HOME OF MIDDLE‑EARTH™
When the first Lord of the Rings™ movie was released in 2001 New Zealand became know as the 'Home of Middle‑earth™'.
New Zealand’s dramatic scenery, consisting of golden plains, towering mountains and enchanting valleys, plays a part in creating the mythical world of Middle‑earth™ as seen in The Lord of the Rings™ and The Hobbit Trilogy™. When you visit Middle‑earth™ you can explore the many film locations and join tours and activities for the chance to see the film locations for yourself and step inside the imaginative mind of Tolkien.
Discover the Lord of the Rings in New Zealand
Visit famous filming locations and be transported into another world.
New Zealand’s mountain ranges, wild rivers and grassy fields provided the perfect setting for the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. Here is where you can find Middle‑earth™ for yourself.
Whether or not you’re a Tolkien fan, you’ll find it almost impossible not to compare New Zealand to Middle‑earth™.
From the towering mountains and dreamy Hobbiton™ in the Shire, New Zealand’s otherworldly landscapes brought the movies to life.
The Shire and Hobbiton™ Movie Set
The lush dairy farming landscape around the Waikato town of Matamata was used to portray the peaceful Shire region of Middle‑earth™. The village of Hobbiton was created here with brilliant attention to detail.
It was later rebuilt for the filming of The Hobbit Trilogy and is now a permanent attraction.
See glorious 360-degree images of Hobbiton here.
Gardens of Isengard, the River Anduin, Rivendell, Osgiliath Wood, Paths of the Dead
The most accessible filming location in Wellington is Mount Victoria, which is within walking distance of the central city. The forested areas of the mountain were used to depict Hobbiton Woods, where the hobbits hid from the black riders.
Other Wellington locations include the Hutt River between Moonshine and Tōtara Park, which played the part of the River Anduin; and Harcourt Park, which was transformed into the Gardens of Isengard.
Wellington’s Kaitoke Regional Park became Rivendell, where Frodo recovered from the knife attack. The exact location – a grassy area surrounded by native forest – is signposted from the carpark.
From Wellington, you can drive up the west coast to Queen Elizabeth Park near Paraparaumu, which was used for filming the Nazgul and mumakil in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. Further up the coast is Waitarere Forest (Osgiliath Wood), where Frodo, Sam and Gollum walked after leaving Faramir.
A drive over the hills to the Wairarapa region will take you to the eerie Putangirua Pinnacles, where Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli sought the Paths of the Dead.
Wellington is also home to Wētā Workshop(opens in new window), Wētā Digital and the Miramar film empire which is central to The Hobbit Trilogy production. While the movie business centre is off-limits to visitors, The Lord of the Rings pilgrims can experience the Wētā Cave.
Nelson Tasman: Home of the 'One Ring', Chetwood Forest and Dimrill Dale
Nelson Tasman is home to Jens Hansen, the goldsmith responsible for creating the 40 different rings used in production. One of the original rings is on display and copies can be bought in 9 and 18ct gold.
From Nelson drive west over Takaka Hill, which was the filming site for Chetwood Forest. Here the Ranger ‘Strider’ led the hobbits into the rough country east of Bree in an attempt to escape the Black Riders.
You’ll need to catch a helicopter to see where the fellowship hid from Saruman’s black crows. Ask the pilot to show you Dimrill Dale – Mount Olympus and Mount Owen. From the air, you’ll get an eagle’s view of the region’s three national parks – Abel Tasman, Nelson Lakes and Kahurangi.
Nestled in the Ashburton District’s high country sits Mount Sunday – a sheer-sided hill that was the set for Edoras, the main city of the Rohan people.
Nothing remains of this set, which took nine months to build, however the location still has powerful magic. You can park your vehicle on Hakatere Potts Road and walk to the site. Nearby, Mount Potts Station offers accommodation and a restaurant.