Dec. 17 will mark the end of an era for J.R.R. Tolkien fans. On that day, Warner Bros. will release The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the last film of not only the Hobbit trilogy, but also of director Peter Jackson’s time recreating Tolkien’s fantasy world of hobbits, dragons, elves and wizards.
But Middle Earth fans needn’t worry: Jackson’s films may have ended, but his films sets live on as tourist attractions. As a native New Zealander, Jackson purposefully choose to shoot in New Zealand and has used over 150 different locations within the country for his epic films. Some iconic locations include the volcanic region of Mt Ruapehu in the North Island for the fiery Mt. Doom; Queenstown for the Pillars of Argonath in The Lord of the Rings; and snow-capped Aoraki/Mt. Cook in the South Island for “Lake-town” in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
Most of these locations are open to visiting tourists, often packaged together in movie-themed tours. Hobbiton Movie Set Tours, for example, lets guests explore the sets for The Hobbit holes, the Green Dragon Inn, as well as the section of Waikato farmland that was transformed into The Shire, the main town of the hobbits.
Australia and New Zealand-bound Celebrity guests should set aside time to explore this piece of cinematic and travel history.