Until the Lord of the Rings trilogy came out, everyone thought that Morocco in North Africa had the best landscape for movies. However, if you love nature, if you would like to experience this legendary landscape where the movie Lord of the Rings was filmed, you should take a New Zealand road trip. This will be an adventure that you’ll never forget. But why New Zealand? One of the most outstanding features of the scenery here is the unspoiled landscape. This is one place that looks just as it is shown in the travel brochures – amazing.
If you can flash back to the films, you will note that most of the Middle Earth landscape reminds you of cones and craters. And indeed it does because New Zealand is home to more than 60 extinct volcanoes. But that is not all really, as there is a little of everything. For example, the Tasman Sea has great beaches where you can catch the sun and roll in the pristine sands and take pictures against the backdrop of breathtaking peaks.
One sure thing… if the Oscar award winning trilogy of the Lord of the Rings thought New Zealand good enough to film there, you too will love it. You can take a road trip to see more than 150 filming locations.
The best way to see New Zealand’s Middle Earth is by road. When you embark on a NZ road trip, you can stop where you like and stay as long as you like. The convenience, the comfort and the flexibility that you enjoy with your car are just great.
There are so many things to explore such that most tour packages offer 5 day itineraries and even at the end of those 5 days, you can be sure you will not have seen all that New Zealand has to offer.
Both travelers and Kiwi natives alike enjoy the beauty that stretches from Auckland all the way to Christchurch. Your New Zealand road trip will reveal amazing terrain, spectacular waterfalls and landscape that is crisscrossed with rivers and streams. It is little wonder then that the main contributor to the country’s GDP is tourism.
Explore the Most Scenic Drives that New Zealand has to Offer
You must visit the Kaitoke Regional Park drive. For convenience, hire a campervan for your NZ road trip. This vehicle allows you to spend the night immersed deeply in the beautiful nature of New Zealand.
There are numerous sights all over this beautiful country. Your adventure starts the minute you leave Auckland. Take your time and savor the scenery, make unscheduled stops, take pictures – that is what life is all about.
You cannot possibly see everything in Middle Earth in New Zealand, but you can try to catch a few important and breathtaking locations like:
1. Tongariro National Park
Located in what is called Mordor in the Lord of the Rings film, this national park covers all of 80,000 hectares and it is full of natural unspoiled beauty that you can only find in New Zealand and nowhere else in the world. You can take pictures against the background of three volcanoes namely Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro. You will definitely love the volcanic landscape.
Rolling and undulating terrain, lush green slopes, farmlands and pedigree horses, driving through Waikato will give you a view of New Zealand that you will never forget. Get your 4×4 vehicle and start cruising. Other things that you will see here include the 44 Hobbit holes that were part of the movie set. You can have a drink or two at the Green Dragon pub.
3. Edoras, Mount Sunday, Canterbury
This is made up of sparkling bodies of water and very attractive rolling hills that are lush with color. It is easy to see why this was chosen as the site for Edoras, the Rohan people’s capital city. You will love the beautiful valley.
4. Mavora Lakes
In the film, Boromir died at Mavora Lakes, and at the same place, Frodo and Sam parted ways. If you have watched the film, you can let your imagination fly and see everything come to life here.
Drive through New Zealand’s Most Dramatic Scenery
Blenheim… Now, you do not want to restrict your sojourns to the Middle Earth part only because there are so many other things and wonderful places to see. For example, you want to pass by Blenheim, which is New Zealand’s biggest wine growing area and take a wine tour. You can taste the wines, have lunch and then go see the Te Waikoropupu Springs which is sacred to the Maori. You can also go for whale watching at Kaikoura.
Nelson for the art lovers – Do you love art? Nelson is the art center of New Zealand. Here, you will get a one-on-one with the local culture through the art galleries, studios, workshops and so on. There is wine and amazing orchards where you can sample some fruits. You must visit the Abel Tasman National Park too, maybe even think of camping there for one night.
Christchurch – Your objective was to cut through the Middle Earth to Christchurch. Now, this is just like any other city, but you can enjoy great cuisines and nightlife. However, don’t stay too long there. Proceed to Queenstown and enjoy an amazing NZ road trip of more than 550km, making unscheduled stops to sample the cuisine at Geraldine.
Make a long stop at Lake Tekapo and if you have the time, go for camping, fishing, swimming and hiking. You must also pass by Aoraki Mount Cook and see why it is so irresistible to mountaineers from all parts of the world. Afterwards, you can proceed to Arrowtown, a small but very charming traditional town. You won’t want to stay too long here because from there, you will be headed to Queenstown where you can rest from the rigorous but rewarding New Zealand road trip.