Queenstown and Middle Earth Locations

The country of New Zealand has a reputation for supplying some of the world’s most breathtaking vistas and diverse scenery. Perhaps this is why New Zealand has been attracting filmmakers and television producers for several decades. Thanks to the success of recent feature films like The Hobbit, yearly revenue from the picture industry in New Zealand has now topped three billion dollars. The Middle Earth locations at which director Peter Jackson filmed the Lord of the Rings movies and The Hobbit truly do feature landscapes worthy of J. R. R. Tolkien’s riveting tales of fantasy. If you’ve ever longed for adventure beyond your own little corner of the world, you can now enjoy a tour of Middle Earth and look behind the scenes at how the movies were created.

Commercial Tours

Movie lovers and those searching for adventure will thoroughly enjoy experiencing movie locations in and around Queenstown for themselves. From Queenstown, you can embark on a number of guided Lord of the Rings tours featuring Middle Earth locations from the Lord of the Rings movies. These guided tours range from half-day adventures for busy tourists who share a love of Tolkien’s work to three-day adventures including transportation to multiple movie locations, costuming options and more.

Middle Earth Locations: Queenstown
Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu from the Skyline Gondola

Self-Guided Tours

If you prefer to travel at your own pace and see sights along the way, you’ll enjoy a do-it-yourself tour of Middle Earth locations. After flying into Queensland, you can explore the region by car or take various cycling or 4WD tours to experience the stunning scenery and inspiring locations for yourself.

Lake Wakatipu

Lake Wakatipu features in the movies as the ancient forest of Lothlorien, and visitors will soon understand why it was chosen to represent Middle Earth, the most magical of lands. This glacier lake, surrounded by the Remarkables mountains, which rise immediately from its shores, literally pulses as waters rise and fall rhythmically about 12 centimetres every five minutes.

Kawarau River

At its eastern end, Lake Wakatipu flows into the Kawarau River, which Peter Jackson used as the River Anduin. You can enjoy your own adventure here by taking a kayak through the gorge or river boarding amidst the stunning scenery.

Deer Park Heights

The largest of all Queenstown movie locations, Deer Park Heights, served as the backdrop for several important moments in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Here, Gandalf rode towards Gondor, and the refugees escaped from Rohan. Visitors will likely also recognize Deer Park Heights as the plain on which the attack of the Wargs was filmed.

Glenorchy

During your days of exploration, be sure to take a detour northeast to the Glenorchy region. Here you will see locations for movie scenes in Middle Earth locations around Isengard as well as some additional scenes in Lothlorien near the real-life town of Paradise.

Arrowtown

Few hobbits and absolutely no dwarves would want to miss a visit to Arrowtown, just northwest of Queenstown. In this historic gold mining town, visitors can try their hands at panning for gold, enjoy a skiing holiday or experience fine dining and sophisticated shopping venues.

A visit to Queenstown and the surrounding area easily proves to travellers why filmmakers flock to this corner of the world. Whatever your preferred means of travel, you are certain to enjoy your visit with one of today’s biggest stars of the silver screen, New Zealand’s South Island.

About Richard Wolskel

Richard is a UK expat Sandgroper. As owner of Go New Zealand he has been a frequent traveller to New Zealand and the “Land of the Long White Cloud”. His love of travel has taken him to all points of the globe, and loves learning about new cultures, hiking on remote trails, meeting the locals, and experiencing life in other countries.

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