Queenstown, known as the adventure capital of New Zealand and renowned for its spectacular lake and mountain scenery, has also been a major base of operations in filming of both the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit prequels.
Dozens of nearby locations were used in the movies, making Queenstown a great base from which visitors can explore Middle Earth. Finding some of the remote locations can be a daunting task, though Ian Brodie’s excellent ‘The Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook,’ complete with maps, directions and GPS coordinates, makes this a lot easier.
Several tour operators in and around Queenstown also lead well-organized trips to see and experience scene locations from the movies, complete with expert guides who can fill you in on the latest developments in filming for The Hobbit.
I explored film locations northwest of Queenstown, along Lake Wakatipu, with the fantastic Pure Glenorchy Overland Tours. The tour included a memorable picnic lunch at a lake in Mount Aspiring National Park.
The ‘Wizard’s Vale,’ otherwise known as Nan Curunir in Tolkien’s Middle Earth, was a brief cut-scene used in the movies.
This location along Lake Wakatipu was the place in The Two Towers where Sam, Gollum and Frodo argued over the brace of conies and then encountered the Oliphants (giant elephant-like creatures).
The mountains across lake Wakatipu, on the way to Glenorchy.
The elven forests of Lothlorien, at the south end of Mount Aspiring National Park
The only sign that Peter Jackson’s gang was ever here in ‘Lothlorien’ is a camera rig forgotten and left hanging in a tree, still there more than 10 years later.
This landscape (minus the fence) was used for scenery around the tower of Isengard in Lord of the Rings.
This wetlands near Glenorchy was used as the scenery for the Dead Marshes in The Two Towers. It is such a fragile ecosystem and so vital to wetlands birds that Peter Jackson wasn’t allowed to actually bring all the people and equipment for the location shoot here. Instead he filmed the scenery then reassembled the landscape he desired on computers at his studio in Miramar.
Beautiful scenery at Glenorchy, New Zealand.
Beorn’s House. This scenery was recently used for a location film shoot of The Hobbit. The house of Beorn, a shape-shifting character in The Hobbit, was constructed at the site, at the right end of the forest under the mountains, for filming. It was torn down when the filming was finished and the landscape restored to its original state. The first instalment of The Hobbit is scheduled to premier in Wellington in December, 2012.
Contact Pure Glenorchy to book your adventure in the landscapes of Middle Earth.
Pure Glenorchy Overland Tours
tel: +64 3 441 1079
toll free: 0800 787 349
Book a Queenstown hotel with my trusted parter, Agoda:
Red my previous post about The Hobbit film locations around New Zealand. Visit Tourism New Zealand’s website and the official website of Queenstown New Zealand Tourism for more information too: www.newzealand.com and www.queenstownnz.co.nz. And stay tuned, I have a Hobbit-themed article coming out in Jetstar Airline's onboard magazine next month too...
All images above, as always, are copyright Adam Bray 2012 and may not be published elsewhere without permission.