Essential Places to Visit in New Zealand for Tolkien Fandom
Admit it. The locations, picked for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies are spectacular. And we have to thank Peter Jackson’s amazing crew for finding these locations. When Dave Comer, a photographer from New Zealand, was hired as a location scout for the movies, he put all his love for his country and its beautiful scenery into his work. Years later, as Dave Comer passed away in 2014, his colleague Jared Connon, another location scout for Peter Jackson’s marvelous screen versions of Tolkien, in his interview to GQ revealed some secrets about finding these locations.
Apart from finding the locations that were the right fit for filming, the whole crew felt immense pressure from the massive Tolkien fandom. Under Dave Comer’s guidance and thanks to his knowledge of his country’s geography, the crew was able to find the locations that take our breath away. But for hardcore Tolkien fans, these locations have become more than just pictures from the movies. They have become the Mecca(s), must-visit places on every Tolkien fan’s bucket list.
Let’s take a closer look at these locations and why they have become essential places for the Tolkien fandom to visit.
Matamata a.k.a. Hobbiton
Of course, how could we start with anything else? Hobbiton is and always will be the No.1 place, where Tolkien fans can enjoy the authentic atmosphere of the hobbit village, so beautifully painted and described by Tolkien in his books. Just a mediocre sheep farm before, this location has evolved into something that went straight from the pages of Tolkien’s books into our reality. For the full Tolkien experience, fans can visit Hobbiton’s Dragon Inn for unique events, like Hobbiton Christmas, Mid-Summer celebrations, and even the International Hobbit Day.
There’s no need to discuss why Tolkien fans are obsessed with this place. It’s where the story originates, where the key characters come from, and where they end up. This place evokes very special feelings even just by looking at the photos of it. Personally, as a hardcore Tolkien fan, I can only wish that they start selling those houses, so I could invest and spend the entirety of my days there.
The most mysterious place among all the LOTR and The Hobbit Locations. Waitomo Caves are located near Hamilton, New Zealand, close to Pirongia Forest Park. “The majority of Hamilton’s tourists, according to our survey, come specifically to visit Waitomo Caves as one of the most unique places in New Zealand”, says Martin Dickinson, a researcher at Flatfy, an international real estate company.
What does this location offer?
- Glowworm caves – a 30-million-old place where you can see the origins of nature for yourself.
- Ruakuri Cave – a spiral cave with a myriad of crystal tapestries.
- Blackwater rafting – a tour on the rafts through the waters of an underground lake with unbelievably beautiful sceneries.
This location is the home of the first encounter of Bilbo and the Ring. The pivotal point in the narrative, this encounter shaped the stories of both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
Honestly, as I spent hours exploring these caves, I could hear Gollum whispering ‘My precious’ somewhere behind my back. Or was it my imagination?
The whole area surrounding Queenstown is full of The Hobbit and LOTR locations. Glenorchy or Paradise, however, deserves special attention from the Tolkien fandom. Called ‘The Gate to Paradise, Glenorchy is a mountainous area in the region of Otago, New Zealand. There are plenty of tramping tracks and Fiordland National Park nearby. You can try out canyoning, jet boating, kayaking, skiing, skydiving, and many other activities.
Just as with any other locations in New Zealand, however, you can observe strict laws when visiting Glenorchy. You must wear proper gear, respectfully treat the surrounding nature, and, of course, book your visit in advance to enjoy the full experience.
Why Glenorchy is another Mecca for Tolkien fandom?
Glenorchy is the home for many locations from LOTR and The Hobbit – Lothlorien, Orthanc, Beorn’s house. All these locations in the books were the places for pivotal events, not to mention their incredible beauty.
Personally, I consider Glenorchy one of the locations that you cannot take enough pictures of. Glenorchy, Paradise, and Fiordland National Park are the places where you can enjoy nature in its pristine beauty. No wonder why Dave Comer enjoyed these places so much.
Tolkien Fandom Swears by the Beauty of These Places
As a member of Tolkien fandom, I solemnly swear that these three locations are the most unique places on Earth that you could ever visit. And if you’re a fellow fan of Tolkien, you would hear the music of Howard Shore every time you visit these places. Happens to me every time.
Ryan is a passionate writer who likes sharing his thoughts and experience with the readers. Currently, he works as a digital marketing specialist at https://hu.flatfy.com. He likes everything related to traveling and new countries.
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