Loren Christie on what to do while visiting Middle Earth
Loren Christie, Canada AM travel expert, poses for a photo while visiting the farm that doubled as Hobbiton in the Lord of The Rings movies
Published Thursday, December 13, 2012 11:55AM EST
A few years ago on a trip to New Zealand, I had the opportunity to check out the farm that doubled as Hobbiton in the Lord of The Rings movies. It was amazingly impressive and surprisingly well kept. And now with the Canadian opening of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the interest in visiting Middle Earth is likely on the bucket list for many fans. Below are some of the top New Zealand tourism activities focused on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Near Matamata, a picturesque town just two and a half hours from Auckland (New Zealand's largest city and the gateway to Middle-earth), visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the revitalized Hobbiton Movie Set. Along with 37 Hobbit holes, fans can check out the Green Dragon Inn, The Mill and other structures used in the upcoming films. Not only has Hobbiton gained fame as a movie set, it is also a working farm experience and café. It's definitely a must for anyone who wants to truly experience the “Shire” when in New Zealand.
Four-Wheel Drive Safari of Scenes in Queenstown
Any reason to visit Queenstown, on New Zealand's South Island, is a good one, and a four-wheel drive adventure through Middle-earth gives visitors a great reason to go. The Queenstown area was prominently featured in the filming of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Nomad Safaris offers two different tours designed specifically for fans. The guides are definitely one of the highlights of the tour; many were extras in the films. They know, and are happy to share, all of the local gossip about what the stars of the movies did while they were filming in the area.
Everyone who goes to Wellington falls in love with the fun, foodie and fashion-focused city that sits at the southern tip of the North Island. Known to many as “Wellywood” because of its flourishing film industry, fans can experience the ultimate Middle-earth full-day tour with Wellington Rover Tours - where fans can follow in the footsteps of Hobbits, and spend the day learning film secrets. Wellington also boasts the Weta Cave, which screens a behind-the-scenes look at Weta and interviews co-founder Peter Jackson, among others; has a mini-museum with some of the characters; and features props and displays from The Lord of the Rings films.
Air New Zealand has direct non-stop flights from Vancouver to Auckland and offers flights from many other North American cities. For more information about New Zealand, please visit: www.NewZealand.com