Five of the best Lord of the Rings experiences

Can you believe it’s been 20 years since The Lord of the Rings movie adventure began? The first film in the epic trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, was released on December 10, 2011, at a world premiere in London, and if you’re a fan of Peter Jackson’s cinematic magic then a visit to New Zealand is an absolute must. Step foot into the perfect backdrop for the cinematic trilogy, and learn behind the scenes information as you discover Middle-earth for yourself with these five experiences.
Hobbiton, Hamilton Waikato
It’s impossible not to compare New Zealand to Middle-earth, and nowhere is this more true than the enchanting village of the Hobbiton movie set. The rolling green hills and lush Matamata farmland show clearly why Sir Peter Jackson chose this area to create the village of Hobbiton in 1998. Experience it for yourself as you witness the real life set up close, walk the same path as your favourite characters, grab a pint at The Green Dragon Inn, get a photo in front of a hobbit hole and dance under the party tree. Hear behind the scenes tales from the filming and feast like a hobbit on the evening banquet tour.
Weta workshop, Wellington
Wellington’s Miramar suburb is home to the Academy award winning company that produced the special effects, costumes and creatures from The Lord of the Rings, brought to life at the hands of creative geniuses such as Sir Richard Taylor and his team. Witness up close the artistry behind filmmaking creativity and discover the people, processes and props that bring the imaginary worlds to life.
Jens Hansen, Nelson
The makers of the world’s most famous ring. The movie’s Academy award winning Art Direction team first approached Jens Hansen about making the infamous One Ring in March 1999. Jens submitted 15 prototypes in a variety of weights and finishes, and from this extensive collection, the final movie ring design was selected. More than 40 variations were used in the filming of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. One original ring is on display and for true fans, you can take home your very own ‘precious’ replica. Elvish engraving optional!
Glacier Southern Lakes
Helicopters, Queenstown
The aerial film company for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, with senior pilot Alfie Speight, the principal pilot for the filming. All of the pilots are familiar with the unique landscapes that appear in the films and as part of the production crew can share insider secrets from behind the scenes. Soar into the air and above the famously majestic Queenstown and Fiordland landscapes that featured in the films, over the Shotover River gorge recognisable as the Ford of Bruinen as well as Isengard, Lothlorien and Dimrill Dale. Land high on a glacier alongside the misty mountains and get a sense of what it might be like to cross The Redhorn Pass.
Nomad Safaris, Queenstown
Off-road adventure meets Middle-earth magic as the films come to life on location around the dramatic scenery of Queenstown. Travel into the out of this world scenery that inspired the film location scouts and had this area featuring prominently in the films. Witness the real life locations of the battle of the Wargs, Argonath (Pillars of the Kings), the Forrest of Lothlorien, and the loss of The One Ring at Gladden Fields. (IANSlife)

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