A Brief Guide to Lord of the Rings Attractions in New Zealand – LOTR Guided Tours

When Frodo and Sam ran around the fields of the Shire and welcomed Gandelf into their village, they were actually running around the Waikato Region on the North Island of New Zealand. And when, at the end of it all, the two finally climbed Mount Doom at Mordor to destroy the ring in the fire, they were actually climbing extinct volcanoes of Taupo on the same island.

New Zealand was chosen as the setting of Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings because of its beautiful and varied landscape. It could accommodate the need for mountainous terrain and volcanoes, or could offer the greenery and quiet hills needed for a peaceful village. Snow, sun, height, depth, water, rock, New Zealand has it. And being only a small country, it has it all within close vicinity and easy grasp.

Peter Jackson began filming The Lord of the Rings in 1999 in a reserve in Otago, on the South Island, and since then all of New Zealand has been showcased throughout this trilogy. Naturally, people seeing this extraordinary scenery, and die-hard Rings fans alike, from all over the world, have made their way to New Zealand to catch a glimpse of the land, and the movie.

The trilogy was filmed on both the North and South Islands of New Zealand, depending on what terrain they needed for each scene. If you are a hardcore fan and have the time, there are tour companies that can cater for most areas used for the film. Otherwise, you can break it down in to the areas you most want to see.

The North Island was primarily used for its hard volcanic terrain, and for its intimate, luscious greenery. If you want to visit the Shire or Mordor, arrive in Auckland and start yourself on the six-day Lord of the Rings tour.


If the mountains are what took your breath away as the fellowship of the ring made their way across Middle Earth with Frodo and the ring, then make your way to the South Island. Start your tour in Queenstown and set out to witness the magnificent mountains and sights they offer. You will also have the chance to see some of the props used in the movie.


If a tour doesn’t fit into your plans there’s no doubt wherever you go in New Zealand you will come across land and terrain that was either used in the trilogy or resembles its nature. Click on the following link to find out exactly which scenes were filmed in what location, get out the map, and choose your own Lord of the Rings adventure!