata, new zealand
Hobbiton in New Zealand: Photo The World Upon My Shoulders / CC BY 2.0


Walk in the shoes (or no shoes) of your favourite The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings characters with a tour around the exact filming locations of the looming cliffs, mystical limestone rock formations, and prehistoric forests that set the perfect backdrop for Middle-earth. Take on some trolls in the Trollshaw Forest of Mangaotaki Rocks, visit the destroyed farmhouse, and exit from the Troll Hoarde Cave, with a guided tour with The Hairy Feet Waitomo.

Don’t be afraid to take a little detour from the filming locations and find yourself in absolute awe at the Waitomo Caves. Take a walk or boat tour beneath the rolling greenery of Waitomo and take in all the wonders of the underground sinkholes, caves and rivers. Marvel at the starry wonderland of Waitomo’s Glow Worm Caves, with thousands of tiny creatures performing Mother Nature’s perfect light show as you glide silently through the breathtaking scenery. To end the day, you can continue your travels to Hamilton, or spend the night in Waitomo.

New Zealand LOTR Locations: waitomo glow worm caves new zealand
Waitomo Glow Worm Caves: Photo 2il org / CC BY 2.0

Wellington – Weta Cave, Weta Workshop

The creation workshop for the many fascinating characters, props and special effects from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogy, lies in Wellington’s Weta Cave. The mini-museum offers a workshop tour, giving you the opportunity to hear the stories from crew members on the creative process of the many props, models and weapons they helped make. You can also watch the making process through the windows into the actual creation workshop.

gollum statue new zealand
Squishy Fishy. Photo: Jeff Hitchcock / CC BY 2.0

Nelson – Takaka Hill (Chetwood Forest)

Explore the rocky roads and majestic landscapes that form the background for the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, in Nelson. Explore Takaka Hill on your own or book a guided tour to take on a mystical walk through the Chetwood Forest. You can take a helicopter tour over the nearby filming locations, such as Mount Olympus (South of Rivendell) and Mount Owen (Dimrill Dale).

takaka hill walkway new zealand
View from the Takaka Hill Walkway: Photo Oren Rozen / CC BY-SA 3.0

Aoraki (Mount Cook)

Beginning at Christchurch, a four hour drive to Aoraki, the highest peak in Australasia, will give you the chance to hike and climb iconic filming locations like the Misty Mountains (Southern Alps), Erewhon (Mt Potts Station), and Edoras (Mount Sunday). You can stop by Lake Pukaki as well and indulge in the awe-inspiring beauty of crystal clear glacial waters and mountain planes.

hooker valley track new zealand
Hooker Valley Track. Photo: Andrea Schaffer / CC BY 2.0

Wanaka – Ecowanaka, Wanaka River Journeys

Take a tour from Queenstown, one of New Zealand’s top travel destinations, or Wanaka, the home of The Lord of the Ring’s many fascinating filming locations. The stunning lakes and majestic mountains make up for numerous backgrounds of infamous scenes. Filming locations from Argonath (Kawarau River), Fangorn Forest, Nen Hithoel (Mavora Lakes), Silverlode River (Mararoa River), and Isengard, Lothelorien (Paradise, Glenorchy) are only a few to name.

New Zealand LOTR Locations: glenorchy head wakatipu new zealand
Glenorchy at the Head of Lake Wakatipu. Photo: Vladka Kennett / CC BY-SA 3.0

The journey is full of surprises and extraordinary moments, so be sure to book your flight and accommodation soon to begin your very own Lord of the Rings inspired adventure!

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