Who do I really have to tell why I wanted to go to Middle Earth New Zealand? I definately didn’t have to tell my friends from YOOtheme, which is why they handed me a voucher for one of the Lord Of The Rings tours when I left three months ago. Of course, now that I’m here, I have to check out the locations we all know and love from the movies.

Most of the famous landscape shots are filmed on the South Island, at locations that are not really possible to visit during just a short weekend trip. Others, like the set for Hobbiton, are up north and require a several hours drive as well. But as Peter Jackson lives in Wellington and the studios are located here as well, they picked a couple of locations just in reach of the city. So why not start with the tour that is easiest to get?

The whole tour was supposed to visit locations used for the Shire (“Shortcut to mushrooms”), Rivendell, the village of Bree, Helms Deep, Minas Tirith and the river Anduin. To be honest, you don’t really see much you know from the movie. But you learn how impressively perfect the movie industry understands to draw you into the illusion of a quiet place in Middle Earth when in reality they were filming in small woods surrounded by houses, traffic and rugby fields.

What the tour really was about though, were the background stories the guide told us. Also, at most places you really needed a guide, just to spot the one tree that actually appeared in the background of a scene.

We had great fun and not only enjoyed this as a tour through Middle Earth, but also a chance to see more of Wellington itself. Even without leaving town too far behind, you find yourself in some beautiful locations that didn’t make it into the movie. Today, I’ll only show you the pictures that actually show locations you could recognize. Some other landscape photos from that day might make it into another post.

Feel free to have a good laugh at my tries to reenact some scenes with these silly prosthetic ears. But hey, Sting was a pretty cool replica!