Home #WHERETONEXT Australia & New Zealand New Zealand: Discover Middle-Earth, and Beyond

New Zealand: Discover Middle-Earth, and Beyond

To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, travelers from all over the world can be transported to Middle-Earth™ with an exclusive overnight stay at the iconic Hobbiton Movie Set in New Zealand. 

Hobbiton Co-Founder, Russell Alexander, is inviting guests to his family’s property to live like Bilbo Baggins and retreat to The Shire™ for an overnight stay at Hobbiton. “For more than two decades, we’ve welcomed millions of passionate fans to Hobbiton Movie Set, but never before has anyone had the opportunity to spend a night in Middle-Earth. I am delighted to share the beauty of my family’s farm through hosting this iconic location on Airbnb for fans from around the world,” says Alexander.

This March, Alexander will host three individual two-night stays for up to four guests at NZD $10 per night, courtesy of Airbnb. Further information can be found here.

Beyond the Hobbiton Movie Set, travelers looking to fully immerse themselves in the enchanted world of Middle-Earth will find all they dream of in New Zealand – the original backdrop for many of the film’s most iconic scenes.  

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings films helped grow the appeal of travel to New Zealand amongst audiences around the world. Discovering the magic behind these films remains a compelling drawcard for visitors 10 years on, and one of many incredible experiences to be sought out during a visit to New Zealand,” says René de Monchy, Chief Executive of Tourism New Zealand.

Highlights of New Zealand’s top filming locations can be found below. These experiences and landscapes are especially relevant to Canadian travelers, as New Zealand is now open to international visitors.

Fiordland | Fangorn Forest

Fiordland National Park is one of New Zealand’s treasured natural icons and is internationally recognized as part of the wider UNESCO World Heritage site, Te Wāhipounamu (Place of the Greenstone).

The park covers 1.2 million hectares of mountain, lake, fiord, and rainforest environments, and is the location of Fangorn Forest in Lord of the Rings, where Merry and Pippin met Treebeard, and is the home of the Ents. It is also where Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli enter the forest and encounter the White Rider, whom they believed to be Saruman, but was, in fact, Gandalf returned from his battle at Khazad-dum.  

Earnslaw Burn | Queenstown

One of the most magical locations in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey; Earnslaw Burn is a glacier that has created cascading waterfalls down a huge rock face. Here, Bilbo and The Company are filmed continuing on their quest after departing Rivendell.

The Earnslaw Burn Track – beginning in Glenorchy – is a challenging 4-hour hike with spectacular views at the head of the valley over the glacier and beyond.

Passburn was used for the approach to Misty Mountains and Passburn Track on the Mavora Walkway – one section of New Zealand’s national walkway Te Araroa – is open to the public.

Canterbury | Edoras

Canterbury, with its vast plains and stunning mountains, was an obvious choice for The Lord of the Rings location scouts. The first must-see place is Edoras, the capital city for the people of Rohan. Perhaps one of the most recognizable of all film locations, Mount Sunday is a sheer-sided hill set against the backdrop of the Southern Alps.

Although nothing remains of the set, visitors can take a walk up to the site which is well worth it for the stunning views. Nearby, Mount Potts Station offers accommodation and a restaurant.

Mount Victoria | Wellington

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, and also where the very first footage for the Fellowship of the Ring was filmed in 1999.

Wellington’s Kaitoke Regional Park was also transformed into Rivendell, where Frodo recovered from a knife attack. The exact location – a grassy area surrounded by native forest – is signposted from the carpark. A replica Elvish archway stands in the park for visitors to recreate the iconic Arwen/Aragorn kiss.

Arrowtown | The Ford of Bruinen 

The Ford of Bruinen is only minutes from the center of the village on the Arrow River.  To reach the exact spot, visitors can walk up the riverbank that is adjacent to the main street for approximately 200 meters. This is the exact place the Nazgul charged as Arwen ferried Frodo across the river on Asfaloth, her Elven steed. The path that Nazgul took down the river is clearly visible on the left.

Hobbiton Movie Set | The Shire

Nestled in the rolling green hills of the Waikato, the Hobbiton Movie Set is the only remaining movie set from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchises.

Guests can immerse themselves in the world of Hobbiton with a guided tour in which they’ll discover the rambling paths of the Shire™, the submerged Hobbit Holes™ amongst the hillsides, the Green Dragon Inn, and more attractions as they appeared in the movies.