Fans of Peter Jackson movie “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” can make their own pilgrimage to Middle-earth thanks to an initiative by Tourism New Zealand that reveals the location of key movie scenes.
The crew for The Hobbit Trilogy spent 10 weeks on the road filming in 40 different locations throughout the North and South Islands. The three films in the Trilogy – “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” and The “Hobbit: There and Back Again” - were shot simultaneously.
Walking in the footsteps of curious hobbit Bilbo Baggins, fans can begin their journey just as he did with a visit to Bilbo’s home village, Hobbiton, set on a private New Zealand farm near the town of Matamata in the Waikato region. Hobbiton Movie Set Tours take tour groups around the 44 hobbit holes that form the now permanent movie set.
Continuing on, the looming cliffs, unusual limestone rock formations, and prehistoric forest at Mangaotaki Rocks provided the location for Staddles Farm and Trollshaw Forest Rocky Hillside where a number of exciting scenes were shot including The Company arriving at a destroyed farmhouse, the exit from the Troll Hoarde Cave, Gandalf bestowing Sting upon Bilbo, Radagast’s arrival and the Gundabad Wargs and Orcs attack.
Moving down to the tip of the South Island, Nelson - on the north-western coast and New Zealand’s sunniest region - sets the scene for several locations in “The Hobbit” Trilogy. Thanks to Cape Farewell Horse Treks it is possible to ride across private farmland to a dramatic cliff top that offers spectacular coastal views over Golden Bay. This is where The Company continue their journey along the steep rocky ridges used for the film sequence “Weatherhills Trees and Rocks”
Braemar Station at Lake Pukaki - in the Mount Cook Mackenzie region - was used in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” to portray epic scenic shots, the “Warg Chase” and approach to Rivendell. The property was also used for the forest slopes of Misty Mountains where The Company escapes from inside the mountains. Visitors can stay at the station (as The Hobbit Trilogy crew did), and enjoy activities including helping out on the farm, fishing, bike riding, or a quiet picnic by the lake.
These are just a few of the amazing moments that fans of “The Hobbit” can experience in New Zealand. There is even a specially prepared “Experience the Trilogy” tour that combines some of the best that the North Island of New Zealand has to offer - Hobbiton movie set tours, Te Puia and Te Po combo, and the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. From helicopter rides to snow skiing to kayaking, New Zealand offers a diverse range of Middle-earth experiences for everyone.
See a video introducing New Zealand's “The Hobbit” experience below.