Christy and Aaron Tracker

Follow Christy and Aaron on their backpacking trip around the world

One Ring to Rule Them All…

Aww, New Zealand. Known for its gorgeous landscape, thanks mostly to the filming of the Lord of the Rings series. Naturally we wanted to see as many of these film sites as possible. Luckily, we saw quite a few on our road trip from Wellington to Auckland.

We started our LOTR adventure in Wellington, at Weta Studios. They are the wizards behind all the special effects and props of the series. They don’t let you into the studio due to confidentiality of upcoming film projects, but there is a small museum you can visit. I especially enjoyed my time with Gollum:

Just outside of Wellington lies Kaitoke Regional Park, where they filmed the Rivendell scenes. It is made up of native New Zealand bush, and it was absolutely worth the visit, even if they had not filmed LOTR scenes there.

Next we headed north towards Auckland to Tongariro National Park. This is where they filmed the Mount Doom scenes. As you can see, a lot of special effects went into transitioning this beautiful landscape to the Ork-infested hellhole that is Mount Doom:

Finally, we headed to the town of Matamata, and the site of the Shire. The scenes were filmed on a private sheep farm. They now run a tour company (called Hobbiton) where they take tourists to the exact site of the filming on their farm. They charge $66 NZ, and of course, Aaron and I are much too cheap for that. So we didn’t go to the exact site of the filming (which is fenced off), but we still went to the general area, which was pretty enough:

(They were about to start filming The Hobbit, so they had confidentiality signs up.)

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