New Zealand – Journey through Middle-earth

My Journey started on the 9th of December 2013, with a long flight of 23 hours to the other side of the world from Vienna over Dubai and Sydney A delay of the connection flight caused a long stay in Dubai Because of that, I missed the connection flight from Sydney to Auckland, but f inally after 32h hours I was there I arrived in Auckland, the biggest City in New Zealand The first two nights I spent in the YHA backpackers hostel in downtown and did a lot of sightseeing On the third day I picked up my rented car at Auckland Airport and I was heading to Matamata and

my first lord of the rings set location The next morning, after the Street Party in Matamata, I got the tickets for the Hobbiton set tour in the new Matamata i-site The house was rebuilt in the new hobbit design From there it goes with a bus to a huge farmstay just outside of Matamata Driving over lovely green hills full of sheeps, and then it was there My next destination was Whakapapa in the Tongariro National Park

On the way there I stopped at the shores of Lake Taupo I arrived in Tongariro National Park the evening before, and spent a freezing night in the car Before I started the track, I visited some locations nearby From Whakapapa I drove further to the end of the road, to the Whakapapa Ski Area at the slopes of Mt Ruapehu A volcanic wasteland covered with razorsharp rocks I took a quite ascent up to Mt Ruapehu, the land of Mordor and the Emyn Muil It was time to start the Tongariro Nothern Circuit A 3 day track crossing a bonedry volcanic area The most demanding and exhausting part of this, was the sidetrack up to the summit of Mt Ngauruhoe, also know as Mt Doom Steep, slippery and dangerous After that ascent I knew Frodo and Sam felt, when they climbed the summit of Mt Doom On the other side of Mt Ruapehu, nearby a town called Ohakune, there was another shooting

location where Gollum catched the fish in a stream in Ithilien On the eighth day I was heading from Whakapapa to Mokai Gravity Canyon A bungy jumping spot on the Rangitikei River Not for bungy jumping but to visit a magnificent lord of the rings set location of the Anduin River Again after a night in the car I took a long drive to Cape Palliser, at the very end of North Island To visit a spectacular lord of the rings set location at the Putangirua Pinnacles, also known as the Path of Dead Oh hi!

Today I’m head ing to Wellington The capital city of New Zealand There some Lord of the Rings set locations to discover so lets see! and always remember: Keep left! After my arrival I went to the terminal of Wellington Airport to see the big sculptures built by Weta Workshop for the hobbit movies The next day I walked along the coast of Miramar defying a storm, and beholding Peter Jacksons residences in Karaka Bay At last I visited the Weta Cave in Miramar The next morning, the 22nd of December I dropped off my rented car and walked the coastline

to Wellington downtown There I spent 3 nights in the YHA hostel near the waterfront I went up to Mt Victory just next to downtown In the forest at the slopes of Mt Victoria they shooted a scene where Frodo and Sam crossing woodland in the Shire Even with a map, the set location was pretty hard do find and recognize But the most famous set up there, was the scene where the Hobbits had their first encounter with the Nazgûl The Embassy Theatre: For me the most exciting cinema of all, where the World Premiere of -The Return of the King- and the first hobbit movie -An unexpected Journey- took place I was very looking forward to that moment, watching -The Desolation of Smaug- in embassy A huge old style cinema interior with Dolby Atmos Sound Two weeks have passed, and it was Christmas Day My journey through North Island was over I went on board of the Interislander Ferry, taking a 3 hours passage to Picton, the Gateway to South Island On the 27th of December I took a Watertaxi to Ship Cove, the Access Point of the Queen

Charlotte Track A 3 day hike to Anakiwa It was New Years day, and I picked up my next rented car heading to Nelson, to visit the famous workshop of Jens Hansen, the true creator of the one ring In heavy rain my journey continued from Nelson to Arthurs pass in the Southern Alps

The Avalanche Peak circuit was cancelled because of flash flood and landslides So I used the time to see the Devils Punchbowl Falls in pouring rain, falling down 112m of the mountainside Out of the mountains, out of the rain My next stop is Dry Valley and the Cave Stream Scenic Reserve, its a location near a town called Castle Hill, not an hour away from Arthurs Pass A place where a mountain stream runs underground a huge plateau For the Maori it was a traditional route to pass the mountains Next I was heading to Rangitata Valley, the most remote place I have ever seen A vast valley surrounded by mountains, and in the middle there is one small hill: Mt. Sunday, or Edoras and the Westfold I was leaving the fantastic Rangitata Valley heading south, back into the mountains to

Mt Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand On the way I stopped at the amazing Lake Tekapo Leaving the glaciers behind me, I drove to Twizel, a town south of Lake Pukaki, where vast plains stand out, and where the biggest battle scene in all movie history t ook place The day after I drove from Twizel to lake Wanaka, and the

Treble Cone ski area A shooting location where the Fellowship crossed a landscape at the foot of the Misty Mountains A part of the Kawarau River near Queenstown was my next destination One other of many set locations for the Anduin River, but a very special one for me It took me about 3 hours from Kawarau River to a place called Poolburn A huge rock covered prairie in Central Otago where Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli chased the Uruk-hai many days across the plains of Rohan The Poolburn Reservoir in that area was used for the scenes where the orcs raided the villages in the Westfold of Rohan Bad weather came again, and on the long way from Poolburn to Te Anau I stopped at Arrowtown,

a historic gold mining town at the Arrow River Near Te Anau, at Lake Manapouri there is an access point to the famous Kepler Track in Fjordland I only have planned to walk a part of it in one day The Waiau river near the track was also used for some wide shots for the Anduin river It was still rainy and I was heading back north to the Mavora Lakes, also a spot of some amazing lord of the rings set locations At the very south end of the Mavora lakes, there were huge tussock fields besides large forests, its the place where Rohan border to Fangorn Forest I was heading north again to the end of the stupendous Lake Wakatipu, to a remote town called Glenorchy In that area there are access points to two of the most famous great walks: the Greenstone & Caples Track and the Routburn Track The last route with my rented car was to Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand

Near Queenstown, on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, I visited a place called -Twelve Mile Delta- one of the set locations for Ithilien The last set location I visited was at the top of the mountain range called -The Remarkables- near Queenstown A high ascent to Laka Alta, the set location for the East Gate of Moria The last day has come, and my journey through middle-earth was over

I’ll take my memories with me, and unpack them fondly remembering this place 36 days to the day I was setup to this journey, but now it was time to go back home I’m so grateful for all what happened on my journey, and I have experienced For all the fascinating and breathtaking landscapes I discoverd so far from home For all the people I met, and for rediscovering myself