What comes to mind when you hear the words ‘New Zealand’? The Lord of the Rings is a classic international response. Most tourists to New Zealand make a point of visiting the awe-inspiring Fiordland National Park, the iconic background of many scenes used in Lord of the Rings film trilogy and the later released movie adaptation of it’s prequel, The Hobbit trilogy.
Date 21 Sep 2021
One look at the picturesque lakeside village of Te Anau or world-renowned Milford Sound, and it's easy to understand why it was one of director Peter Jackson's favourite filming spots. From Fangorn Forest to the River Anduin, the intensity of the rising mountains, the drama of the roaring waterfalls, and the call of the wild in the lush forests near Te Anau resemble a variety of Middle-earth locations in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
If you're a genuine Lord of the Rings enthusiast looking to make the most of your Fiordland trip, the best way to see these iconic spots is with a local Fiordlander. Relive the majesty of The Lord of the Rings on location with a jet boat ride up the Anduin River (Waiau River) or get some great birds-eye view photos of the exact spot where the dwarves and Bilbo were saved by the eagles.
The Hobbit End Scene - Sutherland Falls
A mountain peak near Lake Dale and the Sutherland Falls, both in Fiordland National Park, were used in the last minute of the first Hobbit film. After a fierce fight with mounted orcs, the dwarves are saved by huge eagles flying above the magnificent Sutherland Falls. The massive birds carry the dwarves to 'The Carrock,' which is the top peak immediately south of Lake Dale in the Light River Valley south-east of Sutherland Sound. The best way to see Sutherland Falls and Lake Dale is with Milford Sound Helicopters who showcase the otherwise inaccessible scenic treasures of Fiordland.
Anduin River - The Waiau River
The Dead Marshes - Kepler Mire
Fangorn Forest Edge- Mavora Lakes Conservation Park
The Mavora Lakes, which are part of the Te Wahipounamu/South-West New Zealand World Heritage Area, include beautiful lake, mountain, and forest vistas so it's no surprise that the location was used to film numerous scenes in Lord of the Rings. One of these sequences is when Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli follow Merry and Pippin as they flee the uruk-hai on the outskirts of Fangorn Forest. ‘Fangorn Forest’ can be seen along Takaro Road. Cameras were suspended from wires on both sides of the road during filming to record Aragorn as he moved through this forest.
To reach the Mavora Lakes from Te Anau, drive 30 kilometres down State Highway 94 before turning left onto Mavora Lakes Road. Continue for approximately 35km until you reach the Mavora Lakes Conservation Park.
Nen Hithoel – North Mavora Lake
The Fellowship leaving Lothlorien/ Silverlode River - Mararoa River
South of Rivendell - Lake Manapouri
Fangorn Forest - Snowdon Forest Conservation Area
Snowdon Forest Conservation Area was used to film the scenes set in Fangorn Forest, the home of the ents (the giant tree shepherds). Fangorn Forest is an important place in the beginning of Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers, both for the characters it introduces and for its historic atmosphere. Scenes filmed here include when Gandalf whistles for his horse Shadowfax, when Aragon follows the Hobbits’ after escaping from Urukhai, and during the reveal of changes to make Gandalf the Grey, now be known as Gandalf the White.
In addition to its use as a filming site for The Lord of the Rings, Snowdon Forest is a famous hiking and fishing destination. To visit Snowdon Forest, take State Highway 94 out of Te Anau, then turn left onto Kakapo Road and left again onto Takaroa Road.
Redcliff Cafe and Bar
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