NZ Lord of the Rings Blog

Lord of the Rings Blog

Can an ardent LOTR fan and other travelers enjoy the same tour?

LoTR Hobbit Tours

Are you and your traveling companion are looking to plan your New Zealand trip?  Only problem is that they are an avid fan of ‘Lord of the Rings’ (LOTR) and want to include as many movie locations and tours as possible, while although you enjoy it, you want to see so much more of what New Zealand offers. 

Don’t worry, First Light Travel can create an itinerary that will mean both the avid fan and the mildly intrigued can both have a great time in ‘Middle Earth’, and suggestions where to perhaps enjoy a day apart.  Here are my Top 10 movie locations and activities:

Map of my Top 10 movie locations and activities:

LoTR Hobbit Filming Locations New Zealand


One of the classic locations, it’s the only place where the original set is still in place.  Even the non-fans can enjoy the two hour tour of the ‘oh so cute’ round door hobbit homes of The Shire.  It’s located near Matamata and can easily be visited while traveling between Auckland and Rotorua.  We also get great feedback from travelers who go to the Evening Banquet which includes the last daytime tour of the day before a sumptuous feast in The Green Dragon pub of traditional fayre before walking back through The Shire village under torch light.


Trollshaw near Waitomo. 

In The Hobbit book Bilbo, Gandalf and the Dwarves defeated the trolls turning them to stone!  Located on a working farm, see amazing rock formations and beautiful New Zealand native forest.  The 90 minute tour is a relaxing time and can easily be combined with a visit to the nearby Waitomo Caves to see the glow worms that provide such an ethereal light.

troll Shaw

Tongariro National Park - Mt Doom  

The avid fan will no doubt know that the mountain Ngauruhoe was Mount Doom in the movies and you can view the mountain from many places around the Tongariro National Park including while on the challenging Tongariro Crossing, regarded as one of the world’s finest one day hikes.  If you want a more relaxing day then you can also see the magnificent Mangawhero Falls where Gollum catches fish, while Tawhai Falls has become known as “Gollum’s Pool” where he was captured by Faramir and his rangers.


Wellywood & Weta Workshop

Wellington movie location tour or explore the city. Wellington may be your final destination on the North Island, it may be time to let your LOTR traveling companion to indulge their passion for LOTR.  Wave good bye as they don their elven ears and super-size hairy hobbit feet and join a tour of the local movie locations and the Weta Workshop. Meanwhile you can have a relaxing day exploring Wellington. Known as the ‘coolest little capital in the world’, the harbor-side city has Te Papa national museum, galleries, restaurants and cafes (flat white coffee was invented here).  As Aragorn may have said to Arwen, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ and you’ll be ready to explore the South Island together.

Barrel Run

Pelorus River Barrel Run

Marlborough’s Pelorus River Kayak. Where Bilbo and the dwarves rode the river in barrels to escape from the orcs in The Hobbit.  The Pelorus is set amongst beautiful scenery, gently winding through forests and waterfalls, it’s suitable for all fitness levels including children.

Wellington Weta Work Shop

Kahurangi National Park

Kahurangi National Park Helicopter tour.  In the west of the Nelson region, a helicopter flight is the only way to reach two awesome LOTR movie locations and all travelers will have wonderful memories from the day. Mt Owen is where the depleted Fellowship emerged from the horrors of Moria’s mines, while Mt Olympus with its rocky outcrops twisted and cracked into unbelievable columnar shapes sprouting from the side of the mountain is where the Fellowship hid from Saruman’s flock of ravens. 

Pelorus River

Mount Sunday / Edoras 

Perhaps the most iconic LOTR movie location, Mount Sunday in the Southern Alps was used as Edoras, capital of Rohan.  Join a full day tour from Christchurch or nearby Methven, or just drive up the gravel road yourselves – it’s a beautiful place, the rock promontory surrounded by the vast, awe inspiring Southern Alps.


Queenstown Lord of the Rings Tours. 

Queenstown is a beautiful resort town located on Lake Wakatipu with the Remarkable Mountains as a back drop with Lord of the Rings tours available.  With so much on offer from wine tours to hiking and adrenaline sports such as white water rafting and sky diving, Queenstown offers the  opportunity for the die-hard LOTR fan to join a half or full day tour while other travelers can choose from the myriad of other activities. 


Dart River wilderness safari 

From Queenstown this half day tour includes a four wheel drive around the local area of Paradise (the place sure lives up to its name)!  This includes pointing out movie locations before going on a guided forest walk and the excitement of jet-boat ride along the Dart river surrounded by forests and incredible mountains.

Dart River

Paradise horse riding. 

In the same region you can explore Lord of the Rings movie locations from horse back and is suitable for beginners through to experiences riders – relaxing or exhilarating in stunning scenery!

horse Riding


New Zealand is a bigger country than you may realize, so location is a factor in planning. There are other great LOTR experiences across the country that all can enjoy, so trust First Light Travel to tailor your ideal New Zealand vacation with as many or as few Lord of the Rings activities as you want!


Elizabeth Marshall
Elizabeth Marshall
: 11 Jul 2020 (Last updated: 30 Jun 2021)

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