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Follow Bilbo's footsteps into Middle Earth


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One of the reasons the Hobbit (and Lord of The Rings) is so awesome is the stunning landscapes of Middle Earth.

HobbitonIt’s not exactly news that those landscapes belong to New Zealand. In fact one in ten visitors to the country now do so because of the films.

With the second Hobbit film (The Desolation of Smaug) ready for release in a few weeks, here’s where and how you can follow in Bilbo’s footsteps to experience the real Middle Earth....

Swap barrels for kayaks and follow in the footsteps of the Dwarves

A stand out scene from the new Hobbit movie sees our dwarf heroes floating in barrels down the Pelorus river. This was an experience that Stephen Hunter, who played dwarf Bombur, called 'his favourite day on set'. Visitors can swap barrels for kayaks on a guided kayak tour down the river, which includes stops at waterfalls, streams and the filming location itself, with the opportunity to camp overnight in the lush native forest. Pelorus Eco Adventures offers river canoe trips through the filming locations in inflatable tandem canoes.

Re-live the famous barrel scene at Huka Falls

The iconic Huka Falls in the central plateau of New Zealand’s North Island was also used for the dwarves in barrel scene. Visitors can recreate the thrills with a ride on the Huka Falls jet – taking The Hobbit Trilogy fans along the beautiful Waikoto river lined with native bush, sheer rock cliff face and natural hot springs. Combine 360° spins and pass nature by at disorientating speeds before reaching the awe-inspiring majesty that is the Huka Falls.

Soar like an eagle over Fiordland National Park

Peter Jackson used the majestic Fiordland National Park in the south west of the South Island for some epic scenic shots, including where The Company flees the mountains on the backs of eagles in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Experience giant fiords and spectacular waterfalls with Glacier Southern Lakes’ helicopter tour as you get get insider info from Alfie Speight who was the principal filming pilot for The Hobbit.

If you are after stunning views this is one for you.

Follow in the footsteps of Bilbo and The Company’s quest

The area around Queenstown is one of the most magical locations from the first Hobbit instalment. Earnslaw Burn, a glacier that has created a number of cascading waterfalls that tumble down a huge rock face. Here, Bilbo and The Company are filmed continuing on their quest after departing Rivendell. The Earnslaw Burn Track is a challenging four-hour hike that rewards with

spectacular views at the head of the valley over the glacier and allows visitors to explore The Hobbit Trilogy film locations unguided.

Experience a helicopter tour of The Hobbit Trilogy locations 

Want to see swathes of Middle Earth from the air? Eco Wanaka Adventures offers a range of heli-hike options throughout the Matukituki Valley & Mt Aspiring National Park in the South Island, both featured in The Hobbit Trilogy. The new Misty Mountains Traverse tour is a Hobbit-Heli experience, taking visitors to locations used in the first of the trilogy. The tour includes two 4WD trips, two scenic helicopter flights with two landings and a two-hour guided hike.

Visit the home of the Hobbits – Hobbiton

HobbitonNo Middle Earth trip would be complete without a trip to the home of the Hobbit’s – Hobbiton.

The village movie set in the North Island’s beautiful Matamata district offers visitors the chance to explore Hobbiton, visiting Hobbit Holes, the Green Dragon in (for a tipple) and the Mill to give insights into the making of the set and filming.

While the village once sat dark after hours, Hobbit Holes throughout The Shire are now wired with power, giving the chance to enjoy twilight tours with the set spectacularly lit against a dusk sky.

New developments at Hobbiton also include the illumination of other key landmarks; the Mill, the Bridge, the Party Tree and The Green Dragon Inn. A mesmerising lightshow can also be viewed from some iconic locations as seen in The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies

Tours start from NZ$75 per adult and NZ$38 per child. For a complete experience try a Romney package including a Kiwi barbeque lunch at the Shire’s Rest Café, a tour of the set and an overnight on a  local farm including a three-course dinner with New Zealand wine and beer. Prices from NZ$223 based on two sharing.

For more information visit 


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