There’s no questioning why New Zealand was chosen as the backdrop for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings films.

The rugged mountain scenery, vast lakes and striking volcanic craters look just as extraordinary in real life as they do on the big screen! Filming locations for the movies are scattered across the North and South Island of New Zealand, so if you’re movie mad be sure to keep your eyes peeled whilst on your next Kiwi Adventure! Over 150 locations were used to bring The Lord of the Rings Trilogy to the big screen. Every year visitors go to New Zealand because of the Lord of the Rings locations guide.

Here are our top 6 Middle-Earth filming locations for you to check out when visiting New Zealand:

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1. Lake Pukaki, Mount Cook

The beautiful Lake Pukaki was used as the filming location for Laketown in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and Braemar Station at Lake Pukaki was used in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The lake is a vibrant blue both on screen and in real life, due to the glacial lakes that run into it. Our 15-day Grand Traverse and 27-day Ultimate Explorer Tours both stay overnight at this striking lake, so you’ll have plenty of time to check out the filming locations after doing some cycling or swimming.

2. Fiordland National Park

The magnificent sweeping views of the Fiordland National Park were used for a number of scenic shots in both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings films and it’s quite obvious why. Located in New Zealand’s South Island, its most famous fiords include Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound, both of which are featured on a number of our tours! You’ll get the opportunity to do activities such as sea kayaking and wildlife spotting, whilst taking in the breathtaking views surrounded by towering peaks and impressive waterfalls.

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3. Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring

There are a number of filming locations dotted around Lake Wanaka and the surrounding Mount Aspiring National Park area. You’ll need a full day there to take in all the beautiful sights such as mountains, forests, glaciers and lakes. Keep your eyes peeled because the White and Misty Mountain scenes were filmed in this area, and the opening scene of the first Lord of the Rings film is actually a shot of the great Mount Aspiring. Our 14-day Reverse Traverse Queenstown to Auckland Tour pays a visit to this stunning location, so you’ll be able to check out the movie locations after jet boating through the National Park.

4. Glenorchy, Queenstown

Famous for its walking trails, Glenorchy was used as the filming location for the scene during which Bilbo and The Company continue their quest after leaving Rivendell. Located just 45 minutes from Queenstown, this rural town is not one to be missed if you want to get a taste of life in Middle Earth!

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5. Tongariro Crossing

This impressive volcanic landscape was used as the setting for one of the most famous Lord of the Rings filming locations – Mordor. The majority of Sam and Frodo’s magnificent journey into the land of Sauron was filmed around the Tongariro National Park. A large number of our tours spend a day here, where you’ll get the chance to do a breathtaking hike across the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Keep your eyes peeled for Mount Doom, which was based on the amazing Mt Ngauruhoe, and is one of the many gems of the Tongariro region.

6. Mount Gunn – view from Franz Josef Glacier

Mount Gunn can be viewed from the Franz Josef Glacier Valley access track, and this incredible mountain was used as the backdrop when filming the scene in which the beacons that run along the White Mountains were lit. A number of our Auckland and Christchurch tours spend a day here, and you’ll even have the option to take a helicopter flight over the glacier. This once in a lifetime experience would be the perfect way to take in all the spectacular views – so keep your eye out for Mount Gunn!

Check out our New Zealand tours here.

We currently have 15% off selected tours in October and 10% off all early bird bookings for this summer in New Zealand. Take advantage of the discounts now!



Tours to get you there

Bike rides along amazing landscapes

9 Day Southern Light Christchurch to Queenstown Tour

Explore the lesser known spots that other tour groups don't visit. Whether it's a secret glow-worm walk at night, a lush rainforest-fringed pool for a dip, a bike ride along deserted roads hugging the coast or a local cafe that serves quite possibly the best muffins in New Zealand.